Normally, each year in the dead of winter, I publish a predictions article about the coming year. Earlier this year, we published my 12th consecutive predictions for the mobile industry. However, today, I would like to dust off the crystal ball and push it a little bit further into the future to look at how the messaging industry might evolve over the coming five to 10 years.

First, we as a messaging industry need mobile operator support for Universal Profile 2.0 – and quickly. In 2018, we had strong messaging provider and aggregator support for RCS, but only a smattering of operators launched support for UP 2.0. The GSMA notes that around 75 mobile operators have launched RCS, but the vast majority of these are UP 1.0 support only. Remember, this time around it is the enterprise/brand (A2P) RCS that is driving this new SMS replacement. It is supported by all the top messaging providers that manage over 80% of the world’s A2P (or B2C if you want) SMS messaging. These are the companies that have the enterprises, banking/financial, travel industries, logistics, social/entertainment, consumer brands, and more that are already using messaging.

Here we go again. This is the 12th consecutive edition of my mobile industry predictions, originally published in January of 2008. While we try to cover most major aspects of the mobile industry, we do tend to emphasize messaging-related topics as well as consumer engagement. But we also focus on key industry trends such as devices, mobile payments, and blockchain. If a trend begins to fall out of favor, then it may disappear from subsequent predictions. You can get a detailed review and accounting of my 2018 predictions here.

Just over a year ago, I was an RCS (rich communications service) skeptic. A big one! Meaning: I thought that the RCS standards were too fragmented, a waste of time, and too little, too late; that they wouldn’t make an impact on enterprise/brand messaging, among other thoughts. Certainly, the RCS opportunity has been lost for person-to-person messaging, with the overtaking of SMS by various messaging chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, and others. However, since Mobile World Congress 2017, I have started to believe that there may be, at last, hope for RCS – especially as a primary channel for conversational messaging for brands and enterprises.