Monday, February 24, 2020

2020 - Messaging Trends

Messaging Trends to Be Aware Of!

SMS, aka Short Message Service, have established high open-rates recently. According to Techpedia, it is as high as 98%. Moreover, 83% of the messages sent are seen within 3 minutes. In a time, when almost everyone has a phone and keeps it with them wherever they go, these statistics are not surprising. This creates a huge opportunity for businesses to communicate with their customers and prospects using messaging channels.

The value of messaging has been evident for quite some time now and several businesses around the world are already leveraging this opportunity to engage with their customers on a day to day basis. Since 2015 messaging has overtaken social media as the most common activity users engage in, on their mobile phones. Messaging apps are effectively setting new trends.

Back in the 1990s

The invention of AOL Instant Messenger transformed our phones into devices from which we viewed emails, received app notifications and constantly used to messages people.

Over the years, messaging eventually evolved to allow sending of photos, gifs, and even hand-drawn illustrations. With the digital age, instant communication is at its peak. Here’s a quick glimpse of the future of messaging technology and the trends we should expect in 2020.

Messaging trends in 2020

Business Messaging
Business Messaging apps such as WeChat, Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, etc. are also adapting to include features that allow quick customer interactions. In the distant future, we are going to see a lot less of people actually picking up the phone and talking to brands to either solve a problem or get more information on a product/service.  With advancements in Artificial intelligence, technology will enable businesses to provide more personalized and real-time communication.

The use of chatbots on such platforms will allow businesses to directly engage with customers without needing additional resources or spending on new equipment.

According to HubSpot, 85% of consumers will engage with businesses without ever interacting with another human being by the end of 2020. Moreover, according to Google, 61% of people expect brands to deliver personalized experiences. As a result, it is important for all companies to move towards strategically using chatbots and messaging tools like WhatsApp to engage with their customer base.

For companies, chatbots are an easy way to offer additional services. Chatbots enable communication with users through messengers apps and on websites. By using them, businesses can schedule client meetings, provide customer support, answer frequently asked questions and much more, all through their website. On the other hand, prospects receive a more personalized experience through a one-on-one conversation and can easily move closer to making their purchasing decision.

Instant Payments
The feature of apps and websites that allowed direct payments – such as PayPal is now also available on messaging apps. Users can go about their day-to-day activities, manage their finances and socialize, all through one platform.

Instant payment via messaging apps is a recent advancement. Apple and Facebook messenger allows their users to make payments easily. All you need is a bank account and a debit/credit card to process the payment.

Higher security
Making instant payments through apps or linking bank accounts surely does make it convenient for customers to perform their daily tasks. But, having all the personal and financial information online, makes security a high priority. The latest trend when it comes to providing privacy and security online is encryption.

Increasingly, Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging apps, which include WhatsApp, WeChat and more, have become end-to-end encrypted. Even In-app messaging on Instagram, Tinder, and other social networks belong to this domain and are required to maintain high levels of security to protect consumer information. Encryption aims to provide protection from cyber-attacks. Messages are encoded in a random sequence and can only be read and deciphered with a password or key. WhatsApp Business is end-to-end encrypted. In the near future, other apps are likely to offer similar capabilities.

Another way to increase security is by allowing users to post content that is deleted – as soon as it is viewed or in a certain time frame. Snapchat, for example, immediately deleted chats and photos shared between users. This has increased security among users.

Rich Communication Services (RCS)
RCS is intended to surpass SMS. It was formed as a result of a joint effort by several industry players and then taken on by the GSMA in 2008.

RCS’s features include read receipts, location sharing, typing indicators, media uploads, emojis and more. It is designed to work on all mobile operating systems, implement encryption and send messages through Wifi.

Both parties must use a compatible app and network to be able to send and receive RCS messages.

RCS messaging is available in various regions but is based on carrier developed versions, not the Universal Profile such as AT&T and T-Mobile. With the release, of Profile Version 2.0 for Advanced RCS Messaging, there is scope for universal adoption across carriers. However, there is no work being done currently to make RCS support available on iOS. This eliminates a huge user population and can slow the RCS trend in the future if all the iOS users will not be on board.

