In this episode I speak with Nick Millward of mGage about the past present and future of mobile engagement, especially RCS. I also cover the history of the URL, teaching an AI to play D&D, how to work from home, why Discord is bad, Brave is good, and so much more.


Chris Ward: [00:00:00] Welcome to the weekly squeak, your weekly geeky squeak with me Chris Chinchilla. I took a few weeks off for a variety of reasons and now am back and well, nothing much has happened in the world since I’ve been away. Has it? Hmm. I wish. I wish I was a. I wish I was lying there, but I am not, I am not going to dwell on too much on the various big issues. [00:00:29] I don’t think I even have to really mention them because I’m pretty sure you know what they are. I’m not gonna dwell on them too much because of probably getting enough of that everywhere else, but I ain’t going to get back to my geeky, techie history, whatever goodness. That, um, you come to expect from this show and make this a “mmm” free zone. In this episode, I have an interview with Nick Millward from M gauge and we have a conversation about mobile engagement. They are a mobile engagement company, but, uh, we have a chat about the ways that people have been able to create mobile engagement or brands have been able to create mobile engagement over the decades from SMS to MMS, uh, to messaging platforms to the future with RCS so to the interview later. In the meantime, let’s get to the links. [00:01:22] First from the guardian and article from Rhiannan. Lucy Coslet about tips for working from home. If you may find yourself working from home right now, I wonder why that might be. So, take it from me. Take it from many of us who have been working for home for some time. [00:01:38] Um, and we have plenty of advice and experience and tips for you. There are certain things you should not do. This article is little, a jovial. A little tongue in cheek. I’m not sure if that’s appropriate or not, but the article is now a few weeks old anyway, and one of the main pieces of advice in here is don’t accept parcels from a full four neighbors. [00:01:57] Um, I can attest to that. Um, there might be other reasons you don’t want to accept the neighbors parcels right now, but, um, one of the main reasons in the house was you’ll spend the rest of the day dealing with angry neighbors, wondering why when they waiting all day, they didn’t get their parcel. There are some others in here, like things like SLU, cause actually this is tongue in cheek, so I’m not a hundred percent sure how much this is really what she believes in. [00:02:20] She says, wait, what? You’re like, I actually am not a fan of that. I’ve always dressed up in quote marks. Well at least it made sure I get up, get dressed, I have a good desk set up and things like that. I try and not. I tried to keep my work areas and my leisure areas as separate as possible, which is not always possible in a one bedroom apartment, but it is moderately possible. [00:02:43] You have some kind of logical divide between where you work and where you play, and of course at the moment where those are becoming. Fast mushed together, that is going to become harder and harder, but try to keep those barriers as much as possible. But anyway, if you’re looking for more slightly tongue in cheek tips for working from home, maybe for those of us who have actually worked from home for some time, more than those of us who are just venturing on that experience. [00:03:10] Then have a read, have a giggle, and then go out and find. Something that’s actually more practical. Next, another article from actually from nearly a month ago now, it’s been on my list of some time. Also somewhat relating to everybody being a remote right now, because this has been a choice of communication channel that has popped up quite a lot. [00:03:29] This is discord at this good as popped up as being popular for a variety of reasons. amongst gamers, which sort of spread its popularity amongst other groups, but also because it has this ability to have always on audio channels that people can just drop in and out of which, um, people might want right now and actually have set up a few myself joined a few myself and it’s been an interesting experience. [00:03:51] The number of people that constant get their microphones to work is an interesting one. Uh, not entirely sure why half the time. But then also before this, a lot of open source projects and communities started moving to discord. And I always wondered why. I could see why some people had a reservation with Slack shop, but why discord? [00:04:09] Discord really is not any better. Um, from a business perspective than Slack. It is still proprietary. It is still predominantly commercial software. In fact, in some respects, Slack is much clearer about how it makes money and discord is a little wooly and what they will do in the future to make money. [00:04:28] It’s also a little unclear. So in some respects, I would say it’s worse than Slack in terms of knowing how they might try to monetize things in the future. And this is a post from Jeffrey Paul called. Discord is not an acceptable choice for free software projects. Pretty much summarizing up some of the things I just said, that he also cites, uh, privacy issues. [00:04:49] Um, they do read a lot of incoming and outcoming data or that you can, I suppose is the better thing to say there. It has a lot of metrics. Uh, toggles that you can kind of configure on and off. By default, it tends to phone home quite a lot and you also need an account, to be honest