Predictions 2019

It’s the end of the year and everyone is making their predictions for 2019. It’s easy to spot the Marketing Focus in most of these types of posts. The predictions are often about the uptake or growth in whatever product or service the company has to offer. I’m sure I have a bias as a provider of Business SMS and messaging applications. So I picked someone else’s prediction list and added a comment or two.

I found this post at Telecom Reseller by Joe White, CTO of Brightlink that gives an even-handed assessment of what might be coming in 2019. He offers six predictions for the coming year. I agree with five of them.

DISAGREE:

The phone will (finally) re-emerge as the key channel for customer communication.

My issue with this prediction is the use of the words “the key”. Voice will always be part of the process, but all the statistics show that people just don’t want to talk any more. Talking to another person will be the last resort when trying to purchase a product or resolve an issue. The asynchronous nature of bots and messaging, supported by improvements in AI, allow consumers to communicate with companies on their own terms and at the time of their choosing. Live agents will only be necessary for truly complex (and hopefully high value) scenarios.

AGREE:

Full-scale adoption of Rich Communication Services is still at least five years away in the U.S.

Regulatory and Privacy issues always make difficult to deploy new technology and standards in the US. It’s been just about 10 years since Release 1 Version 1.0 of the RCS specification. Looking at the journey of other protocols like SIP or WebRTC, RCS still has a few years to go.

Adoption of Bots and AI features will fundamentally change SMS forever

AI-driven Bots are the very reason that the importance of the telephone as a communications channel continues to decline. Bots and AI continue to improve their ability to figure out what information the consumer wants, even when the consumer may not be able to clearly express what they want.

A2P Messaging will grow thanks to AI-driven interactions

Again, it’s all about smarter interactions. notifications, alarms, updates, etc. They will continue to be more effective, more relevant, and less intrusive.

Shortcode SMS is dead

I’m biased, but I think this one should have been at the top of the list. Business SMS allows customers, contacts, prospects, and employees to communicate with a company in the same way they communicate with almost everyone else in their lives. It is a natural extension of what is already happening in our society. It will continue to expand as more and more businesses discover how effective it is to enable this important communications channel.

Self-procurement and deployment of services will eclipse traditional provisioning

This may have already happened. If a website is clear and the UI is good, there is rarely a time you need a CSR to enable or update a service. When a premise device is needed, no truck roll is necessary. The Alexa install app is a great example of this. Plug in a device, go the app, find the device, and turn it on. The app uses the information already stored in the smartphone to add the device to your network and enable whatever functions you want.

The big exception to this is the traditional cable and telephone providers. They continue to be the antithesis of this model. You need beat-up on a CSR to get the deal you want whenever renewal time comes around. Then they send a service person to update their overly complicated premise equipment. As customers “cut-the-cord”, these companies will continue to lose out to truly cloud-based, self-service providers.

There is our contribution to the End Of The Year Prediction pile. The watchwords in tech continue to be Faster, Smarter, and Cheaper.
Happy 2019!

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