Navigating the Digital Transformation: Trends Shaping the Future of Messaging and Connectivity

Viber cristina-constandache
Cristina Constandache
Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber
Navigating the Digital Transformation: Trends Shaping the Future of Messaging and Connectivity

With Mobile World Congress 2023 behind us, now’s the time to review the state of the industry. Let’s analyze the trends through the prism of key topics defined at MWC: 5G acceleration, Fintech, OpenNet, Reality+, and Digital Everything. What do these trends mean to Rakuten Viber, and how do they impact the best-in-class solutions that we offer?

MWC has once again emphasized the continuous evolution and ongoing digital transformation. The latter is no longer optional – technologies are being used to optimize every business process and create maximum efficiency. The same is true for interaction with customers – traditional advertising methods alone fall short. Companies need to establish meaningful, relevant, and timely connections with their audiences across multiple channels, keeping in mind that in 2023, mobile is one of the key elements of successful engagement. If brands want to maintain a personal connection with their audience, the only way to do so is to embrace rapid developments.

Let’s look at each of the topics.

5G Acceleration

5G went mainstream in 2022, but, as of now, its potential is far from realized – or recognized. 5G provides faster speeds, lower latency, and more connectivity for mobile devices. It can link up to a million devices per square kilometer, which is important for the development of the Internet of Things.

Why does it matter? The importance of 5G is that it can revolutionize the way we connect and communicate with each other. With faster speeds, 5G can enable the development of new technologies and applications that were not possible before. This includes real-time applications like virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and even remote surgery. 

5G is set to transform the way we live, work, and communicate, and we at Rakuten Viber are quite ready for this new era of connectivity.

FinTech Revolution

Technology continues to transform our daily lives so fast that even consumers barely keep up. One striking example is FinTech, or financial technology, which is revolutionizing the way people handle their finances. But what exactly is FinTech, and why is everyone obsessed with it? 

FinTech is the use of technology to provide financial services and products. It is disruptive because it offers both consumers and businesses more efficient, convenient, safe, and cost-effective solutions. Here are some examples:

  1. Mobile payment systems allow users to make transactions using their smartphones. At the Mobile Ecosystem Forum in Barcelona, our very own payment solution was recently recognized with a prestigious MEFFYS 2023 Payment Award.
  2. Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide clients with financial advice and investment recommendations using algorithms (Betterment, Wealthfront, and others).
  3. Crowdfunding platforms allow businesses and individuals to raise money from a large number of people. Examples include Kickstarter, Patreon, and Indiegogo.
  4. Online lending platforms allow borrowers to obtain loans quickly and easily, for instance, LendingClub and Prosper.
  5. Blockchain technology is used to develop new financial products and services, such as cryptocurrencies or smart contracts, that are secure and decentralized.

At the current pace of innovation, new major FinTech trends can appear and take the world by the storm in a matter of weeks. It’s wise to keep your hand on the pulse of technology and be ready to put that new tech to work, fast.

Digital payments on Rakuten Viber


The mobile network ecosystem is competitive, but collaboration might just be the leap that will elevate the entire industry. 

OpenNet endorses openness, innovation, and adaptability as it requires companies to use open standards, exchange expertise, and team up. It already paves the way for groundbreaking technologies like 5G, IoT, edge, and cloud.

For Rakuten Viber, collaboration with partners and clients has always been the way to operate. By working with others and using open standards, we can create new and innovative solutions that benefit everyone. Besides, as a messaging app, we know full well the value of open communication.

Reality+ Emergence

What used to be the subject of imaginative sci-fi is very quickly becoming reality – Reality+

Reality+ is a term that describes blending the physical world with virtual elements. It uses various technologies such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR) to create a seamless integration of digital and real-world environments. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which creates an entirely immersive virtual environment, reality+ overlays digital elements on top of the world. This means that users can still interact with the real world while perceiving those elements, which enhances their overall sensory experience.

Consumers are already living in a “phygital” world, expecting a seamless in-store and online experience. As reality “expands”, the customer journey and expectations will be profoundly transformed. It’s time for brands to chart the new frontier and map their customers’ journey in the physical world – and beyond.

How might that look? For example, an application with Reality+ features could overlay digital pieces onto a physical product in a store, providing customers with additional information such as its features, pricing, and reviews. 

Our most recent step towards Reality+ is Rakuten Viber Lenses, a product we launched in 2021 that lets users visually express themselves. Since launch, Rakuten Viber users have engaged with Lenses almost 1 Billion times. Brands leverage this tool and create their own Lenses to increase brand awareness and enhance marketing.

Branded Rakuten Viber Lenses

Digital Everything Trend

"Digital Everything" has become the new normal. Digitalization touches all business areas, from communication and marketing to transactions, storage, and work processes. The benefits are numerous: 

  1. Increased efficiency. Digital allows for faster and more streamlined processes, reducing the time and effort needed to complete tasks. This can lead to increased productivity and reduced costs.
  2. Convenience. Digital Everything allows people to access information and services anywhere, anytime. This makes it so much faster and less expensive for businesses to reach their customers, and for individuals to manage their personal and professional lives.
  3. Improved accuracy. Technologies can help eliminate errors and inconsistencies that occur when processes are done manually. This can lead to better data quality and more accurate decision-making.
  4. Better customer experiences. Marketers are exploring personalization at full speed. It is a normal practice for companies to use data analytics to understand people’s preferences and behavior and help businesses to tailor their offerings and marketing messages according to those insights.

Increased efficiency, convenience, and accuracy are no longer “good to have” – for many industries, they can make the difference between sinking or soaring. We’re living in the age of accelerated digital transformation, so adaptability and readiness to keep up with the evolving world are crucial. 

What the Future Holds For Messaging and Always-On Connectivity

With the continued evolution of technology and the trends discussed above, we can expect to see even more innovations and advancements in the coming years. 

Always-on connectivity will become the norm, with 5G and other technologies providing faster and more reliable connections. This will enable the development of even more IoT devices, allowing for more efficient and automated processes in both personal and professional settings.

Yes, the digital landscape evolves rapidly, but messaging remains the key channel for businesses to engage with their audiences. The statistics from Rakuten Viber in 2022 serve as a testament to this trend, with a 32% surge in promotional business messages, a 73% increase in transactional business messages, and a 17% growth in conversational business messages worldwide. 

With the rise of chatbots, we will see more personalized and relevant conversations between brands and customers. And the integration of messaging with innovative technologies such as AR and VR is already revolutionizing the way we experience immersive interactions.

Rakuten Viber will continue to push the boundaries of digital communication – and it's evident that the possibilities are endless.