Of all the ways that I’ve seen the technology market in China explode in the last few years, having the opportunity to work with some of China’s rapidly growing internet services companies has been one of the most exciting. Syniverse is fortunate in that from our position in the middle of the mobile ecosystem we have the opportunity to work with these internet services companies as well as a range of other diverse technology companies.
As a result, we recently had a chance to further one of these opportunities when a Syniverse team attended the Tencent Global Partners Conference. The conference took place from Sept. 22 to 24 and brought together some 10,000 retailers, entrepreneurs and developers from across the globe to Fuzhou, China. The Syniverse team that attended included several sales, product and technology leaders, including Zidan Lian, our Regional Vice President for Product Management in China.
In addition to having the chance to meet with our customers at the event, we had a fascinating opportunity to attend a number of sessions that gave us a glimpse of the hottest issues and trends in internet services emerging in China as well as around the world. These included announcements about some of Tencent’s own offerings, such as new features for the Tencent Open Platform, which enables hardware and software developers to connect with Tencent’s user base through a range of channels. And the sessions also included discussions on such major topics as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and cloud computing, among many other others.
In particular, though, the conference focused on two areas that Tencent is placing increasing priority on and that Syniverse is likewise focusing on.
Internet of Things
The internet of things (IoT) is big, getting bigger, and well on its way to redefining our consumer lifestyles and industrial operations. But, as we learned at the Tencent Global Partners Conference, it’s also bringing with it a number of emerging business challenges.
The sheer volume of internet exchanges taking place today is staggering. Auto manufacturers use tracking devices to monitor cars’ performance, connected-home systems monitor which rooms residents spend the most time in, and fitness trackers measure people’s heart rates and other vital signs. On a larger scale, machines like jet engines, power turbines, and rail locomotives use internet connections to sense and predict when they need a tune-up, before any breakdowns, and automatically adjust to changes in the weather and market demand.
Tencent is preparing for this new era with the development of a range of new services, such as Tencent Clouds for Things, which it released at the conference, that will help enable devices of all types be connected and integrated on a new level.
In the same way, Syniverse is strengthening its services for the rise in IoT technologies on a number of fronts. One area in particular involves the new risk of fraud that has grown in parallel with all the new connections of IoT. Connected devices that provide increased convenience and improved services are also collecting, transmitting and storing vast amounts of consumer data, and creating a number of new theft and privacy risks. Syniverse has been developing a new strategy for combating this IoT fraud along with new services to address specific types of IoT fraud, and we look forward to collaborating with customers like Tencent to unlock all the new opportunities IoT will bring.
The ability to use real-time geolocation data from a mobile device to target relevant news, marketing or entertainment content also promises to be a crucial area of internet services growth in the next few years, and it was also in the spotlight at the Tencent Global Partners Conference.
Specifically, location-based services represent a tremendous opportunity make use of big data to improve consumers’ lives and open a new level of relationship between brands and their customers. Harnessing all the personalized data now accessible can be game-changing. But a looming question has been, to what extent are consumers willing to share data in return for more customization like location-based services?
Although this must be addressed carefully, Tencent sees huge potential for location-based services. To give an idea of how huge, Tencent shared that it already records some 45 billion location-based-services interactions a day among users of its services and business partners’ services.
Syniverse similarly sees this opportunity, and one example of the location-based services that we have been developing is a solution to enhance peace of mind for payment-card users when they travel abroad. Surprisingly, up to 80 percent of the payment transactions that are declined while people travel abroad are actually legitimate, which creates a big headache for consumers, retailers and financial institutions alike.
Syniverse is taking on this challenge by using geolocation, and more broadly an asset we call “mobile context,” to verify that a cardholder is at the same place as their mobile device when a transaction is attempted. Mobile context is insight into mobile user information, behavior and location that is available to mobile operators and that – with the explicit opt-in of mobile users – can be offered to companies so they can act on this data to provide more personalized services.
Our attendance at the Tencent Global Partners Conference and work with Tencent build on an exciting opportunity for mobile now taking shape in China and around the world. We look forward to strengthening this relationship and helping enable the exciting new generation of technologies and services now being brought to market by leaders like Tencent.