The EU’s messaging interoperability reform is a big win and a major challenge

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The European Union’s groundbreaking announcement to prevent certain companies from acting as Internet “gatekeepers” in basic services such as social networking and messaging has received little skepticism.

An important part of this declaration is the need to provide messaging services to organizations that operate on a variety of platforms. Those who do not comply with the new rules could face heavy fines and EU regulatory scrutiny.

While interoperability in messaging will be welcomed by many parties, there are still key questions as to whose current system should be adopted as the norm. How can this be done while maintaining the company’s IP and how will the messaging platform differentiate itself in a crowded market?

How interoperability can appear

Interactivity has been pushed by the communications industry for almost a decade.

Forced by Google, defined by the Mobile World Congress (MWC), and is slowly being adopted by users, Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a messaging standardization protocol that has been in operation for years. It brings text messaging into the 21st century with protocols including read receipts, writing indicators, group messages, responses, large file transfers and, of course, encryption. While this is common among popular messaging apps today, they lag behind Android’s text messaging service, which is responsible for more than 133 million active smartphones in the US alone.

In addition to easy communication across all mediums with more space for small and alternate players to enter the game, an attempt to create cross-platforms, universal messaging standards can be extended to address additional pain issues in the industry.

Instead of allowing companies to defend themselves when it comes to compliance after a rollout, alternative modules for governance and control may be part of the new standard. This can be applied through the phone numbers and social accounts owned by the enterprise.

Third-party interconnection hubs can play an important role in simplifying the complexities of interoperability. The hub will be highly reliable and secure by design, and will create an easily accessible, single source of truth that allows stakeholders, from enterprise to developers, to gain greater control over the ever-expanding abundance of messages and platforms.

It also opens up interesting business models for this vast segment of interoperability communication. Will the tech industry titans pool their resources to adopt and streamline implementation? When it comes to development, will third-party interconnection solutions fill some of the gaps, and in some respects serve as a replacement for development teams?

The potential for the people in the data capture and governance industry is exciting, while the dream of interoperability is a rocky road ahead. Companies do not necessarily agree with all aspects of the standard, let alone their resistance to adhering to a competitor’s idea of ​​what the appropriate protocol is. Recently, during the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Signal’s founder, Moxie Marlinspike, encouraged Ukrainians to avoid telegrams via Twitter, claiming that it had no encryption and was easy for governments to spy on.

One step further, but is it real?

The implementation of the regulation will probably be a pipe dream for the new facility. Extensive adoption cannot be achieved unless the following problems are solved, which has so far prevented the formation of such a standard:

  1. Standards
    The creation of an extensible federation standard, on which all industry players would agree, is almost impossible.

    There are so many dynamic parts, different rules and expectations by industry and sector, and such a rich variety of perspectives and ways of doing things that it is hard to imagine all the major players coming together in any number of logistical, technical and policy consensus. . Issues

    For example, XMPP – which has been around in the tech space for almost 23 years – has been trying to standardize the industry in this way for years and has not made much progress. There is no reason why such an attempt would end so differently this time.

  2. Security
    Security and privacy issues have always been a top concern for the enterprise, especially as more and more businesses find themselves under intensive regulatory scrutiny, thanks to many high-profile cases of non-compliance.

    Companies spend a lot of time and money making sure their E2E and B2C messaging is secure. Any potential inter-efficiency requirements may deem their current practices and policies obsolete, throwing years of development out the window.

  1. Rich media
    Interoperability looks great on paper, and at first glance, it doesn’t seem like setting an industry standard for text messages exchanged through mobile messaging platforms is an impossible mission.

    However, it is important to point out that the new rule clearly focuses on messaging, but leaves out the bigger picture: most people use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger for more than just strict text communication. For true, 360-degree interoperability, it will need to include other (wildly popular) features on these platforms, including, but not limited to, voice calls, audio notes, file sharing and more. This poses serious testing problems and is more complicated than just setting up messaging standards.

  2. Feature similarity
    Feature parity (or lack thereof) is also a concern.

    Consider how Android iDevice treats messaging responses until recently. Users of iPhones can send heart, confetti and other playful animations in response to the message. The animation will briefly appear on the recipient’s screen, then disappear. But due to completely different backends and structures, Androids were unable to display responses, presenting them together as a separate message, which quickly messed up users’ inboxes and proved to be a source of frustration.

    Although Android has recently fixed this problem, it is still an excellent example of how challenging it can be to handle feature parity, even for tech giants. With mandatory interconnection, this problem is sure to grow rapidly.

Consumer benefits and risks are very real

Although we are many years away from widespread interoperability on the entire messaging platform, the responsibility promoted by the new regulation is crucial. A passage in the law that says tech companies are required “Ensure the interoperability of the basic functions of their instant messaging services” Is groundbreaking, and itself.

It marks the first time that the Titans of this industry will not have the choice to provide messaging services that are accessible across multiple platforms – they will have to comply or face consequences.

On the other hand, governments will also play a role in implementation. While this may ensure standardization, make it easier for regulated B2B companies to better manage data capture and manage client communications, it also raises concerns. One of which is the process, if any, of accessing personal messages from privately owned devices.

Regardless, more customers are pushing regulatory businesses in the financial, legal, medical and other fields to provide communication through Whatsapp, iMessage, WeChat and other chat platforms, giving businesses the opportunity to give customers what they want without having to wait for regulators. Capture This regulation will make it easier for companies to go to third-party companies like LeapExpert to retrieve chat data, provide real-time service with an understanding of customer needs, all without storing any data on the employee’s personal device.

Ultimately, the growing pain of implementation will pay off for businesses and consumers alike. While there is a financial incentive for all involved, there always seems to be a way.

Dima Gutzeit is the founder and CEO of LeapXpert,

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