Friday, April 19, 2024
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    EDITORIAL Heading to Barcelona with an AI song in our hearts

    With Telemedia8.1LIVE poised to kick off next Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the industry is ramping up to look ahead to what 2024 has in store and where the industry might be heading.

    And the event finds the telemedia sector in an interesting place. Messaging, content, billing and payments are all on the up. However, with success comes an inevitable rise in fraud.

    So, first: the good news. Messaging has never been more prevalent in the mainstream market, with SMS now underpinning how many brands and companies contact consumers around deliveries, appointments and more. In fact, having recently moved house, most of the interaction I had with everyone from the removal firm to cancelling of utilities was done via messaging (and often email too, talk about belt and braces).

    Traffic on SMS is enormous now, dominating authentication traffic. RCS is set to grow rapidly now that Apple is on board, while all the other OTT messaging channels are also seeing growth. The next phase in messaging is going to centre around the growing use of AI to deliver better automated messages and, more importantly, to handle the replies.

    This is set to be one of the biggest growth areas for the sector, with MNOs set to see huge financial rewards from implementing this. According to the latest research from Juniper Research, enterprise spend on generative AI (GenAI) over mobile messaging channels is predicted to grow by a staggering 1,250% over the next four years, from $830m in 2024.

    What will be interesting to see is how telemedia will embrace this technological leap to develop new and interesting services. Already it is being brought to bear in content creation. As revealed in our chat with Julia Dimambro from Seriously Fresh Media in the latest 8.1LIVE vodcast, AI is starting to not only analyse the data of who watches what so that content can be created to meet demand, but also how AI is playing a role in the content creation itself. Does this spell the end of human film makers and YouTubers? No, AI is just a tool, but it certainly changes the market dynamics. I look forward to hearing more about this in Barcelona next week.

    AI is everywhere, not just in Barcelona – and that means that it is also playing a role in cybercrime and fraud. Quite a big role as it turns out.

    AI has been likened to a tool for cybercrime mass production, but it is also playing a key role in fighting that crime. I look forward to catching up with Evina at 8.1LIVE to hear the latest in its battle with cybercrime.

    Fraud is also starting to impact the messaging industry too. Buoyed by the success of SMS in particular, messaging fraud is rising alarmingly. Artificial Inflation of Traffic (AIT) is now so pervasive in the messaging ecosystem that between 19.8 billion and 35.7 billion fraudulent messages were sent in 2023. An investigation by Enea and messaging intelligence specialist Mobilesquared also underscores the substantial financial toll of AIT, with brands incurring costs of $1.16 billion due to fraudulent messages.

    This is impacting the whole messaging sector, with MNOs and aggregators taking a hit. It is also impact CPaaS. According to a new report from XConnect, a Somos Company, the provider of numbering intelligence solutions and analysts Mobilesquared, found that SMS was not impacted in the short-term by increased levels of fraud in 2023, but it will significantly impact the channel in the long term unless action is taken by the messaging ecosystem.

    In fact, the study reports that CPaaS providers are losing trust in SMS, dropping by 24.9% between 2023 and 2025. In contrast, trust in Rich Communication Services (RCS) is predicted to leap to 75.1% and to 41.7% in WhatsApp over the same period.

    Even new platforms are falling victim to fraud, with metaverse players already losing some £36.4m from gaming platforms in 2023 alone – this is from a technology that almost no one currently uses.

    The upshot is that as fast as we move forward with new technologies and new services, the fraudsters keep pace. However, with a raft of companies very much on the front foot in fighting this, we head off to Barcelona very much looking forward to some interesting debate around how the industry has already taken the first big step up to the next level. See you there.

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