Messaging is the New Voice” – The Next Generation of Communications, and the MoNage Conference

Last week in Boston, during the Fall 2016 MoNage Conference that I hosted, Jon Arnold said “Messaging is the New Voice.” I agree, and I think this simple statement has massive implications.

– We are seeing history repeat itself. When the communications industry was launched, all we had was Messaging. The introduction of the telephone shifted communications from being message-dominated to voice-dominated. In fact, voice was the dominant mode of real time communications for a century.  Messaging is now, once again, becoming the dominant mode of communication.

– Messaging’s multimedia capabilities mean that it is likely to absorb and subsume many of the remaining use cases for voice.

– Rapid technological advances in Messaging, such as the growth of chatbots, easier-to-use interfaces, and ever-smarter devices, will  drive explosive growth in Messaging just as VoIP drove growth in voice.

– Voice was (and is) a multi-billion market.  So is Messaging, but Messaging has massive room to grow and expand in places were voice was never well received.

– Demographic shifts, such as the growing power of Millennials and Gen Z, will transform How We Communicate.

– Some similar, and some different, challenges are ahead for Messaging, just as they were for VoIP.  For example, security issues are important.  So is interoperability.  The lack of a global directory means that it’s hard to find that other person if he or she isn’t on the same system.

The combination of “generational” transition – i.e., massive disruption – coupled with new tech and interesting challenges, makes me believe a global community of interest, an updated version of what we built for VON during the rapid growth of VoIP, is what Messaging needs today and going forward.

The power, and potential, of Messaging, is what MoNage is all about. And I want to build a community of people and companies to help grow the business of Messaging.

As we found out in Boston, I am far from the only person who thinks that Messaging is a big topic and an exciting field with strong commercial potential. I am grateful for the 70 speakers who joined us at the conference. Amazingly, 65 of our speakers came from outside of Boston and some traveled a great distance to share their thoughts and insights with us. MoNage was an international gathering of Internet Pioneers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, dreamers, doers, developers, public policy experts, Enterprise and Service provider professionals and more. Some of the cities outside of the US and Canada that were represented include: Moscow, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, London, Rome.

I left Boston with a number of takeaways, including the basis for a new industry consortium about chatbot standards (see below), and the conviction that the MoNage community will benefit from a large number of participants from all parts of the communications ecosystem.

MoNage left me feeling like I did in the days of VON: On the cusp of something big and transformational. MoNage is a conference which the future of communications is explored.  It’s surprising how much was achieved, given that this first MoNage was a “conference startup,” with relatively little marketing beforehand.  Now that I’ve seen the potential, the preparatory and marketing work will be ramped up for our follow-on conference in Silicon Valley in March, 2017.

At the moment, Messaging is hot and is at the crosshairs for both developers and investors. As a result of the Chatbot developers who joined us, I am now engaged in a few behind the scenes activities for the Chatbot community that will be announced in the near future.

MoNage looked at the past, present and future of communications, with emphasis on current and future potential.  I am looking forward to hosting MoNage again soon. Our “Call for Speakers” is now open for the next MoNage, taking place March 21-23, 2017, in the San Jose area.  I am looking for people who would like to participate, as speakers,  panelists, or sponsors (or all of the above!).  Please visit this page to submit your speaking proposal.

I am grateful to our speakers, sponsors and delegates for helping to making this event series happen.