Today’s consumers are more connected with each other and with brands, than ever before. As brands evolve their customer engagement strategies, communication with customers on the channels they already use/ prefer will be critical.

SMS is the most common medium of communication used by enterprises all over the world and will remain a key channel for organizations in all verticals in 2020. SMS will cover communication, payments, content distribution, video sharing, and more.

Enterprises are also continuously increasing their use of instant messaging. It is the second most used mobile messaging medium after SMS. The use of other communication channels like outbound voice, email, social media and more will depend on the industry and the target audience. It is important for enterprises to have keen insights about the latest marketing trends, understand how customers are changing their communication and use this growth to enhance their customer communications.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Welcoming our Marketing & Tele-Sales Manager!

Welcome Aboard!

It is with great pleasure that we announce the joining of our newest team member, Ms. Sarah Roshen Joseph.  Roshen is on board VA Networks, as Manager- Marketing & Tele-Sales.  She brings with her over 15 years of rich and trailblazing marketing experience in the Entertainment & Telecom industries across Chennai and Cochin. Prior to joining our team, Roshen has been with JTPAC (The Choice Group), Doordarshan, & Century Group of Companies, to name a few.

In her new role, she will be supporting our sales team in a way that no other marketing team member has done before. One of her main responsibilities will be bridging the gap between sales and marketing to help the team effectively promote our services and solutions.

Being an excellent Client Service personnel with unique interpersonal skills, Roshen’s internal and external communications capabilities & experience, make her a natural fit to work with both the VA Networks team and outside clients.

Delighted to have you on board Roshen. A warm welcome to you once again from the VA Networks Family.

 - Team VA

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Welcome Aboard!

Warm Welcome to our Sales Head 

We are excited to announce a new addition to the VA Networks family. Introducing, MJ Abraham, who would be our ambassador and Sales Head – A2P Messaging for PAN India Field Sales, Services, and Support. In this role, MJ will head up our PAN India sales vertical, helping our customers to continue to expand and grow with VA Networks.

To give a brief familiarization about MJ, he demonstrates a commendable history of working in the information technology and services industry, ever since he has kicked off his career. Skilled in, entrepreneurship, team Building, and management, MJ is well known for strong sales acumen. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.) focusing on Sales, Marketing and General Management from Albertian Institue of Management. 

MJ has been a veteran in the arena of A2P messaging, which has been his core passion ever since he has known the facts and tricks of Bulk Messaging Solutions. His charming and witty nature in addition to his eagerness to understand client needs, has given him the opportunity to sell and execute hundreds of SMS campaigns during elections, festive promotions across India, corporate product launches, galas and much more. He is also a favorite among Interns across Kerala, motivating and inspiring them to bring out the best in them and to go out there and experience the perils of being a successful sales personnel, demonstrating on the job examples.

MJ quotes, “I genuinely have a love for people and connecting with others. Being able to have the opportunity to build relationships and deliver clients with unparalleled customer service is what keeps me going.” We’re thrilled that MJ brings this passion and an extensive knowledge of sales pitch drives him in his new Sales Head role. Our team looks forward to working with him and tapping into his creative spirit.

We are delighted that MJ has decided to join our bandwagon. He will be on the road soon, meeting with as many customers and partners as possible. Please join us in welcoming him to Team VA Networks!

- Team VA Networks

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Announcing the joining of our CEO!

VA Networks Welcomes their Captain Aboard!

Kochi, 4th July, 2019 -

VA Networks is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Anand Krishnan as our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective immediately. We extend a warm welcome to Anand, who with multiple years of experience in management, operations and sales roles, is eager to lead the company to new heights as we enter a critical phase in the company’s evolution and development.

Anand’s appointment is a clear reflection of the company’s current state; ready to take on the future and all fired up after a strong year of growth and successful customers. There is enormous opportunity for VA Networks that lies ahead, and we couldn’t be happier with Anand, who has been a Strategic Consultant to us all through our infancy stages, and is now joining our family and helping us and our customers achieve continued success.

We’d like to introduce you to Anand, provide details on his background and his vision for the company, and explain why he chose VA Networks.

