Turn on your TV, look at a magazine, go to an industry meeting and global brand names of corporations such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and HSBC come up time and again.
Whether talking about customer acquisition, cementing the loyalty of existing clients, stifling the impact of bad actors in a market or practically anything else, it’s all too easy to get pulled down one track of how things should be done when big brand names are thrown about. The fact though is that 99% of businesses around the world are small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs. What we ACTUALLY need to talk about is real inclusion at every turn, in the widest sense of the word.
Conversation in the world of telecommunications often turns to 5G or the latest smartphone variant about to be released but we have to be pragmatic: the reality is that 5G is set to account for only 21% of global mobile connections by 2025 (source: GSMA). Whilst two-thirds of the world’s population (over 5.2 billion unique users) have a smartphone, organizations the world over cannot and should not assume that all their customers and indeed team members have smartphones or indeed have access to internet connectivity 24/7/365 when it comes to engaging or transacting with them on any level.
Whilst cash still remains the dominant payment form in countries as disparate as Japan, Brazil and Romania, card payment usage has risen rapidly since early 2020 globally across much of the rest of the world. An increasing number of payment mechanisms have come to the fore, none more so than cardless.
COVID-19 disrupted traditional sales channels for so many brands and as a result, more companies pivoted rapidly in a different direction with a new direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce channel. Payment solutions are one of the (if not THE) most critical components in DTC and indeed anything online when you think about it. But friction here damages customer experience and has the potential to kills client relationships even before they have had a chance to get off the ground – all something we are sure you know yourselves from your own experiences purchasing (or attempting to!) goods and services.
Any time the onboarding or any other element of the ongoing transactional process with any provider is hampered by verification mechanisms that are anything but slick, let’s just say that the impact on the business isn’t exactly going to be great.
With 5+ billion people capable of receiving SMS text messages, no internet or fancy phone required, two-factor authentication using SMS as the bearer channel has become huge.
Sure, SMS-based two-factor authentication may not be bulletproof in terms of security, but there is nothing out there right now which has the reach, is as cost-effective and inflicts the least friction on customer experience. Or is there? If you haven’t heard of Flash Call identity verification then we’d like to introduce you to it right now.
With Flash Call a customer receives a call to their mobile and the one-time password (OTP) is intercepted automatically. This makes the whole experience seamless from the first touchpoint and there’s no manual process of users having to enter received codes. The calling party number functions as the OTP. It’s an emerging form of authentication and like SMS, no internet and no smartphone needed. Just a plain old feature phone. It’s quicker than SMS and potentially cheaper too.
Telegram already uses it. WhatsApp announced they will be making Flash Call authentication available on their next app release and no doubt Facebook (which generates getting on for 20% of all international A2P SMS) will follow suit.
Flash Calling processes will be more efficient at connecting with end users, traffic being terminated more efficiently than SMS. This is essential for the termination of mission-critical traffic that requires immediate termination to the end user. Verification is the most obvious use case but there are potentially others that can be explored, all whilst relying on a fallback to established communications channels, such as SMS.
Here at Vox we don’t sit back and just wait for things to happen elsewhere; we’re proactive and we’ve started on a path to educate mobile operators and other stakeholders across the mobile ecosystem about the benefits of harnessing and utilizing the power of Flash Calling for verification purposes. The experience (particularly on Android devices) truly is seamless by the way.
We’re developing a platform that will provide the essential link to the end user via their MSISDN (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number), which enables secure communication and authentication.
The Vox Carrier team have built up a trusted position over many years in Voice, more recently SMS and now we’re doing the same with Flash Calling. Organizations of all shapes and sizes can always benefit from additional, cost-effective means of verifying identities that are easy to implement and we’re busy forging a new path – not following one.
Written by Ehsan Ahmadi, CEO and Founder of Vox Carrier
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