Monday, May 27, 2024

    EDITORIAL As CPaaS booms, is it time to starting adding AR, VR and TV into the mix?

    The CPaaS market has been a hot topic in telemedia for some time. While some in the industry argue that it is really nothing new, just cloud hosting of services many already offered, the fact that big business is embracing it to the extent that it is now predicted to be worth $42bn globally this year shows that either way, it is now very much an entrenched part of global business.

    Indeed, eight out of ten businesses that employ this sort of tech met their financial targets in 2022, despite the world’s economies hitting some severe turbulence. Clearly, having the widest range of messaging platforms works.

    And that is no surprise. Consumers are using a raft of platforms to communicate through and commerce needs to be there too. The big driver now is adding social media and social direct messaging channels to these platforms, as this is increasingly the preserve of how Gen Z and millennials want to interact.

    But what of the younger generations, the Gen X and Y and even Gen Alpha? These young and very young consumers are soon going to be most businesses’ target audience – they grow up so fast! – and they are likely to do things very differently. We have already seen how ChatGPT and a growing number of generative AIs are starting to reshape how we interrogate the internet, with much of this driven by our kids. Similarly, the nascent metaverse bubbles along under the radar of the mainstream as its those kids aged under 15 who are the ones using it.

    Likewise, the communications channels that these guys are going to use to interact with each other and, more importantly, the wider world of commerce, are also changing. Sure, research shows that US teens aren’t embracing helmet-based VR, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking to access the virtual world. No, they don’t want a VR helmet that costs $3000, but they do want to play Roblox on their iPads – and that, my friends, is the metaverse right there. Forget what anyone over 25 tells you about it; forget what Mark Zuckerberg thinks it will be: the metaverse is flat and the kids are already in it.

    Similarly, the market for AR glasses, while super slow to get going, is also set to grow over the next 10 years as these youngsters come of age and look for a more all-encompassing internet-based life.

    Finally, even the oldies are getting in on the new ways of connecting, with the majority of European consumers now owning and operating some sort of connected TV.

    These are the things that CPaaS companies need to now be focussing on. While most have added WhatsApp and even Telegram, and while many are looking at how to work in Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, they should also have an eye on how connected TVs, AR glasses and the metaverse are all also going to be places and devices through which consumers will want to interact – and message – businesses.

    Unlocking how to build these things into their CPaaS platform should now be an imperative. CPaaS has grown from nothing to huge in about three years. This next tranche of interaction platforms are probably at best two years away from mass adoption. Look at how quickly generative AI – and AI in general – as come to dominate the tech world.

    How users in the metaverse, using AR glasses or VR for that matter will want to message firms remains to be seen, but at the very least it will be an adaptation of the messaging channels we have now. The trick will be getting the interface right and the reply channel sorted so that it is compatible with where consumers finds themselves wanting to message.

    It will be challenging, but it needs to happen and, with AI already reshaping how the world works, it is now an imperative.

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