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    EDITORIAL Messaging, payments and VAS combine to reshape telemedia

    As Summer ends and we turn our attention of next month’s World Telemedia show in Marbella, we find that the telemedia sector is still on a high – and at a crossroads.

    How consumers interact with brands, how they shop, how they entertain themselves and how they pay are all changing. The old paradigms simply don’t fit anymore. Instead, the different strands of what makes up telemedia are comiunbg together in new ways. Messaging is no longer just about messaging, it is about content, interaction and even sales. Apps are no longer about content, but are about messaging, social, interaction and sales. Payments are not just about paying, they are also a channel for interaction, for engagement and of course about entertainment, content and sales. You get the picture… everything that was once neatly siloed is just part of a more engrossing and lucrative whole.

    For example, take a look at messaging. Messaging continues to dominate as the main point of contact between brands and consumers – but what that messaging is made up of and how it is used is changing.

    A recent study shows that both Gen Z-ers and Baby Boomers – opposite ends of the age spectrum – both love interacting with brands and businesses via SMS. Good old text messaging is the basic level of interaction and is now part of pretty much all customer facing strategies in most industries.

    But there are many other ways of doing it and these other messaging strategies are also on the rise. A separate study finds that the mobile business messaging market is set to be worth $78bn in five years, driven initially by this love of SMS, but ultimately because RCS will become the main way that consumers and brands interact.

    WhatsApp and other OTT messaging is still there too; with consumers picking their channel based on what they are doing, what they want to achieve and how easy it is for them to interact on any given channel.

    All this is driven by mobile commerce. Commerce needs an on-ramp and, where once it was email and push – and even snail mail – now it is messaging.

    This embrace of messaging for commerce is also driving the rise of new technologies in customer service contact centres, which are having to rapidly add SMS, OTT and even RCS to their armoury. As a result, the concept of the Call Centre as a service (CCaaS) is starting to follow a similar trajectory as that of CPaaS. Could CPaaS soon be just part of CCaaS?

    Payments too are also growing as a result of all this interaction. Real-time payments are set to hit $277bn within the decade, with money transfer and other alt.payment services showing similar growth. All this comes from consumers doing things differently and the rise in developing countries of super-apps. These all-in-one shop-social-payment tools are going to radically shake up not just how people pay, but how they interact with the internet itself.

    The nexus of payments, super-apps and messaging is approaching and it will be the fundamental driving force for everything else that operates under the telemedia umbrella. As will be seen at World Telemedia next month, these strands pulling together is where you will see the biggest traction for the business going forward. The world is facing some tough challenges, but the natural efficiencies and automation that messaging and payments can deliver is going to be one of the key tools for busting the blues. And it gives us some interesting things to talk about in Marbella.

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