I read a great article the other day from Forbes, about the ongoing Messaging Wars. The article quotes Eric Setton, founder of 350 million-user Tango: “Some people refer to messaging as the future of the Web”.
It’s a whole lot bigger than that.
For us at Kibo, this is a glimpse into the future of what our world is going to look like – and it empowers us to shape that exciting future.
For those who might not be following closely, there’s a battle raging out there for the way we perceive the world around us.
It sounds like an exaggeration, but there’s a ton of truth here: we spend most of our day communicating, and most of that is done through a screen of some kind. Increasingly, that screen measures about 5 inches and slips into your pocket.
Now, if that’s what we’re seeing for a pretty big portion of our day, it essentially begins to shape the way we see our world.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a group of kids sitting together, each engrossed in their mobile device. Snapchat, WeChat, Messenger, Whatsapp, QQ, Kik..Tinder, Tumblr, and everything in between.
The race to own that space is on, and the players range from global giants to tiny upstarts, each relying on some degree of innovation and hype to propel them forward.
The text-only model is long-dead. Content is, of course, King- both in terms of passive content (CNN’s channel on Snapchat, for example) as well as active engagement: we send pictures, stickers, Kimoji’s,Vines, voice notes, gifs…not to mention the upcoming world of live streaming (Meerkat, Periscope, etc.).
Almost everyone has started experimenting with bots, for example. The creators of Uber are trying it, Facebook want in through Messenger, and everyone is waiting to see how that company takes the next big leap forward with Whatsapp.
WeChat already provides entire payment ecosystems. As Parmy Olson writes for Forbes, “Want to order a flight from one Chinese city to another? Text “Jan. 22, 2016, Guangzhou, Beijing” on the China Southern Airlines WeChat account and you’ll get a list of options you can tap and pay for. At a vending machine in Beijing you can scan a QR code with WeChat and pay for a milky Vitasoy drink with Weixin Pay.”
This is just the start.
The winner of the Messaging Wars isn’t just going to dictate what app I use to reply to a friend.
That platform is going to be my portal to the world around me; from the moment I wake up and check the morning news, to paying for my coffee, setting up my meetings, arranging my travel schedule, booking my overseas holiday, ordering my shopping, prioritizing my relationships- even making decisions for me, often based on mounds of data that a human being could never hope to try and make sense of.
It’s not just #messaging. It’s more than communication. it’s an all-encompassing, fully immersive experience.
One part best friend, two parts assistant, five parts personal shopper. It will sense my mood, it will suggest what I should be doing, and who I should be doing it with- it will become an inseparable part of me, an extension of who I am.