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EDITORIAL How many of our 2019 predictions came true? Why all of them, of course

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And so ends another year… and as 2019 draws to a close, I thought I would look at what I said was going to come to pass in 2019 and take the great risk of seeing whether I was right or not…

So, back in January 2019 I predicted a number of big ticket changes in the world around which telemedia works. Chief among them was that we were going to see much more connection of everything, the rise of 5G, voice services around devices such as Alexa et al coming to the fore, the rise of social media platforms as an interactive and monetizable platform and a revolution in payments.

And of course I was absolutely right, right? Well I was close on some of them. 5G has been a big news item this year as networks and services have been tested and then rolled out and, as a consequence, we have seen much of what can then be done with those networks.

Improving the speed of connectivity and better use of spectrum is just the tip of the 5G iceberg; what it really ushers in is an ability to make everything connected and to offer much better – and seamless – connectivity across both the outside world and indoors.

What it really delivers though is a platform on which to create new monetizable services and is one of the most significant drivers for carrier billing in the years ahead.

My prediction on payments has also started to come to pass in 2019 and there is more to come in 2020. Carrier billing is now gaining a foothold in many mainstream markets and the likes of Apple, Amazon, Netflix and more see its potential as an onboarding tool, a payment tool for the unbanked and a perhaps even a way to create new, snackable versions of their services to sell to those that may want some access but whom will never purchase a subscription.

Outside the UK, carrier billing is really starting to see some interesting up-take and this is only going to carry on worldwide in 2020. If aggregators and carriers can make the sign up process more streamlined and make it something that an international business can add to its payments roster more simply then it has a very bright future – something that none of us really saw five years ago.

The rise of social platforms and other ways to interact also came to pass – although not necessarily in the ways that we thought back on New Year’s Eve 2018… Facebook has striven to be a messaging company and retail marketplace – and is dabbling in cryptocurrencies and payments – with WhatsApp really taking off.

Similarly, Google has made great strides with RCS in 2019 and the coming year is going to see some great user cases for it worldwide that hopefully will drive more carriers to offer it and more businesses to start to use it.

Hedging its bets, Google has also revamped SMS for businesses, so that spam can be cut down and message verified – making it more trusted for many uses.

And this is my prediction for 2020: SMS is still going to be huge, as are the ‘traditional’ telemedia services such as carrier billing. They are ‘old’ but they are finally coming into their own. Happy New Year!

So that’s me done for 2019… have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year and see you in 2020.

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