The near-doubling of growth would represent 12% compound annual growth (CAGR), with Juniper Research anticipating that OTT players will begin focusing their strategies around the development and provision of artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot tools.
And the new research — Mobile Messaging; Operartor Strategies & Vendor opportunirties 2017-2021 — argues that service providers must view the introduction of chatbots as an opportunity to expand their in-app offerings beyond a mere messaging service.
Juniper predicts that OTT players will reposition their messaging platforms as customer relationship management tools, and that by leveraging AI technology, OTT apps will offer a high value proposition by creating a new level of consumer engagement.
The research also argued that chatbot launches on OTT messaging apps would provide many opportunities for the eRetail and banking sector over the next five years.
According to Juniper, frequently used services such as balance checking and regular purchases would be some early uses.
And the research firm forecasts that the number of chatbots on mobile devices will exceed two billion globally by 2021, as Western players aim to emulate the success of chatbots in China.
In fact, the report argued that chatbot user numbers in the West would show more than 190% CAGR by 2021, rivalling China, and predicts that that trusted names, such as Amazon and eBay, will play a vital role in building consumer trust.
“Successful chatbots will increase audience engagement, maintain customer satisfaction and generate repeat business. OTT players must ensure they support these chatbots in their applications, or risk user churn to competitors,” concludes research author Sam Barker.
The whitepaper — Sending out an SMS – 2017 — is now available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full research.