with you, I did look in to kind of viable user-friendly options for non tech people and pretty much everything involves you creating an account on some sort of service. [00:05:16] It was actually quite difficult to, to get this right. In fact, she goes with the, one of the better services for not having to have an account is probably zoom. Or Hangouts, um, zoom, you need to download some software and then you don’t know what that’s going to do. SI knew that last year about some of the strange things zoom was doing. [00:05:33] And then Hangouts, and even if you don’t create an account, but you don’t really know what Google is going to be tracking. So there are very few user-friendly options, I’m sure. And I know there are plenty of open source. Um, decentralized options, but let’s be realistic about how usable they are for me trying to get some game of friends interested or my coworking friends who work not in the tech business. [00:05:56] And that is kind of more my point. And then actually there is a lot more in here about why you should not be using it for any project that. Values free software or open source software. And I don’t think it even mentions my business model kind of point part. Um, it’s probably applied in there and you can also add that to the list next and article by a will night on wired called forget chess. [00:06:20] The real challenge is teaching, uh, AI to play D and D. now in some respects, I guess AI can play it Indy in the D and D themed computer games, but it’s not quite to the same thing. I guess the point here. Is maybe it’s a little bit clickbait to you. The point here is that being, um, a player or a, uh, dungeon master gains master in any role playing game is a very creative, spontaneous pursuit. [00:06:45] And can an AI do that? Whereas chess is actually law. Cletus can already play chess. It’s a series of, um, mapping of moves based on history and learning to see what you should do to react to a move. Whereas obviously role playing is completely fluid, but of course, some people have tried and the article listed. [00:07:05] Some people who have tried this, including actually from a pin, including actually from open ABI, a tool called G P T dash two that kind of ran as a games master late last year actually. And then there’s also AI dungeon, which I think I covered in the past, and I’m hoping to arrange an interview with its creator soon that it’s not really a DM. [00:07:27] More of a text adventure actually is that it’s a little bit more sandbox, or maybe you kind of follow what the DM said more than it just reacts to you. I don’t know. I still don’t necessarily think these are the same way as I would a DM in an actual role playing game, but still a kind of interesting approaches to looking at how an AI could do that sort of role. [00:07:46] And actually the article kind of concludes his saying that maybe these are not, things will run a whole game for you, but maybe there’ll be more useful as kind of DM AI assistance to help you with bits of storytelling. I know when I’ve run games and you have a scenario and employers go off on a weird tangent and not really quite sure what to do, maybe an icon. [00:08:04] Maybe an AI could help you fill in moments like that, much like, um, I think in an interview I did some time ago with a musical AI that kind of helps musicians filling gaps when they get stuck in their songwriting, things like that. I’m not sure. It’d be interesting to actually try that as a, as a practical outcome. [00:08:19] Maybe I’ll add that to my very long. To do list of things to try. If you get there before me and you do give it a go, please let me know. Um, you know how to get in touch with Christian next and article from Kaitlin Kim Pannu on Zed dinette. This is actually widely reported, but I’m just picking this article in particular talking about browser privacy, the most private browser. [00:08:41] Browsers that do not thought my phone home the most. And unsurprisingly brave came out on top, but most surprisingly Microsoft edge came out fairly high, which considering it has been pushing its kind of, um, privacy features is kind of an interesting development there. And then the Yandex browser, which I’m guessing is mostly used in Russia, and, and that does not surprise me, but also Firefox was actually surprisingly high as well. [00:09:06] A Firefox. Do you, things can be turned off. But they are on mostly by default. Um, and again, I suppose Mozilla and Firefox generally put themselves out there as privacy first. So making people have to disable things is maybe not the best approach and maybe that should be looked at differently. Um, but let’s have a look a little bit more here. [00:09:26] So these tests involve looking at a browser does at certain situations, things like the first start up close and restart of the browser. Pasting in URLs, typing URLs, and when the brows were just sitting there doing nothing, and Bray in fact came out very much on top and doing next to nothing in most of those situations. [00:09:47] Um, I ended up switching back to brave. Actually. I had a brief fling with Firefox and after being a brave user for some time. Um. Mostly because brave sync just does not work and it still does not work. But I’m finding some other solutions to that instead, but I kind of flipped back to it because I always sort of preferred it and that kind of pushed me back. [00:10:09] But if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go. It’s a rapidly, rapidly improving browser. Okay. Entering my computing history segment that I always seem