As far as I remember in my nine-year history of attending MWC, there has been one main topic that has dominated most conversations with people in the messaging industry.
Yet the distinct characteristic of this year's MWC was that there was no single topic, no single piece of technology or market trend that can be considered as a game changer. Instead, three smaller trends and topics were extensively discussed.
The triumph of typing
It is not news to anyone in the mobile industry that we use our phones differently today than we did five years ago. However, the trend that the average mobile subscriber types more and calls less every year is the single most important underlying force that makes the enterprise messaging industry grow and forces it to innovate.
About five years ago, messaging listed third or fourth, below calling and browsing social media for reasons people used their mobile phones. Today messaging tops the list across all channels and has decisively dethroned calling and voice.
Does this behavior differ across age groups? Of course it does. But it's the younger age groups, the upcoming generation of heavy mobile phone users who are growing this metric and their behavior will shape trends.
Based on different research papers showcased at MWC, the global traffic for A2P SMS messaging (SMS messages sent from brands and services to users) will grow by more than 10% annually. An impressive figure considering it only includes SMS.
As one would expect, our average preference as a consumer to type more and speak less gets companies to reevaluate their customer communication strategy and mix of communication channels.
SMS gets in the mix because it’s the most ubiquitous messaging channel across all markets, handsets and age groups in the world. Yet there is a clear expectation from users and enterprises alike for rich messaging and more features than the limited 160 characters SMS offers.
The growth rates of Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Google RCS and others is more than enough evidence for the messaging industry to get the message (pun intended.)
Most of the platforms mentioned are in the early stages of deciphering their value proposition to businesses, setting up pricing models, and releasing their public APIs. Once they figure it out, it’s up to us, the messaging providers of the world, to help business clients make sense of the fractured world of communication apps and different platforms.
To reduce complexity and help brands communicate to everyone in their preferred channel, we must provide simple APIs that enable messaging across all relevant and available platforms.
And as far as Messente is concerned, we get this message loud and clear.
Relevant security solutions
Finally, online security was unsurprisingly among the more discussed topics. Digital security itself is a vast term ranging from military grade authentication solutions to simply using passwords.
The discussions about security at MWC revolved around what business around the world are most interested in. Solutions that are:
- Usable across markets and regions
- Proportional to the user case
- Relatively easy to integrate
From both the technological and business perspectives, two-factor authentication checks all three of those boxes and continues to be the preferred solution for companies to improve their user account protection.
Being based in Estonia, a country where a large portion of the population uses mobile ID, electronic signatures and e-voting, 2FA doesn’t seem like a huge security improvement, but it is the incremental step up for many online services in most regions of the world.
These were the main topics from last week's Mobile World Congress 2018 from the messaging industry’s perspective. For our team, it was four very interesting and very long days, meeting a lot of partners across the world to build even better communication APIs for you.
I hope that sharing the main takeaways helps you make as informed decisions as possible regarding messaging and security. If you ever have thoughts, ideas, or questions, feel free to reach out.