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EDITORIAL Everything’s connected, man

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The digital commerce market is set to top out at more than $11.6trn by then end of this year, if Juniper Research’s figures are anything to go by. The pandemic has transformed the digital economy from an already enormous market to one that is almost pre-eminent.

No wonder so many organisations are starting to take digital engagement and payments very seriously indeed.

The latest big name to join the fray is Adobe. Like many other blue-chip companies, it has had to rapidly adapt to the new engagement methods that customers have deemed their right in 2020/21 and has partnered with Sinch to add conversational commerce to its portfolio of offerings.

This is of course great news for Sinch, propelling it into the big league, but once again shows how so many of the companies that are the backbone of the digital economy have been caught napping.

In the telemedia fraternity we have long known that the tools of engagement – chat, messaging, payments – are key to driving slick services that consumers sign up to. The pandemic and its lockdowns proved that in spades and now every man jack of them is adding conversational commerce facilities to their platforms.

This also means that CPaaS offerings are going to proliferate. The need for brands, retailers and merchants to buy the engagement and payment services – not to mention the content and even AR and VR – that they need to build campaigns is rapidly developing. Many telemedia companies are already there ready to deliver this – but so too now are Adobe, Cisco and a raft of other big-name comms and marketing providers.

It is a massive market to join. According to a study by  Macro 4, a division of UNICOM Global, around two thirds (64%) of UK IT leaders questioned say that their organisation has made technology changes to improve digital interaction with customers.

Underlying these points, 81% of IT leaders in the sample agree (52% strongly) that the need to react quickly to the pandemic has forced organizations to fast-track technology changes to adapt to new ways of working. 72% strongly or somewhat agree that over the next 12 months organizations will have to invest in upgrading or replacing some of the technology they had to implement quickly in response to the pandemic.

This investment in having to rapidly adapt is what is driving the CPaaS market and why Adobe has had to move fast to partner with someone that can add the tools needed to fully start to exploit this rapidly evolving market.

All together now

Seemingly unconnected to all this, App Annie data out this week proves the point. Its latest data shows that brands – particularly Louis Vuitton – are increasingly investing in gamification to attract users and investing in marketing themselves through games.

But it is all part of a whole. Game streaming is up, fintech apps are en vogue, QR-code payments are all the rage and DCB offers some key advantages.

This, I think, is starting to show just how all digital is connected and is one large economy that telemedia sits right at the heart of. Juniper Research has lumped together all things digital – from ecommerce, to electronic payments, to digital purchases – to arrive at the multi-trillion-dollar figure for the industry. But it is right to do so. This isn’t to make it look like a big market, it is a big market. Without sounding like I have spent too long on a mountain top with a bong, everything is connected, man. All things digital are becoming a single market that is held together by the threads of messaging, marketing, payments, social media, gaming and more.

It is all starting to come together as one amorphous blob, serviced by many platforms. And the players that can offer the right bits to plug in and play are the ones that are going to transform this market into something really impressive.

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