to have first is an article from ion design. By Perrin drum. This is called Roberta Williams is the world’s first graphic computer game designer, but she’s famous for all the wrong reasons. [00:10:30] Quite a long post, quite a long post title. It says she was married to Ken Williams. I’m not sure if that’s the same. Met Ken Williams who invented Pearl. The Oscar doesn’t really mention, he just mentions that he was a programmer, so I’m going to assume. Especially the era. This is relating to that. It’s the same person and she is somewhat well known for designing a lot of the graphics from the high classic eight bit games. [00:10:51] Things like King’s quest for example. And there’s lots of wonderful screenshots in the article of games like that, if you remember those or would like to know what playing games used to be like. And she is also reportedly to have designed the first ever game with graphics. Called mystery house. And while the graphics are simple, they are still the first ever seen and kind of blew some people’s minds. [00:11:17] So when it happened, and um, actually she ends up being one of the founders of the game that the comm games company Sierra, which I definitely do remember that, put out a lot of, a lot of classic games in the . Eighties and I think early nineties as well. I mean, I remember playing them, so they must have lost it reasonably long time. [00:11:35] And then of course, as with so many companies from this kind of era, and especially mean it still happens now with game companies, things can go sour very quickly. And in the late nineties, the company slimmed down, lots of, uh, staff were laid off and no one has really heard much from it ever since. And this article tries to fill in some of the background on that story. [00:11:54] But, uh, we’d encourage you to go and read, to fill in the blank. Stare. And, uh, micro reminds up only the story of this. Um, somewhat remembered woman from early computing game history and maybe see if you can find some, uh, some elements of a work still around that you could still play. Next is an article from the CloudFlare blog of all places by Zack bloom. [00:12:17] The history of the URL ad is a nice little potted history. I’m actually from a similar ish era, kind of eighties to nineties Oh, the history of the URL, how it formed, um, why certain elements of the URL all the way they are and how they have developed, how they’ve changed, how they might change in the future as well. [00:12:37] It also covers some are the elements that went into your old design. Things like dinette, things like DNS for example, and also some of the technologies that sort of came and went along the journey. And I’ve got to integrate it into it. Things like puny code, which I love the name of. And the different protocols that kind of came and went. [00:12:57] If anyone remembers, go find just about remember it. I don’t think I ever really used it, but I definitely remember having access to it. I know that a Y port numbers were created and why particular ports ended up being the protocols they now are. And then I guess the summary of the article is kind of saying that a lot of the URL design we have is somewhat related to the systems they were designed on, which makes a lot of sense. [00:13:20] And these at the time, of course, mostly Unix machines. Um, so. And they were sort of referring to two folders and piles on machines, um, which is a bit more abstracted now than it used to be. So it’s quite a fascinating dig in to to why things are the way they are and why these kind of audit looking structures that we’re so used to typing in now. [00:13:41] Kind of our the way and and what they have become. So if that fascinates you, have a look. I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on that. Anything that you’ve heard be mentioned so far, including the history of the URL, the history of Sierra online, and many other articles yet to come. Let’s get to the next one. [00:13:59] All right. ARS Technica. This is from ARS Technica and article, or by. Jim Salta and it’s a nice little potted introduction to open source licenses. Um, some of this relates to some of the things we’ve just covered. Ready? Maybe not so much actually. Um, open source licenses can be quite thorny and I found this a nice little summary of what they are and why you might want to use them. [00:14:20] And I think I’ll just leave it there in the description. I don’t really need to go into any more detail, but if that’s something that has always confused, you have a read and it gives you some nice jumping off points. To further reading, to understand a bit more about some of the nuances and details of particular licenses and types. [00:14:34] A nother final bit of history, uh, just to throw into the mix, something a bit different. Going into board games now, this is an article from vice. By Duncan Fife and is the history of mastermind. I don’t know if anyone remembers this game, not the TV show, the weed board game with these strange people on the front cover. [00:14:54] This is kind of like a suave looking Svengali and his, um, women standing behind him. Actually those people are somewhat infamous in their famousness, if that makes any kind of sense. I don’t think it really does. And they were just hired for a photo shoot and no one really recognizes them and no one really remembers who they are, but it’s still the fact they are on the front cover of this. [00:15:16] Quite popular at the time game is quite interesting story of how they got there in the first place. And why the game was