Having a total of over 16 years of progressive experience in Telecom and Banking Contact Centre Operations and its diversified services and products, Anand has been the pivotal member in conceptualizing vision oriented result driven projects at all the organizations he has been a part of. He has a proven track record of successfully handling large & diversified Contact Centre Operations with workforce and performance management for 24x7 inbound, outbound and other non-voice processes.

Anand is well known in the industry for his troubleshooting skills, witty nature and rock solid perseverance in consistently meeting and exceeding a firm’s goals and objectives. 

Anand's perspective in a wide variety of roles, in addition to his experience in the telecom and banking sectors, has provided him with a deeper insight on customer needs and the current challenges of the innovation economy.

Anand’s Vision for VA Networks:
“We have a unique opportunity to shape the industry while we serve as an innovation conduit for our customers by helping them bring their product dreams to reality incorporating technology in its best form.”

Anand’s vision for the company involves a centralized focus on the customer and igniting profitable growth. He believes that more organizations need help developing leadership products. Vertical integration is also a continuing trend in the tech industry and more companies want to outsource locally.  These are opportunities that VA Networks is well positioned to take advantage of and Anand sees incredible potential given the company's technology development and solutions offerings and advanced manufacturing platforms.

Why VA Networks?

“I am joining Team VA as I see that we have all the pieces and amazing talents on our team to reach global markets and be a part of something special and meaningful”.

We at VA Networks are truly excited and are looking forward to great things to come under Anand’s leadership and vision!

Team VA Networks

Sunday, June 23, 2019

SMS still alive and kicking!

SMS still alive and kicking on back of applications 

App-to-person SMS business has grown 20% every year since 2014 to 210 billion messages in 2018. 

NEW DELHI: If you thought that the humble SMS, or short messaging service, has died a silent death thanks to WhatsApp, Telegram and others of their ilk, think again. As of 2019, it’s a business worth more than $500 million with about 22 billion messages travelling on telecom networks every month. 

But it’s not the typical person-to-person messaging that has grown — that category has flatlined. What’s booming is app-to-person messages, thanks to the plethora of apps that users are downloading to their smartphones. These in turn are peppering subscribers with text messages — notifications, advertisements, promotions and transaction confirmations. The segment has grown 20% every year since 2014 to 210 billion messages in 2018, according to industry data, and is expected to reach 265 billion this year. Five years ago, the number was less than 100 billion. 

“There is a surge in A2P SMS or enterprise messaging,” said Bharat Bhargava, partner and leader, telecom advisory at EY. “Adoption across verticals including marketing, banking, and retail for OTP (one-time-password) confirmations, transaction alerts, notifications, branding and marketing are on the rise,” he added. 
More than 95% of the traffic comes from within India, typically generated by International messages from apps like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. make up the rest. 
Expectedly though, the number of monthly messages sent by a subscriber has halved to 16 at the end of last year from 38 in 2012, according to data from Analysys Mason. The volume of person-to-person messages within India was then at 391 billion, before the advent of over-the-top apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and others. That has dropped every year since then to 226 billion in 2017. 

The rise in app-to-person messages has offset the fall in person-to-person messages over the years , analysts said.

Indian telcos, especially the older ones, are pleased about the shift. They charge the app companies 10 paise per message terminating within India and Rs 1 for international ones. Total revenue accruing to the telcos is estimated at $515 million (Rs 3,576 crore) in 2019, up 145% from $210 million (Rs 1,457 crore) in 2017. That helps in a sector under financial stress amid stiff competition. 

“Consumers are increasingly adopting digital for transactions and using apps to serve diverse needs,” said a spokesperson for Vodafone Idea, the country’s largest carrier. “Every such digital engagement requires validation and authorisation via message.” 

Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti AirtelNSE -1.36 % didn’t comment on the size of the business or its growth. 

“It’s a win-win for all — operators get an increasing revenue stream, both price and volume wise. Enterprises find it a most economical medium to communicate and all types of consumers have access to it,” said Himanshu Goel, chief executive of Syniverse India, which aggregates messages between enterprises and telecom networks. 

2020 - Messaging Trends

Messaging Trends to Be Aware Of! SMS, aka Short Message Service, have established high open-rates recently. According to Techped...