New findings from Juniper Research forecast that OTT messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, will see adoption grow from 2.3 billion unique users in 2016 to 4.2 billion by 2021 representing a growth of over 12 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate).
It anticipates that players will begin focusing their strategies around the development and provision of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot tools. In other words, the revenue upside now is seen as marketing, not consumer direct revenue.
That is one example of a broader trend, namely the decline of voice and messaging revenues and the shift of such apps to “features” rather than revenue drivers. To be sure, some revenue still is made from voice and text messaging, and no mobile service provider would dare market a mobile service that did not support voice and messaging.
From time to time, a supplier might ponder offering services that use over the top voice and messaging, with no carrier voice and messaging capability. So far, that business model does not appear to be appealing.
To be sure, traffic or usage is different from “revenue earned from providing such usage,” but consumers globally simply are talking and texting less using carrier services, and substituting OTT voice and messaging, or using social media as a substitute in many cases.
That explains the new emphasis on use of text messaging as an advertising or business-to-business tool.
Juniper Research predicts that OTT players will reposition their messaging platforms as customer relationship management tools, for example.
By leveraging AI technology, these OTT apps--it is hoped--will create a service that drvies revenue because it offers a new level of consumer engagement and customer service.
The other interesting implication is that these new customer service and marketing tools will be built on use of artificial intelligence tools.