invented. Uh, it’s very rapid rise to success and it’s equally, to be honest with you, rapid fall, it is not really as popular as it was. Um, and despite many, many versions of it being made, and this is probably one of the reasons it ended up. [00:15:37] Kind of failing and what happened to the game afterwards. It has been referenced in a few strange cultural places, including the game fallout, but for the most part, you don’t really see it anymore and people do not really play it anymore. So how did this strange gang get created and what has happened to it? [00:15:53] A have a read to, uh, to find out more. And I’d love to hear if you remember playing this game. I don’t think I did, actually. I’m not sure. I feel like it might be one of those things I owned, but I never played. [00:16:07] And that was all my links for the week and catching up a little bit. I hope that wasn’t too random or too rambling or too long. Getting back into cadence again and now you can hear my interview with Nick bulwark of MGA to talk about the ways that different messaging, um, platforms, protocols from the history of mobile phones have been used and can be used for companies to engage with phone users. [00:16:32] Enjoy. And that was my interview with Nick Millwood. [00:16:35] Nick Millward: [00:16:35] Uh, Nick mill Lord. So my title is DP Europe. Um, so engage is a mobile, um, engagement company. So we provide services to two big brands, um, and we provide the technical. Technology solutions so that they can engage with their end customers. Or we’ve been around for about 21 years now. [00:17:00] Um, as an organization, we’ve been through various mergers, acquisitions. Um, we’re about 50 people in Europe and we’re around about 150 in, uh, North America, and we’ve got people dotted kind of around the globe as well. But, um, that predominantly is our, is our kind of setup. Um. A lot of what we do is, um, is working with brands, household name brands. [00:17:29] Uh, they’re just wished to get messages out to their customers, uh, primarily through the mobile channel, which is what I probably would have said. Um, so what we do is we connect to the phone. Companies are directly connected, um, in most countries around the globe and where we’re not connected, we will use other partners. [00:17:49] Um, and basically. We enable customers to get that message out to the mobile device. So some of the channels are SMS, uh, in-app push messaging, MMS. Um, we even do voice messaging. Um, we have software proprietary in house software that allows customers to either log onto the web to, to manage that, like a campaign management. [00:18:16] Type tool, or they can use API connectivity so they can connect in through using their own systems and just execute messages through our platforms.
[00:18:28] Chris Ward: [00:18:28] so I guess the first question I might ask from a company perspective is, how do you compare to companies like, um, Twillio and there’s another one in the UK. [00:18:41] Uh. [00:18:43] Nick Millward: [00:18:43] Next [00:18:43] Chris Ward: [00:18:43] month, next month. How do you compare to those? [00:18:46] Nick Millward: [00:18:46] Yeah, very similar in, in as much as they’re connected into the phone companies like we are, um, it’s really O and X are, are pretty much, uh. Uh, API only base, so they don’t tend to require much or they don’t do much hand hands on kind of account management and, and support is more of a, you know, here’s a bit of code you can drop into your system and that will then connect through to the Twilio network. [00:19:13] And, and off you go. So what we do is a bit more of a consultative approach. Um. Um, we would tend to build things out with our customers and our add ons and different types of features and services. [00:19:29] Chris Ward: [00:19:29] Okay. Now I’m just thinking, I actually think he, when I got my first mobile, and actually it was about 20 something years ago, so I was thinking are surely you were doing things before mobile, but now I think about it. [00:19:42] Um, that’s about right. Um. With, has it always been messaging based and always mobile? The MGA business? [00:19:51] Nick Millward: [00:19:51] Yeah, certainly all been mobile. Um, uh, not always messaging, but pretty much anything around mobile. So historically we used to have teams that built apps for businesses. That’s something we don’t do anymore, just because, wow, there’s, there’s not much of a markup in it. [00:20:11] It’s just odd. The app business took a bit of a different turn, so, so yeah, what we do is we send kind of billions of text messages through our platforms to various operators around the globe now, and that’s primarily what we [00:20:24] Chris Ward: [00:20:24] do now. Let’s go back in history then. So it gives the first. Main messaging platform on mobiles was SMS. [00:20:32] Uh, now I’m trying to remember what that stands for. Simple messaging, service, [00:20:36] Nick Millward: [00:20:36] short messaging, short messaging [00:20:38] Chris Ward: [00:20:38] service. That was [00:20:41] Nick Millward: [00:20:41] simple. [00:20:43] Chris Ward: [00:20:43] And, um, I suppose back in those days, what, how did things work? I have a vague recollection of getting, um, kind of SMS campaigns, but very, very vague. So how would that have works then? [00:20:59] Nick Millward: [00:20:59] So, I mean, originally when it, I mean the technology first started off. I mean, even when I joined orange, when it first launched launches a graduate, we use, uh, SMS as engineers to communicate with one another between the towers