The European Union has announced plans for a new Digital Markets Act (DMA) that could force changes at the big technology companies and legislate for them to make their messaging apps talk to each other.
Announced back at the end of March the DMA plans to ban certain practices by these “gatekeeper” companies (such as social networks or search engines with a market capitalisation of at least 75 billion euro or an annual turnover of 7.5 billion) who the EU says are most prone to these unfair business practices.
This means they could soon be forced to enable customers using one messaging app to send their messages to contacts who use other apps. For example, it would make it possible to send a message using Apple iMessage to another person using WhatsApp. Or someone on Google Hangouts (soon to be replaced by Google Chat) to message a friend on Facebook Messenger.
This message app interoperability and standardisation has been met with support by many in the sector, as this could mean an eventual move away from text-only SMS. It would also reduce barriers to market entry, as the big players would have to open up and work with smaller messaging platforms that requested it.
So if the messaging market is the next target for interoperability… when will transport and mobility accounts be able to integrate and share data?
Back in September 20202 the UK Government published the report titled “Next steps for Smart Data. Putting consumers and SMEs in control of their data and enabling innovation”.
In this document it cites the success of Open Banking and that UK Parliament will introduce primary legislation to make different sectors participate in Smart Data initiatives. But most importantly that this will extend to sectors such as retail and transport.
So yes this does meant that, at the right time, there will be legislation created to make this shift happen. Assumed to be similar to the legislation used on the UK Banking sector several years ago, it is expected to insist that key transport authorities and mobility providers make their accounts able to share customer data via Open Standard APIs.
So hopefully, one day… we will have the same sort of interoperability between customer accounts for major transport providers, regional authorities and Mobility-as-a-Service platforms, as the EU is proposing between messaging Apps from Facebook, Google and Apple.
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