OTT messaging users to reach 4.2 bn by 2021

Should telecoms care about OTTThe number of users for OTT messaging applications — such as WhatsApp and Snapchat — will grow from 2.3 billion users in 2016 to 4.2 billion by 2021 representing a growth of over 12 percent CAGR, said Juniper Research.

OTT messaging companies will start focusing their strategies around the development and provision of AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot tools.

Service providers must view the introduction of chatbots as an opportunity to expand their in-app offerings, beyond a mere messaging service.

OTT players will reposition their messaging platforms as CRM (customer relationship management) tools. These OTT apps, leveraging AI technology, will offer a high value proposition by creating a new level of consumer engagement. These platforms offer attractive means of engagement by allowing for greater consumer flexibility and minimising call wait times.

Chatbot launches on OTT messaging apps will provide opportunities for the eRetail and banking sector over the next 5 years. Frequently used services such as balance checking and regular purchases will be some of the early uses.

The number of chatbots on mobile devices will exceed 2 billion globally by 2021, as western players aim to emulate the success of chatbots in China.

Chatbot user numbers in the west will grow at over 190 percent CAGR by 2021, rivalling China. Amazon and eBay will play a vital role in building consumer trust in the technology.