One billion people on this planet have a smart phone. In the next few years that number is expected to rise to three billion. Three billion smart phone users on the planet. The current census estimates right now are 7.1 billion people. Every three out of seven people in the world will have a smart phone. Why is this so significant? Because smartphones have a capability no other piece of technology has had in the past: the ability to access the internet through cloud based IP servers. Your mobile phone isn’t what it used to be-a communication device made for delivering messages and pictures. A property that, at one point, was solely controlled by service carriers. The emergence of the IP cloud, however, has shifted the entire landscape into an ethereal battle ground where information storage rules and carriers no longer dominate.
Evolution: The Rise of OTT
Darwin’s law is simple: survival of the fittest. The word “fittest” is derived from fitness or the ability to survive within one’s environment. Over the Top Technology (or OTT) applications like WeChat, Line, and WhatsApp have been naturally selected to thrive in this new cloud based ecosystem. Their innate technologies and platforms are suited to data storage through an IP address that is free for users. This property has driven their success in a world where users want to maximize their output while minimizing the cost. Because of this, carriers that use costly data plans are at a competitive disadvantage.
Statistics Don’t Lie
Since 2010, OTT messaging has been on an exponential growth curve. A 2014 Analysys Mason study shows the first three years of its total mainstream use being overshadowed by SMS messaging. 2013 was the first year OTT overtook SMS at 10.5 trillion messages sent versus 6.5 trillion messages sent. To put that in perspective, total OTT messages sent after only three years dwarfed twenty years worth of SMS messaging. And the trend is expected to continue as OTT rapidly becomes the standard form of messaging for mobile users around the world.
So where does this bring brand marketing and content? With OTT messaging, the possibilities are endless and extremely cost effective. In app QR scanning can lead to brand page visits and further business through the IP network. When someone downloads an app, they usually tell their peers to download the same app. Thus, community clusters are born. Brands will leverage the ever increasing app downloads all over the world for their business models as OTT rapidly dominates mobile commerce.
Social media networks have already recognized the potential. With Facebook’s 19 billion dollar acquisition of WhatsApp, the valuation of OTT apps has skyrocketed. With it, the fierce battle to dominate mobile marketing through more efficient, wide reaching, and innovative ways than ever before.
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