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Trusted Communications: Predictions for 2021 — and Beyond

December 22, 2020

We’re all ready to put 2020 behind us. Pondering what 2021 holds is one way to do that — and a welcome distraction. Here are three ways that consumer trust in communications will evolve over the next 12 months.

More than ever, your mobile number is your ID. Few things are as personal and as constant as a mobile number. Nearly everyone has their own, and they almost always keep it when changing service providers. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this by porting victims’ mobile numbers to take over and drain their bank accounts. Account takeovers are now among the most common forms of identity theft — up 72% over the past year alone, according to Javelin Research.

Expect mobile numbers to become even more central to discussions around identity verification and theft in 2021 and beyond. That’s because although fraudsters take advantage of mobile numbers, legitimate businesses also can use them to protect consumers. iconectiv is already providing many of the tools that enable businesses to mitigate fraud. For example, in the U.S., our PortData Validate service transforms number portability data into a powerful anti-fraud tool that financial institutions and other businesses are using to protect consumers.

The notion of privacy will get even more fluid. As technology accelerates in terms of unstructured data gathering and analysis, more of our individual information will be captured, stored and used to predict our behavior:

  • Gartner estimates that by 2025, 75% of work conversations will be recorded and analyzed.
  • By 2024, emotion tracking will determine more than half of the advertisements you see.
  • By 2022, 35% of large corporations, up from 25% today, will either be buyers or sellers of data via formal, online market places.

Consumers will be winners and losers. Imagine a world tailored to you. The ability to “be known” means algorithms serve as your own personal concierge. Recommendations are spot on and services predictive. You can live in your own bubble. But that personalization comes at the cost of privacy. Consumers are largely unaware of how much data is being collected about them and how it is being used.

Expect the discussions surrounding privacy, data collection, data monetization and consumer protection to gain steam over the next 12 months. Netflix’s The Social Dilemma brought these discussions more into the consumer consciousness. Proposed legislation such as the Setting an American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act is now getting this topic on the Congressional docket. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has given consumers more control over their personal data and how businesses can use it.

iconectiv is well positioned to contribute to these discussions. For example, since 2019, iconectiv TruReach Certify has been deployed as the foundation of the Calling Number Verification Service in the U.S. As part of that service, iconectiv has served as the U.S. Secure Telephone Identity Policy Administrator (STI-PA) for Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN), an industry initiative to mitigate illegal robocalls and rebuild consumer trust in the calling number displayed on their caller ID.

Another example is TruReach Certify, which provides secure tokens to support a nationwide framework or to guarantee that all calls terminating in SHAKEN jurisdictions are verified upon arrival. Available for APAC, EMEA and the Americas, TruReach Certify also can ensure that a caller ID verification solution meets industry standards, works between service providers and is accepted across borders. As more service providers implement these solutions, 2021 should be the year where the trend of declining trust in calling information reverses and consumers began answering more calls.

Businesses face an identity crisis. COVID accelerated digital transformations that were expected to take several years. One example is how retailers, banks and other businesses increasingly rely on SMS, chatbots and other digital channels to serve customers. IDC estimates that by 2025, every connected person in the world will average roughly one digital interaction every 18 seconds.

More all-digital interactions mean businesses have fewer cues to confirm identity — and thus more opportunities for fraudsters. For instance, some text message shipping alerts that appear to be from legitimate companies are actually phishing scams. 

In 2021, expect adoption of identity solutions to accelerate, helping all parties be “known” in an all-digital ecosystem. One example is iconectiv’s TruReach Intel solution, which helps businesses verify identity across voice, text and chatbots. This, in turn, builds customer trust.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an increasingly important element of the all-digital ecosystem, where it enables the Rich Business Messaging (RBM) chatbots that retailers, banks and other businesses increasingly use to engage customers. The AI-powered B2C trend was well underway at the beginning of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic kicked it into high gear. “We have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks,” according to McKinsey, which cites the quick pivot to online grocery ordering as just one example. Consumer trust in RBM chatbot interactions is critical for maintaining and growing many of these digital transformation benefits in 2021 and beyond.

That’s one more example of how consumer trust will remain a top priority for service providers and businesses in 2021 — and beyond.  Join the conversation by sharing these predictions on LinkedIn or Twitter.