How Technology Can Rebuild Trust in Communications

Automation has enabled robocalls and online scams. Now it’s time for tech solutions that keep everyone honest.

Some people, even at work, no longer answer their phones in an attempt to elude robocalls. Additionally, trust in communications disseminated online has nosedived as people are more aware of the potential for “fake news,” clickjacking or other schemes. As technology changes the way businesses communicate with their markets, their target audiences are changing their behaviors to avoid unwanted interruptions, unsubstantiated reports, and hackers’ tactics that try to get them to click on malicious links. This change in behaviors, however, is negatively impacting legitimate messages that don’t get through to their audiences because they no longer answer calls or click links.

Technology holds the key to solving these problems. Jay Gurudevan, Principal Product Manager at Twilio, says, “Artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning (ML), is a natural fit for stopping illegal robocalls, continuing to improve cybersecurity, and identifying and blocking online disinformation.”

“Much of what is happening with regard to illegal robocalls, cybersecurity, and online disinformation, is the result of automation. Machines can analyze information faster, react quicker, and engage at a scale larger than humans ever could,” he says. 

Authenticating Calls and Online Content

Len Shneyder, VP of Industry Relations, Twilio SendGrid, comments that the SHAKEN/STIR protocol (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information Using toKENS and Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) “used in conjunction with other industry efforts, will continue to help mitigate and manage the scourge of robocalls.”

The FCC explains that SHAKEN/STIR involves originating carriers “signing” caller IDs and other carries validating them before they ring at their destination. This protocol will ensure the call is from the number displayed on caller ID. The FCC states that it’s leading the campaign for SHAKEN/STIR adoption. The North American Number Council recommended framework for standards that would prevent ID spoofing.

Shneyder points out that, regarding online communications, “This year, tech companies, government officials, and law enforcement agencies will make even more aggressive, concerted efforts to be prepared for and combat the rise in disinformation. “

Reestablishing Contact with Your Customers

Even if advances in technology solve some of the problems that make it easy to spoof caller ID or legitimate online content, businesses will need assistance rebuilding consumers’ or users’ trust in communications.

Sara Varni, CMO at Twilio, says giving users choice is the key. “Consumers will be more loyal to brands that let them choose how to interact,” she says “This means the option to choose the content of the communication they get, the channel on which they receive it, and the ability to opt out. Recent research from Twilio shows that 7 out of 10 consumers will reward brands for communicating with them in the ways they prefer.”

Varni predicts, therefore, that mobile apps will become less relevant “as brands make themselves available on the communication channels where consumers already exist, such as email and messaging, in particular. According to recent research from Twilio, only 12 percent of global consumers want to be reached via a company’s mobile app.”

Gurudevan anticipates, “We’ll see more enterprise and businesses leverage AI tools and automated communication. As consumers become more comfortable interacting with AI agents, natural language processing will become more accurate and advanced and implementation will expand.”

“As enterprises embark on their transformation to become AI-first companies, a strategy focused on augmenting current systems and processes with AI vs. fully replacing them, will win,” he concludes. 


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Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.