Mover & Shaker Interview with VOX Solutions, Future Digital Awards Platinum Winner for Best Flash Call Authentication Solution
Juniper Research interviewed Ehsan Ahmadi, CEO & Founder of VOX Solutions in August 2023
Ehsan brings more than 10 years of entrepreneurial and executive experience with leading technology company.
Always passionate about technologies and solutions, and turning pain points into new opportunities, Ehsan was also an early investor, business angel and advisory board member of many successful start-ups. Ehsan holds a BS in computer science and electrical engineering from UPB and an MBA from LSE.
1. How Has the Market for Flash Calling Evolved over the Past 12 Months?
The rise of the flash calling segment is mainly powered by the enterprise world,constantly looking for new ways for customer verification especially. Over the past months, a few trends can be seen throughout the value chain:
• At the top of the chain, large global players such as WhatsApp started utilizing flash calling across several markets. It has been seen that flash calling reached up to 20% of operators’ international A2P SMS volumes.
• On the mid-layer, increased appetite is seen from CPaaS players, promoting flash calling as part of their enterprise channels.
• On the MNO front, however, the vast majority of MNOs still do not receive the revenue they should, as players position flash calling as missed calls, with zero termination cost. As flash calling is a substitute to A2P SMS (one with lower reach, nonetheless), increased adoption of such technology attracts volumes that MNOs used to have on A2P SMS (an official & billable channel).
2. How Aware Are Operators of the Impact of Flash Calling over their Own Networks?
While flash calling (A2P Voice) utilises operators’ voice infrastructure, operators do not get a share of the pie. Unfortunately, the players connecting OTTs to MNO networks seem to still promote flash calling without agreements in place with MNOs. With flash calling not generating revenue for MNOs, it cannibalises revenue coming from international A2P SMS. At VOX, we have focused consistently to raise awareness on this topic. However, to answer the question, operators’ awareness is also linked to the extent to which their A2P SMS volumes are shifting to flash calling. While in some regions it does not represent a threat, in others operators are on the fence as flash calling is attracting up to 20% of their A2P SMS traffic. Of both the former and the latter of categories, operators are starting to pick up the pace in terms of implementing technology to address flash calling, as ‘doing nothing’ is just not an option anymore. Surely, with adequate technology in place, it is in the operators’ hands to then decide if they want to block or monetise flash calling traffic in their networks (turn flash calling into an official and billable 2FA method).
3. How Can VOX Solutions Enable Operators to Have Full Visibility of the Traffic over their Network?
With zero termination costs for missed voice calls, flash calling is not yet a product to generate revenue for operators. As it seems, MNOs currently suffer, as stakeholders up the chain have moved faster in terms of commercial adoption, while MNOs require time to implement the adequate technology stack to address this phenomenon. As mentioned above, operators have two options when it comes to ensuring their A2P revenue: the first is to block flash calling (and capitalize on A2P SMS volumes for revenue) or monetize flash calling by turning it into an official channel. Each operator is responsible for deciding the optimal strategy with respect to flash, however, for one or the other, there is a technological prerequisite. In VOX360, we utilize advanced analytics and machine learning technology to help MNOs identify & monetize flash. Such technology is needed, as without it, MNOs have limited clarity of it within their network and do not currently possess a platform capable to gain full visibility or control flash calls. VOX Solutions was the first player – to our knowledge – to develop technology for MNOs to either block or monetize flash calls. In either approach, the foundation stands on accurate identification of such traffic. Hence, with VOX360, we empower MNOs to fully understand, in real-time, the level of flash calling used in their networks.
4. What Can Operators Do to Monetize this Emerging Traffic?
The majority of operators do not have the technology stack to identify & bill flash calls. According to Juniper Research, at the current point in time, over 95% of flash calling traffic globally goes unidentified. Operators however have a choice – with the right technology, they can define flash as an A2P Voice product, separate from P2P Voice, and price it differently. VOX Solutions has been the first player to roll-out a solution to block or monetise flash calling traffic. To our knowledge, it is still the only solution to turn flash calling into a billable channel while also being the only such solution under client implementation. In summary, we enable operators to identify flash calling and turn it into an official channel. This provides MNOs to align with existing market players and create a sustainable framework for the use of flash calling. Our solution, VOX 360 is a Managed Service, that drives immediate revenue increase by actively monitoring in-out flows, using traffic admission policies, limiting unauthorised service use, while boosting security, compliance, and cost reduction efforts through up-to-date systems, using cutting-edge proprietary AI technologies, industry best practices, and methodologies and dedicated personnel with extensive experience in A2P fraud detection/prevention and monetisation.
We enable MNOs to totally control the Flash Calling environment, allowing operators to define related trunks and an associated A2P rate, all whilst rejecting calls coming from other (P2P) trunks. At VOX Carrier, we have the solution for the problem, allowing MNOs to block or monetise flash calls. As a result, operators can create a monetisable channel for an additional authentication technology, for which the rate can be controlled, and that can cater to certain security-first businesses which are not users of A2P SMS at this point in time.
5. Is Flash Calling the Biggest Threat to Operators’ Revenue?
MNOs are facing multiple threats to SMS revenue. Among them, AIT & SMS trashing, ‘traditional’ A2P SMS, flash calling and the possible adoption of substitutes such asWhatsApp Business are most significant. In summary, depending on the region and context of the MNO, flash calling might be the largest threat that certain operators are facing.
6. What Is the General Need to Augment Operators’ Technology within the A2P Space?
In general, we see that the A2P space has become very dynamic, as communication between enterprises and customers (in both B2C and B2B environments) is becoming more and more important. Due to the size of the market, value chain and incentives of different players, the A2P space will remain a dynamic place for the foreseeable future. If we look at the past year, we witnessed the growth of flash calling, of AIT and of SMS trashing. In such a space, operators will constantly need to implement novel technologies, to keep up the pace with the other part of the value chain. As MNOs’ core business is elsewhere than technology development, it is apparent that operators need to forge strategic partnerships with tech-centric players to protect their A2P business.
We are thrilled to share the speech of our Vice President of Sales, Mr. Pavel Salatiuk, from the […]