that that’s how we did it. [00:21:16] Cause we didn’t have a phone line setup. Then also we would actually text one another and then it became kind of a consumer. Um, solution where, you know, a person would text their friends, for example. Uh, the next evolution beyond that would was that brands then started to text their customers. That probably, I think originally started around kind of notifications or alerts. [00:21:43] That’s off a bit. Like, I don’t know, your, it looks like there’s some fraudulent activity on your credit card. Uh, please give us a call. Um. Yeah. Those types of messages is still very, very prevalent right now. And in, in terms of how things have evolved more recently, is that obviously you’ve got richer, uh, communication apps come on board. [00:22:07] Like, what’s that? [00:22:09] Chris Ward: [00:22:09] Let’s come back to those in a minute. I want to stay in the past for a little bit, but I, as far as I can remember, mobile browsers came a lot later. So I guess the engagement possibilities were pretty one way in the early days of SMS. [00:22:24] Nick Millward: [00:22:24] Um, I think they were always two way. But when, um, with the, with things like whack
[00:22:32] Chris Ward: [00:22:32] that’s what, that’s what I remember. [00:22:35] Nick Millward: [00:22:35] And yeah, they’re very slow to load web pages. I remember launching that actually. It’s quite a phone live, so voted fire. I think that the first Lord, [00:22:46] Chris Ward: [00:22:46] that’s who my first phone was with as well. So, [00:22:50] Nick Millward: [00:22:50] um. So yeah, and what happened through there was things like, um, as you remember ringtones, [00:23:02] and then you actually pay, sir. By arena [00:23:04] Chris Ward: [00:23:04] into [00:23:06] Nick Millward: [00:23:06] staying. Um, and it would do what’s called a premium rate. SMSC recharge you repairing or something, but whatever the cost was, add it to your phone bill, and then it would send you through whack this rings home that you could download. So the fire, [00:23:19] Chris Ward: [00:23:19] yeah, and donations and things like that, I guess texts, blah, blah, blah too. [00:23:24] Blah, blah, blah. [00:23:28] Nick Millward: [00:23:28] Yeah, [00:23:28] Chris Ward: [00:23:28] it is. And the, let’s jump forward a bit. Actually, the one that I think in some respects was possibly not as successful as as it could have been, or people don’t really remember it very much was MMS the, I don’t know. I’ve tried to remember what you could even do with it, but I think people just use to send images, weird short videos, other things, but then you genuinely required it required some sort of data connection. [00:23:53] Then I think. [00:23:55] Nick Millward: [00:23:55] Yes, that’s right. Yeah, it’s used in data Shan. I think maybe the text element of it is, [00:24:01] Chris Ward: [00:24:01] yeah, [00:24:02] Nick Millward: [00:24:02] I’ve wrapped the mess, but yeah, definitely the pictures and the short video is, is a data link [00:24:07] Chris Ward: [00:24:07] and was that massively popular with [00:24:08] Nick Millward: [00:24:08] brands? Not as all. [00:24:11] Chris Ward: [00:24:11] This is [00:24:12] Nick Millward: [00:24:12] where in the world, because in North America we’re doing a lot of MMS and we, and it’s growing as well because. [00:24:19] The primary reason is because the price is low [00:24:23] Chris Ward: [00:24:23] or whatever it used to be. But yeah, [00:24:27] Nick Millward: [00:24:27] certainly UK, they’ve not, they’ve not changed the price. And that’s what’s kept people off there. [00:24:34] Chris Ward: [00:24:34] And then you started mentioning messenger apps, but let’s just, just in case there’s any gaps we filled there. Was there anything between MMS and then messaging apps that I might’ve forgotten [00:24:43] Nick Millward: [00:24:43] about. [00:24:46] Well, we had MMS SMS. Yeah. I think, I think then jumps two jumps to things like, yeah. Facebook. [00:24:56] Chris Ward: [00:24:56] What do you think was the first mobile messaging app? [00:25:00] Nick Millward: [00:25:00] That’s a really good question. I don’t know, is the honest answer to that. I could guess [00:25:07] Chris Ward: [00:25:07] maybe they [00:25:09] Nick Millward: [00:25:09] were certainly email. [00:25:10] Chris Ward: [00:25:10] Um. I’ll email if it was supposed to count that as a business. [00:25:16] And then of course, these have lots of potential for brand engagement and have almost been designed around it. I’ve done a little bit of work myself on telegram and Facebook bots, and I mean, I think every messaging platform, I’m not tied to show about iMessage. Uh. Has some form of, of way of, of manipulating the messages and, and sending API as and adding bots and interactions and all sorts of things. [00:25:43] So what are, what are some of the most common things you see brands do with those? Obviously a little platform dependent, but sort of generally [00:25:52] Nick Millward: [00:25:52] what I think the one thing I seen and brands just seem to be very, very much behind behind the curve. We do see. We do see some brands, um, kind of taking the lead on certain things, but, um, they’re very much into, so when you talk about mobile messaging or mobile engagement, a lot of their spend is on advertising through social now. [00:26:14] And that’s typically things like, they’ll put a banner ad. Um, in Facebook, for example, that if you look at somebody’s marketing budget, a lot of the budget that’s now been spent by brands is shifting across to that type of advertising almost. But