Why MaaP can help mobile operators own the conversation

February 26, 2017

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Conversational commerce – where interactions take place at the intersection of messaging apps and shopping for goods or services and suppliers can engage customers in entirely new ways across multiple channels – is set to revolutionize customer experience. It is being enabled by traditional messaging transforming from being merely ‘an app’ into being the platform itself, on which future applications will be built and used. A new GSMA report, ‘Messaging as a Platform – The Operator Opportunity’, can help operators understand the opportunities that Messaging as a Platform (MaaP) presents and plan their strategies accordingly.

Trillions of messages, more demanding users

End-users today send and receive trillions of messages and consume trillions of minutes communicating over voice, SMS, web chat, video and robotic conversations. The GSMA report reveals huge public demand for more types of messaging and demonstrates that today’s mobile-enabled customers are more expectant than ever; 51 percent of them expect 24/7/365 answers and service from businesses, which is where the power of MaaP and chatbots can come in. MaaP can provide the platform for next generation Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots that give customers the services they demand.

AI chatbots deployed via MaaP enable conversational commerce, and because they are cheaper and faster than live customer service agents – up to 1,000 times faster – they can give customers better response and service. Furthermore, using Advanced Communications built on the GSMA’s Rich Communication Service (RCS), suppliers can use MaaP to interact using traditional voice and SMS plus enhanced instant messaging, chat functionality, photo sharing, live video, video calling and file sharing across devices on any network.

MaaP – the operator opportunity

Historically, messaging users have been split across a range of OTT app providers, but MaaP could dramatically transform that landscape. The user base for major IP messaging services is projected to exceed 4 billion by the end of the year, and the GSMA believes operators now have an opportunity to innovate and offer new messaging services for industry partners and also deliver more attractive propositions for end-users.

That projected 4 billion IP messaging users presents all kinds of possibilities. 2015 saw the world’s 6.7 billion SMS users generate revenues of approximately $15 million per hour, while 2.5 billion OTT messaging users made up around $3 million per hour. Usage patterns are changing however, with the next 12 months set to see SMS worth $13.4 million per hour and OTT growing to $5.2 million per hour; the opportunity for the global mobile operator industry appears clear – but only if it approaches it using the right management platform.

MaaP – powering next generation customer experience

MaaP combines advanced messaging with chatbots and plugins to deliver the richer experience consumers now expect – while giving businesses the chance to exploit the direct nature of application-to-person (A2P) IP messaging.

As AI chatbot technology matures, the GSMA expects to see it grow to deliver customer service in a more intuitive, chat-based format. Customers will interact with banks, airlines, railways, utility providers, restaurants, taxis and many other suppliers using one advanced messaging application. Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human. AI chatbots are likely to play a key part in that transformation.

Why the GSMA?

Leveraging the GSMA’s Rich Communication Service (RCS) specification, 47 global mobile operators are launching unified messaging services to a combined subscriber base of 4.7 billion mobile users. The Universal Profile (UP) specification developed by GSMA has simplified product development and deployment of Advanced Communications, which in turn created the basis to scale up for MaaP.

A new GSMA report, ‘Messaging as a Platform – The Operator Opportunity,’ details how operators can play a central role in the future of MaaP.

To learn more about the exciting opportunities MaaP can offer mobile operators, please join the GSMA Network 2020 seminar at MWC. For more information about the seminar click here

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