World Telemedia 2016: What’s Hot and What’s Not?

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Matthew Winters, CEO of Veoo.

There are plenty of positives to be said about Marbella, far be it from simply being the holiday destination of choice for the ‘stars’ of The Only Way is Essex, or a millionaire’s playground where you are just as likely to see a swarm of excitable tourists gathered around a super yacht moored at Puerto Banus as you are to see champagne spraying parties taking place at Ocean Club. No, there is much more to the place than that. In fact, if you happened to stray off the beaten track in mid to late October, you may have seen a collection of the brightest minds in the value-added service (VAS) and premium content space debating and deliberating the future of the industry at World Telemedia 2016. Still thinking about the champagne parties? Well, stay with me and you may just learn something.

World Telemedia is now in its 27th year and if that isn’t a glowing indictment of the event’s validity and relevance, then I don’t know what is. Furthermore, it bears testament to the fact that our industry is, in fact, thriving as I’m reliably informed that this year’s event was the biggest in ten years. With over 340 delegates from more than 50 countries attending the event, famed for being the only one where the value chain for VAS and premium content is represented under one roof, World Telemedia is a key destination for innovative corporates and individual entrepreneurs that wish to develop new premium services using the latest technologies, distribution networks and mobile billing solutions. In fact, this year’s event even saw a migration into new areas, where social media, OTT messaging, wallets, ticketing, vouchers, affiliate marketing, gambling and alternative payments were also discussed.

The event embodies three days of VIP networking, meetings, conferences, company presentations, international market updates, workshops, clinics and sponsor breakouts. It empowers delegates to advance new opportunities in the sector and has become an established trading and information exchange for domestic and international providers in a value chain where the currency is typically based on minutes, messages and traffic.

Right, now that I’ve got the World Telemedia sales pitch out of the way, let’s discuss why the Veoo team was there and what we learnt.

As one of the key sponsors, our primary reason for attending the event was to wax lyrical about the expansion of ‘Mobile Money Opportunities’ and the event organizers were kind enough to afford me the opportunity to give a presentation on the impact of the mobile wallet. There is no doubt that there is an appetite in the sector to know more about the mobile wallet, how it works and whether the consumer is actually likely to save personalized mobile wallet offers and loyalty cards. In fact, in the not too distant future we will be sharing some research that we have conducted which looks into whether or not we are suffering from loyalty card fatigue. The intricacies of these findings are for another day, however, what they do show is that there is huge opportunity for mobile wallets here in the UK.  The survey shows that the value proposition for mobile wallets is definitely understood and could accelerate as there is still a huge appetite for physical loyalty cards and reward programs.  This research was commissioned in the UK and US, where over 2000 adult loyalty card holders were surveyed and shows comparisons between the two markets. As I said, these findings are for another day, but for anybody that is interested in learning more about that, just drop us a line.

At Veoo we have been pushing the advantages of the mobile wallet for quite some time now and actually launched our own mobile mallet solution in April this year. The solution harnesses Apple Wallet and Android Pay app functionality, already available to almost 100% of smartphone users, to revolutionize the way brands and retailers engage with their mobile customers.

Essentially the mobile wallet solution provides marketers with a new way to create and deliver branded content like offers, coupons and loyalty cards to their customer base, across virtually every online and offline channel. Simultaneously it leverages native communication functionality within Apple Wallet and Android Pay, enabling marketers to deliver time or location sensitive prompts directly to customers’ mobile devices, similar to push notifications but without the need for consumers to download an app. My presentation focused mainly on ways in which organizations can expand mobile money through wallets and was an educational piece looking at the wallets key features and benefits and suffice to say, the presentation was well received.

World Telemedia 2016 was indeed an overwhelming success with a proliferation of new topics open for discussion. From ‘The Expanding World of Payments’ to ‘Carrier Billing to Engage and Convert’ to ways in which we can ‘Create Value from OTT Messaging’ all of which was highly illuminating.  It is regrettable that the event is over now for another year and that it’s finally time to put the sandals away for 2016, however, here are my three of the key takeaways from the event:

  • When brands, merchants, content owners start to use carrier billing – they see the benefits in terms of engagement and conversation rates.
  • New technology services and products – e.g. wallets, vouchers etc will eventually become second nature to consumers and therefore become a mainstay for VAS developers.
  • Advertising and affiliate marketing networks are becoming powerful routes to market but choosing the right partners is essential as compliance becomes more and more of an issue.