there is also an increase in spend on things like text messages. [00:26:34] Um, and what, what we’ve seen a lot of now is they’re dropping in, um, emojis to the text message to kind of bring them to life a little bit more. Again, we know that the engagement rates increase when you add things like emojis in and a bit of, um, personality really to the message itself. So, um, emojis is kind of coming in there. [00:26:56] Then what we’re seeing now is more of that emergency into what we call the OTT providers, which is. Apple business chat, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and then obviously I’ll see assays come in on that as [00:27:09] Chris Ward: [00:27:09] well. Well, let’s talk about that. So I’m guessing my, my assumptions around what I’ve heard about RCS, and it’s not widely known yet, apart from anyone who kind of listens to certain tech podcasts or read certain outlets, is an attempt to create something, message or platform like. [00:27:30] But kind of a standard and cross-platform. So something that, um, well, Apple has a iMessage or whatever it’s called now. Um, that is kind of a base level option that’s always available. Uh, and then Android doesn’t really have that. Everyone always adds something else. And of course we have cross-platform options, but they’re not a standard. [00:27:53] They’re not, um, uh, handset or operator owned. And that’s kind of my assumptions about what I’ve heard of what RCS is, but maybe you can fill in any gaps there. [00:28:06] Nick Millward: [00:28:06] Yeah, I think, I think pretty spot on there. I think, um, what’s happened is Google has tried to launch, um, RCS, which is happened about three, three or so years ago, maybe slightly more when they acquired jive as their platform, um, of choice. [00:28:26] And then they’ve looked to really push this out to, I think through their sort of SMS application, RCS application, whatever you want to call it. The iMessage equivalent is, is where they’ve tried to enhance the messaging experience by using as by default RCS kind of protocol. Um, the enables this kind of richer experience. [00:28:49] So it was, it was taken up really quickly by G SMA, um, who kind of got all the operators across the world together and said, look, we’re going to try and standardize this so that it can be used across any device. And what you’ve seen, the reality is that Apple have just taken a step back and. We know that they’ve developed RCS. [00:29:09] We know that it’s there, but I think they’ll either come on board if they get enough pressure from all the carriers or more likely they’ll probably launch their own service, which is Apple business chat companies like us. We’ll need to probably have an RCS function and an Apple business chat function and try and sort of mold the two things together, and then that sort of brand and say, forget what it’s called. [00:29:36] We’ve got a really kind of rich messaging solution through our platforms. You can reach any device with, and then under the bonnet, it’s kind of RCS to Android and it’s Apple business chapter Apple. So you [00:29:49] Chris Ward: [00:29:49] don’t think it’s likely that they’ll integrate it with, with iMessage, I guess there’s no business interest for them to do so. [00:29:57] Nick Millward: [00:29:57] Yeah. The, I think it’s becoming increasingly more unlikely that they will do that. I did think it was likely last year. I thought that the operators would exert pressure onto Apple to do it because obviously the operators can monetize this. They cannot monetize an iMessage solution. So that they will pressurize them to doing this, but [00:30:18] Chris Ward: [00:30:18] that hasn’t happened. [00:30:19] Yeah. And do you think, is there any likelihood of any of the major messaging applications adopting it as a base level? At the very least. [00:30:30] Nick Millward: [00:30:30] Um, not what we’re hearing off. I mean, WhatsApp, which obviously Facebook is, is pushing its own solution and their, um, adoption rates and downloads are increasing all the time. [00:30:42] I think they’re up to about two and a half billion downloads or users now. Um, which has increased a lot even over the last three months, six months. So I don’t see them adopting RCS. I think this is a pure play operators solution that sits out on top of the SMS. [00:31:01] Chris Ward: [00:31:01] Sorry. In reality, I think every consumer or kind of tech as humors dream with RCS was that it would unify everything, but that’s probably not going to happen then. [00:31:11] Nick Millward: [00:31:11] Don’t see it right now. I mean, again, my. My view changes probably every six months with things that kind of just change in the market right now. I don’t see it being unified. Um, [00:31:24] Chris Ward: [00:31:24] so, so just out of interest, if, if someone, a developer or someone like that was not to use something like Evergage just just taking your MGH hat off for a second. [00:31:36] How possible is it for any developer to start developing something for it? Much like they can with telegram or Facebook messenger. [00:31:45] Nick Millward: [00:31:45] Awesome. Do you mean in terms of a brand developing a solution to send messages [00:31:49] Chris Ward: [00:31:49] to, so to create a chat bot or an assistant or push out notifications, that kind of thing. Is it possible for anybody to do it or do they have to go through partners right now? [00:32:02] Nick Millward: [00:32:02] No, I think anybody can do it. I mean, in terms of, um, you know, you’ve got the likes of Viber is another good example. Okay. You know, you