Last year was an impossible year to predict - delivering massive health, civil and business challenges on a scale the world was not ready to handle. Aside from finding innovative ways to ‘keep the lights on,' the pandemic also presented a chance for people and businesses to pause, reflect and think more deeply about the future they wanted to build.
Looking ahead, what does 2021 hold for organisations in what remains, to some extent, an uncertain world? Here are enterprise messaging trends that may resonate over the coming year.
‘CPaaS' will become a common industry term
The term Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) will have its moment in 2021, similar to how the ‘Internet of Things' (IoT) had its moment a few years back.
For years, buyers of communication technology have been challenged to find their way to the best adapted and market-leading solutions. Terminology such as application-to-peer (A2P), API messaging, or enterprise messaging were either too generic or too obscure for them to feel confident they had found the best solutions for their needs.
In 2021, the term ‘CPaaS' will begin to yield useful guidance for buyers using online search engines, making enquiries with analyst firms, designing communications into their integration projects and creating innovative mobile communication solutions.
New types of emergencies will speed up communication tech investments for enterprises
From a business operations perspective, emergency preparation has quickly moved up the priority list for businesses. The global-scale health scare is a significant factor, but 2020 also brought climate-based tragedies as well as new pockets of civil unrest.
Businesses will seek communication technologies that are capable of implementing business continuity, such as tactics used for weather emergencies, service disruptions, route redirects, building evacuations, and more.
Firms that have effective communications tools will have an advantage. Data shows that the damage caused by an incident is drastically reduced with proper preparation and efficient, orderly communication during a crisis.
Education and awareness programs will increasingly benefit from mobile communication
Mobile messaging is the quickest, and often the most effective, way to send critical information from a sender to a recipient. Mobile enables recipients to opt into their trusted sources for information, and people are more receptive to the information contained within messages from the organisations they seek themselves.
Savvy organisations will increasingly turn to CPaaS channels such as SMS, Voice, WhatsApp, and others, not just to deliver their products, but also to use these CPaaS channels to run ancillary education messaging around those same products.
For example, across the world, countries have already made some early mistakes in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. Mobile messaging can play a critical role in educating participants on the supply and demand side and building trust in the vaccination process and programs.
Mobile reminders can ensure the second dose of certain vaccines is administered within the specified timeframe. Automated voice and text messages can be used to promote public health and wellness programs.
Similar tactics will be leveraged in other industries that have been accelerated by the pandemic. For example, it is needed in telemedicine to educate patients and doctors on how to prepare for a productive video medical appointment.
Blockchain will start integrating with communications technology
Blockchain has been successfully deployed for cryptocurrency and has been adopted in the finance industry, but 2021 will be the year where blockchain crosses the chasm into communication technology.
The driving factor will be identity, at least initially. Blockchain enables new ways to ensure that personal identity details are not required for user authentication, which means a person's identity can be provided to trusted entities, and then accessed via blockchain authentication by other entities without those details being passed along.