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What Does the Future Hold for OTT Rich Communication Apps?

October 15, 2013 | Telepresence Options

ott growth

Story and images by Joe Lawrence / Voxox

Think of a CD-ROM, DVD, SMS, MMS and Blackberry Messenger. �Now, consider iTunes, NetFlix, Skype, YouTube, iMessenger, Twitter, Google Voice, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine and Voxox. �What's different? �The latter are cross platform OTT apps that are cool, convenient, compelling and cost-effective. �That's awesome, but what can we expect in the future?

Look to the past, to see the future.��

At present, the universal accessibility of smart devices, app stores and broadband connectivity has enabled Over The Top (OTT) apps to become a "mass market" phenomenon. �As a result, the proliferation of OTT apps has rapidly changed the mobile landscape, making traditional wireless network communication services like circuit-switched voice, SMS and MMS dispensable. �These compelling apps are a formidable and disruptive force that is disengaging the operator from its customers and making protracted industry standards such as Rich Communications Service (RCS) irrelevant. �

OTT VoIP and merging apps are expected to usurp around $71 billion in voice and SMS revenue worldwide in 2013 and up to $106 billion by 2016.1 � That's more than the amount revenue that is expected to be collected by the movie entertainment industry in the same period of time.2

Other forces that are behind the tidal wave of OTT apps is the advancement of open standards, the principle of net neutrality, the agile nature of updating client software, and the power of the freemium business model. The reactive response is the disintermediation of network operators.

Today, a single company, Skype owned by Microsoft, is responsible for delivering approximately 34 percent of all international voice and video traffic.�3�� By 2017, nearly half of all calls made on a global basis will be VoIP enabled, and up to 80 percent of the 1.07 billion users of OTT mobile VoIP services, will be delivered by third-party OTT players.4, 5

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