and kick and lion and all these other ones. But I think what’s happened is WhatsApp have just stolen the market though right now. And everybody kind of uses that. What we see is a lot of apps kind of getting deleted more and more and downloads are less and less. [00:32:27] Um, I think if someone wants to come in and, and provide that. There has to be an enormous amount of marketing spend to try and get that out there, but it is doable. Absolutely. Yeah. [00:32:38] Chris Ward: [00:32:38] And for, for people who are not particularly familiar with what is possible, comparing I guess, to other alternatives, what, what can you do with RCS? [00:32:47] What can you send? What kind of interactions can you have. So [00:32:52] Nick Millward: [00:32:52] it lends itself really well to, um, to AA interactions because, because of the rich capability, I mean, you can have two way interaction on SMS, but it, it, it’s very difficult to the audience just on that text. So through RCS, I think chatbots is probably going to be one of the kind of main applications through it. [00:33:16] Um, I also believe that. You know, we talked earlier about the charity companies where you can text donate where through RCS, what we’ve started to build now, because we worked with companies like Oxfam is we’re building, um, kind of video that you would normally see on the TV. And we’re building it through the RCS application. [00:33:39] And you can’t do that through, through SMS, but you can certainly do it through. Through RCS, but also within RCS, you can build out a capability to then do the, the payment or the donation on capability. So, you know, I look at the video, it gives me options to donate either as a one off or a monthly donation, subscription set up type thing. [00:34:04] And then. I can interact with the brand as well. I can ask questions or I can even pause my by donation on that particular month or a week. So it just lends itself to being a bit more, kind of, to a bit more, um, conversational. [00:34:20] Chris Ward: [00:34:20] And it does it remember, uh, the state of the user in, in some way, like, you know, with the, I mean, Facebook messenger isn’t an uneasy. [00:34:31] Unfair example because obviously everything is tied to your Facebook account, but can you store details of of a consumer somehow so you don’t have to keep asking for, for certain information? [00:34:44] Nick Millward: [00:34:44] Yeah, that would probably happen through other third party forms. So we’ve got functions within our own platform. [00:34:52] Our platform is called communicate pro. That’s the bit that you, the co, the platform that you would set up companies through. Um, that’s the bit that like API APIs and chatbots hang off the back off. And then it could also be a CRM. So it could be, I don’t know, it could be Salesforce, it could be HubSpot that has all that deep. [00:35:11] Knowledge about particular clients. So it could be that we send a message to an Oxfam donator because we know historically they were subscripts subscribed to donating 20 pounds a month, and they’re currently not donating anything. So we could target them to try and get them back on board with a 20 pounds. [00:35:31] Per month donation versus a five pounds per month donation. Just because we, in the backend systems, we know a bit about that customer, but again, that that proprietary kind of information, knowledge about the client is pretty much held outside of the company, like engage. It would be with the brand themselves. [00:35:48] Chris Ward: [00:35:48] Okay. And just, just, just wondering, I’m just having a look at the evolution of the spec here. I mean, you mentioned that Google started started adopting it, although it’s. It’s been relatively slow about three years ago. And if you actually look at the history of it, the first version is, uh, 10 years ago, or 12 years ago now. [00:36:10] Um, and really the major updates happen about 2012. Um, and now we’re just starting to see it rolled out. I’m, I’m personally yet to experience any interactions with, with the standard as far as I know. Anyway. Um, so Y, that’s actually a relatively long time. Why do you think it’s taken quite a while and I guess what were people doing with it before that? [00:36:39] Nick Millward: [00:36:39] I think, um, I think it’s required quite a lot of money to be thrown at it in terms of marketing it, in terms of, you know, getting the ecosystem together. Um, and I think that’s what Google have done over the last three years. But again, you know, even today, when you look at the penetration on the device, it’s relatively low. [00:36:58] It’s not. You know, look, just purely Android devices, I don’t have an exact number to mind, but it’s still relatively low. And you know, we’re asking the question of Google and the operators saying, how are you going to increase the penetration of this? Because when you talk to a brand, you know, you need probably to be able to get more than 50% of their users for them to take it seriously. [00:37:21] And we’re not still quite at that point yet, but. We’re getting a lot of people, you know, brands start to use it in a prototype mode and understanding what, what the possibilities are of it, but we still need to drive more usability of it. Um, I think what’s kind of holding it back is, um. We need, we need to kind of do some more force, um, forced downloads or forced, um, upgrades to existing devices. [00:37:49] I think any new devices being shipped, it does have RCS on there by default. Um. So I think it’s just taken longer than, than we’ve kind of predicted