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Ovum predicts that in 2018 automation in the form of AI and chat bots will take center stage, a new leader will emerge in the chat app space, and a stronger and more focused version of RCS will help telcos find new revenue opportunities.


  • Chat apps have firmly established themselves in the augmented customer ecosystem, and this will continue to develop through 2018 as chat apps double down on bots and artificial intelligence, payments, and visual communications.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the business opportunity for GSMA’s RCS-based Universal Profile for Advanced Messaging
  • Provides an understanding of how the changes in consumer behavior will impact telcos, service providers, vendors, and enterprises

Key questions answered

  • Which chat app will be the global leader by the end of 2018?
  • What role will APIs and WebRTC play in the future of communications?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for service providers and content providers
  • Recommendations for vendors

Chat apps cement their role in augmented customer ecosystem

  • Facebook Messenger overtakes WhatsApp to become biggest chat app
  • Payments and commerce fundamental to chat app growth
  • Chat bots at the beginning of upwards growth curve
  • Chat apps take diverse approaches to digital assistant market

Enterprise messaging: SMS is foundational, chat apps are aspirational

  • The role of SMS remains substantial
  • Google gives RCS a boost, but Apple’s Business Chat is nipping at its heels
  • Omnichannel communications: messaging remains key, but enterprises will add bots and AI
  • Challenging market conditions changing the vendor landscape

Visual communications: show me the money

  • App-based video calling will continue to grow
  • Chat apps promote mainstream adoption of early AR
  • Boom in video sharing on chat apps

APIs and WebRTC make real-time communications child’s play

  • APIs encourage innovative use of communications
  • WebRTC working away quietly behind the scenes


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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