3rd - Feb - 2016

Mblox Executive Insight

This week’s blog is the first in a series where we will share insights from the thought leaders at Mblox. Our first article features Rob Malcolm, our SVP of Global Commercial Operations who was recently elected as a board member to the MEF (Mobile Ecosystem Forum), an international mobile trade organization. Our article recaps an interview with Telefonica this month where Rob was asked to share his thoughts as an expert in the A2P SMS Industry.

What does success look like for you in that role?

Success in my role is:

  • Recruiting and retaining world class messaging experts to serve our customers

  • Ensuring we have a culture of ‘every message counts’

  • Growing our business faster than the market

  • Maximizing value for our shareholders by focusing on long term, sustainable growth.

What in your opinion are the biggest challenges you see in the A2P SMS market today?

  • Market fragmentation, delivery complexity and regulation will continue to make sending messages globally more difficult than it needs to be, at Mblox we ensure we keep up-to-date with these complexities and make it easy for our customers.

  • Fraud continues to be a challenge, and damages the market and its adoption and exacerbates the point above - Lack of understanding in the eco-system on the legitimate uses of SMS and impact of price on demand for different use cases.

  • Lack of end-to-end SLA’s to ensure reliable and trusted delivery of mission critical services.

…with that in mind: How could MNO´s differentiate their services (to compete with lower-priced routes in the market)?

  • SLA’s guaranteeing things such as throughput, availability and latency - Optimized SMSC infrastructure with higher expiry time and more aggressive retries - Local time stamp for international SMS delivery

  • Better technical support

  • Working with the industry to reduce fraud. What advice would you give to prospective aggregators hoping to do business with you?

  • Be clear about what you are looking for in terms of routing quality vs. cost

  • Be creative on how you wish to compete, if its just on price, you will struggle

  • Be realistic on your current and forecasted messaging volumes and price expectation.

Looking at the A2P industry as a whole today; if you were to open your own A2P messaging company tomorrow, what action(s) would you take to stabilize and grow the market?

  • Innovate to reduce fraud and thereby reduce the need for regulation constraints

  • Make it really simple for companies to do business on a global scale

  • Work with industry bodies to get all parties around the table and work together to work through the issues. This is already underway with the Mobile Ecosystem Forum.

What is the most innovative use for A2P SMS you’ve seen recently?
I’m a big fan of real time two-way communication, as it demonstrates the power of SMS as a trusted channel. I love how Amex sends me a fraud notification with a question on whether the transaction was legitimate and allows for me to respond with yes / no. This takes seconds and as a consumer it demonstrates how on the ball Amex is.

How do you see other messaging technologies like USSD fitting into the global messaging industry – complementary or competition?
The issue with USSD is a.) its not ubiquitous, b.) many operators cannot monitor or monetize it without significant investment c.) it’s advantage over SMSand apps is not well understood. On that basis, I would say at best it would be complimentary to SMS.

Do you see any big opportunities for crossover where SMS can add value to other emerging digital areas (such as the Internet of Things/Smart Cities/Big Data)?
I see SMS use cases in pretty much every technology trend, simply because SMS remains the only trusted and secure channel for mission critical communication globally. This will not change any time soon. For example, the most common IOT devices used by consumers today are intelligent heating controls.

Recently, my broadband failed whilst I was on vacation and as a consequence I could not check whether I had remembered to put it in holiday mode (or whether my pipes were being frozen!). A simple SMS notifying me that my broadband had failed or to remind me to set my heating system, would have been valuable. How important do you think it is to educate end users of A2P SMS and its value? In my opinion end users don’t need education so long as brands and enterprises make their interaction easy and intuitive via SMS. This is where the required education lies.

Originally posted on mblox.com

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