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As GDPR celebrates its fourth birthday, better compliance and enforcement of a strong regulatory framework are essential for future growth and innovation.
Whether you knew it or not, in recent years Sweden has nurtured a number of homegrown European tech champions that have become hugely successful on the global stage.
Klarna, made in Sweden in 2005 and a leading global fintech business. Spotify, made in Sweden in 2006 and now one of the world’s largest music streaming businesses. Even Abba is getting in on the act. Originally made in Sweden in 1972, much has been made in recent weeks of the super group’s new ground-breaking Voyage production in London. High expectations meet high-tech.
Now let me tell you about Sinch. Made in Sweden in 2008, it has become a leading cloud communications platform powering business-critical communications across Europe and around the world.
Hang on. Who’s Sinch, you ask? What do they do? Not sure you’ve heard of us? What do I mean by business-critical communications? Let me elaborate.
Unlike some of Sweden’s other tech success stories, Sinch provides a service you may never have heard of, even though you likely use it almost every day! In essence, Sinch helps businesses connect with their customers through mobile messaging, voice, video, and email. Our team currently handles over 200 billion mobile messages globally every year. Over the past 14+ years, we have built a business that’s now the largest company of its kind in Europe and the second largest globally, with operations in over 50 countries — a true homegrown tech champion!
We also operate in an ever-growing industry. According to Mobilesquared, a leading industry analyst, over €20.3bn is estimated to be spent on business SMS by companies in 2022, and this spend is expected to continue growing by 8% yearly until 2025. From banking to healthcare, business SMS helps drive economic growth and innovation across Europe and globally.
As business communications continue to evolve, SMS remains key thanks to its universal availability and its reliability and effectiveness for driving customer engagement. With SMS remaining vital and new business messaging channels emerging, Sinch will continue to be an increasingly important partner in developing next-generation technology to support Europe's digital transition.
However, going back to the music analogy, H.E. Luccock, the American minister and professor of Homiletics, once said ‘No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it’. To safeguard the ongoing growth of business messaging and uphold consumer rights, compliance and enforcement of a strong regulatory framework are vital.
As a leader in our sector, we’re committed to following the highest standards for transparency, accountability, and data and consumer protection. All companies using Sinch put their trust in us to safeguard their customers’ personal information. To be able to deliver on this expectation, we need to operate within a robust regulatory framework, actively working with others in the value chain to promote and advocate for best practice as well as seeking innovative solutions to help detect and prevent threats.
This week, the European Data Protection Regulation (EDPS) hosts its conference on the future of data protection under the banner of ‘effective enforcement in the digital world’. It’s a timely debate as the EU’s flagship General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) celebrates its fourth birthday.
As a global leader and a European champion, we call on all those active in the business SMS value chain to make better business choices and adopt best practices for managing the use of business SMS. In particular, companies sending business SMS to European consumers should take proper responsibility for their SMS delivery chains and ensure they’re free from bad actors.
We believe all companies communicating with their customers using SMS should do the following:
Know your supplier: Is your messaging provider a signatory of Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s Business SMS Code of Conduct? Has it been awarded the Trust in Enterprise Messaging badge? Is your messaging provider connected directly to mobile network operators?
Know your messaging delivery chain: Ask your suppliers to disclose how they route your business messaging traffic for delivery to your customers on a destination network-by-destination network basis. Ensure your supplier contract specifies your right to ask your supplier to provide proof from the mobile network operator that a direct connection is in place.
Know your data protection risks: Back-to-back contracts along the length of the message delivery chain are key to ensuring that the described route is authorized, legal, and that all relevant parties are accountable. Brief your Data Protection Officer. Ensure all contracts include personal data management requirements.
Audit your suppliers: Use a testing service to establish how your business messages are sent.
To conclude, as a European and global champion, we are an advocate of stronger enforcement to protect our customers’ data and the consumers who use their services. Effective enforcement of existing rules and procedures already contained within GDPR will ensure better protection within our industry. Companies also need to be more diligent in their respective supply chains; or to revert back to Abba, no one should be taking any chances in this increasingly competitive and aggressive global marketplace. It could create a very damaging SOS. See you at the conference - or even the next concert!
Robert Gerstmann is Chief Evangelist and co-founder at Sinch AB.
Sinch’s leading cloud communications platform lets businesses reach everyone on the planet, in seconds or less, through mobile messaging, email, voice and video. More than 150,000 businesses, including many of the world’s largest companies and mobile operators, use Sinch’s advanced technology platform to engage with their customers. Sinch has been profitable and fast-growing since its foundation in 2008. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has local presence in more than 50 countries. Shares are traded at NASDAQ Stockholm: XSTO:SINCH. Visit us at sinch.com.