to get to that sort of large scale market. [00:38:03] Chris Ward: [00:38:03] And we always know how long it can take Android devices to update. Unfortunately, that’s, that’s getting better. [00:38:10] But it, I’ve fortunately involves people to be upgraded to at least, I think one or two versions ago first, which is still a, unfortunately, it’s more numbers. So, yeah. Um. And, and were people doing anything with RCS up until about 2012 was that apps that had just small user bases or it was just purely in, in kind of laboratories up until that point. [00:38:37] No, I [00:38:38] Nick Millward: [00:38:38] think you did have, um, certainly Vodafone’s a good example of that. They had, they’ve been using RCS for a number of years. They rolled it out on their own, um, application, but that really only then available between Vodafone customers. So it’s. Again, quite limited. I think their intention was always kind of pizza P. [00:38:58] it was, you know, you could use this to message between your friends, but, um, it needed all the other carriers on board and it needed, you know, needed a global kind of solution and it needed to be available on Apple devices. So, um, that’s kind of, um, that sorts of limited it. I think a few of operators globally did the same thing as well. [00:39:19] Um, that’s my understanding that they, you know, as been these pockets, but it, the intention when it was launched by Google is that, look, we’re going to launch this. It’s going to be on every Android device, on every carrier around the world. Um, and I think their intention is still that there’d be some interoperability with, with Apple. [00:39:40] Chris Ward: [00:39:40] Okay. And final question. Um. What’s, what’s on the roadmap, I guess, for you, but also for, uh, messaging standards. I don’t know, for the next six [00:39:53] Nick Millward: [00:39:53] months. So we, we need to solve this Apple problem. Um, that, that’s very clear to us. So one thing we need to, one thing we’re looking at seriously right now is integrating with Apple business chat and probably WhatsApp as well. [00:40:10] So those are our two key focus areas in terms of roadmap. Um, and the other side of it, we will continue working with Google as we are today to, you know. To increase and help them increase and justify investment and the carrier’s investment in rolling RCS out further onto devices. Um, I think another key component of it is not just being an enabler of the channel. [00:40:37] It’s to look at, well, okay. Where can we add some sort of something different and something new into RCS as well. So through our own internal platforms, we’re looking at potentially building those out into more, you know, easy to use content management platforms. So as a brand, I go in and I want to send. [00:40:55] I’m a rich message out, um, in six months, hopefully they can send it out to an Android or to an Apple device. Um, but also through our platforms, they can drag and drop collateral easily to create the, the use case or the campaign that they want to, to send that. Um, again, we’re working with AI companies and chat bot companies to integrate chatbots are working with some banks around that. [00:41:21] Um, again, to poor people. As much as possible, away from making expensive phone calls, which a is expensive for everybody involved. We know that consumers prefer, you know, a asynchronous kind of conversation now more than being sat in an IVR or ops amount of time. So things like that, we’re, we’re kind of, we’re building out, [00:41:44] Chris Ward: [00:41:44] having spent two hours. [00:41:46] Today and two hours yesterday in an IVR and having a chat bot that didn’t work. Then being told to use a chat bot that didn’t work. The, yeah, I think I mostly agree with you, but the technology is still sometimes lacking, isn’t it? Even from major brands. So yeah, [00:42:05] Nick Millward: [00:42:05] pick the phone up in frustration and our weight as [00:42:10] Chris Ward: [00:42:10] well. [00:42:11] If phone calls are cheap for us, that’s the big thing. Well, obviously I’m not really going anywhere over the next few months. Uh, I was actually supposed to be away most of this month doing it. I should be currently in Austin, South by Southwest, sunny myself and eating tacos, drinking lovely beer. But I am not, I should be going to CubeCon, but I am not. [00:42:31] I should be going to gaming conventions, but I am not. Uh, I think the same for all of you. A lot of things have been canceled, so who knows what is happening. But I’m taking this opportunity to catch up with all of my writing a lot of my projects. So do keep an eye on Christian for that. Uh, I am actually starting to do some trial episodes of some new podcast ideas I’ve had for some times, some new streaming ideas. [00:42:54] So do make sure you keep in touch with me on Twitter, LinkedIn. I’m actually experimenting with quite a lot of remote things at the moment and helping other people set those up as well. So you will not see me in person very much over the next, who knows how long, but you can still find me doing things reasonably actively or Christian on Twitter or find a Christian on LinkedIn. [00:43:20] And all my Facebook page, Gela so there will be lots of still happening and I look forward to interacting with all of you soon. However, we may be able to do that moving forward. So take care of the coffee deserves. Stay in good health, following oiling guidelines of your local state. [00:43:39] And um, I will talk to you all again next week if you have been. Thank you very much for listening.