Innovation becomes critical to subscriber growth
Over the top (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% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Juniper Research has forecast that players will begin focusing their strategies around the development and provision of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot tools.
The new research argued that service providers must view the introduction of chatbots as an opportunity to expand their in-app offerings, beyond a mere messaging service.
Juniper predicts that OTT players will reposition their messaging platforms as customer relationship management (CRM) tools. By leveraging AI technology, these OTT apps will offer a high value proposition by creating a new level of consumer engagement. For end customers, these platforms offer an attractive means of engagement by allowing for greater consumer flexibility and minimising call wait times.
The research argued that chatbot launches on OTT messaging apps will provide a wealth of opportunities for the e-retail and banking sector over the next five years. Frequently used services such as balance checking and regular purchases will be some of the early uses. Juniper forecasts that the number of chatbots on mobile devices will exceed two billion globally by 2021, as western players aim to emulate the success of chatbots in China.
The report argued that chatbot user numbers in the west will grow at over 190% CAGR by 2021, rivalling China. It predicted that trusted names, such as Amazon and eBay will play a vital role in building consumer trust in the technology.
Research author Sam Barker commented: “Successful chatbots will increase audience engagement, maintain customer satisfaction and generate repeat business. OTT players must ensure they support these chatbots in their applications, or risk user churn to competitors.”