Verizon strengthens commercial messaging platform

After providing call filtering features for free, Verizon is going to update its commercial messaging platform to better protect customers.

Verizon announced that an updated commercial messaging platform will be launched within a month to improve the protection of users. “This new platform will improve spam protections while continuing to enable commercial providers of SMS text messages capacity at scale,” the carrier said in a statement.

The platform refers to Verizon’s “application to person” (A2P) messaging service that businesses can use to engage directly with consumers, e.g. for promotion, customer service, or consumer survey. Verizon did not disclose more details on how the improved security features will work other than that the “new platform uses a full 10-digit telephone number to help you recognize who is texting you”. However we can expect that this would be the first implementation of the RCS based messaging service that Verizon announced at the end of last year. So far, Verizon has been using its own proprietary A2P messaging technology.

Despite that OTT messaging services like WhtasApp and WeChat are gaining popularity whereas mobile operators are losing values through SMS, largely due to the rich features these OTT services can offer. However, the more features are integrated in these services the more they are open to abuse, e.g. spams and phishing attacks, which drives consumers to place more trust in SMS and RCS (coming in messaging format). RCS is a “clean channel”, not tarnished by the privacy scandals committed by Facebook and co, or the over monetisation by others, said the software company Mavenir at the recent Mobile World Congress. Research shared by Mavenir showed 97% of SMS / RCS are opened within 3 minutes.

Verizon’s new announcement on the improved security for messaging came shortly after the carrier made some features of its Call Filter app free to its postpaid users at the end of March. Used to cost $2.99 per month, now users can have Spam Detection, Spam Filter, and Report Numbers for free, while additional features will still come at a price. Verizon is playing catch-up to T-Mobile and others that have already provided free spam protection. It can also be read as responding to a call from Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman, late year that demanded operators to “adopt a robust call authentication system to combat illegal caller ID spoofing and launch that system no later than next year [2019]”.

Verizon Call Filter free vs. paid

Nokia makes lots of announcements, again

Nokia’s PR team is being kept on its toes this week with a flood of announcements that defy journalists’ best efforts to form a coherent narrative from them.

The most recent is a strategic partnership with Bosch to produce industrial IoT solutions. As you would expect Nokia brings connectivity and the cloud platform to the mix, while Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions will provide smart connected sensor devices. Initial work will focus on asset tracking, predictive maintenance and environmental monitoring.

“Bosch is the world’s leading smart sensor manufacturer, and we are delighted to have reached a strategic agreement with them,” said Laurent Le Gourierrec, head of strategic partnerships at Nokia. “This combination of devices, connectivity and services from two worldwide leaders will allow for the rapid deployment of large-scale, innovative IoT applications.”

Earlier Nokia launched Predictive Care for its Fixed Networks portfolio. This seems to be related to the Analytics Services Nokia told us about a couple of weeks ago, but applied specifically to fixed line. Basically Nokia is using AI and other cutting edge cleverness to improve network maintenance.

“Predictive Care is even bound to grow in importance, as networks evolve to more virtualization, and open interfaces and data models will provide more insight on diagnostics data more easily, across systems and networks, which will further improve the accuracy of predictive analytics,” said Federico Guillén, President of Nokia’s Fixed Networks Business Group.

Other announcements cluttering the Nokia press page this week include an MoU signed with the Japanese city of Sendai, which will result in Nokia being a long-term strategic partner to the city, providing it with the latest tech to help it recover from the natural disasters it was subjected to in 2011. Nokia has also launched some new FTTx solutions, which seem nice.

Nokia seems to be having one of its announcement frenzies this month, having had a fairly busy time of it last week too. These big vendors have a lot of business units all clamouring for their 15 seconds of fame, but the result can come over as a bit spammy when you’re on the receiving end. But having said that, Nokia is doing a good job of seeming nice and busy, which can’t be a bad thing.