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Mobile World Congress 2018
Mobile Life

WTM17 That was the show that was

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This year’s World Telemedia Conference and Expo, held in the warm and sunny climes of Marbella, has found a new lease of life, featuring a bevvy of delegtes from around the world and a lot of engagement with the exhibitors, sponsors and conference speakers. In fact, nearly 500 people were in attendance at the event from 237 companies, from 47 countries – with 55% from Europe.

CHECK OUT THIS FABULOUS OVERVIEW OF THE SHOW

The first day focused on networking starting with lunch and drinks outside by the hotel pool soaking up some much-needed Spanish sun, while meeting the new faces that Telemedia has attracted.

The “Meet Market” followed and this is a highly successful format for introducing companies to each other with a 5 minute chat about each other’s business and exchange of business cards for further dialogue if there is interest in progressing. It’s speed dating for business people, but also a great way of ensuring that you return from the Expo with a clutch of business cards that you have pre-sorted into the potential or no potential categories.

Drinks again on the Sun Terrace sponsored by Veoo and the day is already done, barring the traditional late night party (Sponsored by International Premiums , Telecom 2, Veoo & Mobile Life) and even later After-Party sponsored by Mobile Life. Day 2 is where business really ramps up and exhibitors have to nurse their sore throats from the previous night’s partying and after-partying to be able to chat to visitors wandering around between conference topics.

Distinctive for this year was the quantity of new visitors. Business’ in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Middle East have been attracted by the show, the furthest travelled from Hong Kong, China and Australia.

Affiliate marketing

There was a lot of conversation around affiliate marketing as both a highly successful marketing tool for digital content providers but it has been seen to carry fraud, misleading techniques, iframe masking, hacking and malware. These issues are causing mobile operators worldwide to shut down service categories and apply restrictive payment flows as we have seen here in UK.

Affiliate marketing is gaining ground as a promotional tool in telemedia and Joao Oliveira, head of advertisers at Mobidea was on hand to show what trends are shaping the industry.

First up, compliance issues loom large. This is something that affects the whole food chain, he told delegates, with bad ones spoiling it for everyone. The problem, he says, is that it’s very hard to get hold of fraud data and carriers and advertisers need do more to co-ordinate and share that data so that bad affiliates and bad traffic can be weeded out.

Post event monitoring too is crucial, he told delegates. Apps where ads appear need to share data on churn rate so that rogue ads can be weedled out. Ads that get clicked on and then immediately churn are not wanted. The industry needs to do more to make sure that the ads served are useful and proper.

Personalisation is also becoming a key theme amongst the affiliate world too. Offering a marketplace of affiliate content and ads and then targeting the right things at the right people will not only increase the effectiveness of affiliate marketing, but will also help to make it clean.

Investment by advertisers and ad agencies is needed to control this scourge. Incorrect AIT withhold procedures has become a major issue for fixed line telco’s with some companies pushed to the wall and one international company now refusing to operate in the UK until solved.

Telecom2’s Alan Partington detailed the issue in a private lunch with other telecom companies.

VAS and VAULT

While there is a wealth of ‘legacy content’ – read: wallpaper and ringtones – out there in developing markets that direct carrier billing can tap into, what the technology really needs to crack is how to add value to services.

So believes Stefan Kostic, CEO of Centilli, speaking at World Telemedia. “To move DCB forwards we need to use it to really add value. 39% of people who do use it say they see no value in it – we have to turn this around,” he told delegates. “Content is king and DCB should be its queen.”

So where can value around DCB be created? According to Kostic, companies need to look outside the box. Insurance, e-sports, IoT applications, smart cities applications such as tolls and parking, as well as ticketing and transport are all ripe for DCB to come and add value and this is where the industry needs to concentrate.

But the window of opportunity is closing. Other payment tools are coming along and they are all well placed to replace or usurp DCB before it really gets going.

“DCB offers consumers, MNOs and vendors benefits and these need to be shouted about,” says Kostic. Only then will people start to use DCB to add value.

Mobile Squared provided a positive view of the growth of the global market for VAS, Centili looked at the “Carrier Billing” market worldwide as it develops and Veoo presented its view on emerging market support. aimm provided insights into managing customers.

OTT Messaging

OTT messaging is having a massive impact on the good old world of SMS and voice services – but can it be monetised and brought into the telemedia fold?

So pondered Rohin Ravindran, CEO of 12 Telecom. He pointed out that, while data is now 12% of MNO business and that it was likely to increase – and that messaging was under growing pressure from OTT services such as Facebook messenger and Google Voice, there is no tried and tested way to monetise OTT.

“Skype has a billion users give or take, and it has never made money,” he told delegates. Instead he floated the novel idea that OTT’s value lies in enabling transactions.

“The largest publisher in the world is Facebook, yet it makes no magazines. YouTube is one of the world’s largest TV channels, yet it makes no programmes. Instead, their value lies in enabling transactions. After all, commerce is just a conversation that ends up in money changing hands,” he said.

This is where the value in OTT lies.

How to realise it remains to be seen, however, 12 Telecom’s OTTX platform aims to try and put that right. It make creating, running, collating and monetising OTT services easier to do. Stay tuned, more to come on that one.

GDPR

GDPR is one obvious manifestation of how you have to be careful about data, but how to be compliant with your data and your services and how to understand the value of the data you do have is vital.

Aimm tackled the arrival of GDPR, while Empello ran their highly popular Country Updates and MCP presented on monitoring services. Find out more here

Overseas opportunities

The show also looked at emerging markets. Africa was discussed at length by James McNab from Basebone, who shared is insights into how to crack this nascent market. One thing of note is that texts from God are a sure-fire money spinner: no one wants to text god to say STOP SENDING ME MESSAGES.

Opting out of God was echoed by Matt Winters from Veoo, who has worked LatAm extensively and has seen business booming. Ringtones and wallpaper are still big, but so are increasingly sophisticated services.

The show was also testament to how markets in the middle East and across lesser know parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia are also in the ascendant. Delegates from Azerbijan jostled with those from across the Baltics and even Russian and the Crimea.

There were also people from China who had come to see how to monetise content and data services and, interestingly, to look at how to leverage DCB in this huge market. Certainly providing pause for thought for next year’s event.

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