It seems just like yesterday when I was last at Manchester Airport in the UK about to board my flight to Kuala Lumpur but it had actually been a year. And that time has flown. Some things have remained the same but others have changed. And one of the most notable changes is that I was at the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) events in Malaysia this year as an attendee – and not as the organiser for a change! A strange feeling but one I know I will easily get used to! Putting together quality events with great content isn’t easy so hats off to Ross Flynn from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) for doing a great job this past week running the first MEF events of 2024. 
MEF CONNECTS Mobile Content & Payments may have been the title of proceedings this past week but the reality is that the main event covered off so many more areas of Mobile too. No stone was left unturned. A2P SMS, Voice, CPaaS, Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) and other payment mechanisms, Content, Regulation, Security, Customer and more were all covered in a great array of panel discussions bringing people together from all over the world. The fact that people came to Malaysia from as far away as the UK, Netherlands, USA and India shows there was real value in being there.  
I moderated several of the panels looking at Security and the Business Messaging/CPaaS angles and if you’re reading this, know me and, furthermore, know what XConnect is all about and gets up to, then you won’t be surprised at my next few words. 
No matter the topic that came up, the direction or angle taken in discussions by speakers or the audience, THE common strand, theme, was trust. We heard time and again that trust absolutely cuts both ways and it is critical that we as an industry get that on every level. It’s all good and well enterprises, mobile operators, governments and ultimately organisations of all types wanting to be sure their clients or potential clients really are who they say they are when being interacted with, but subscribers the world over just want some certainty too that when they receive (for example) messages from brands, it really is the brand interacting and not a bad actor doing (and it REALLY pains me to write this…) an often very good job of impersonating them.  
In the past couple of years bad actors have upped their games and I’ve seen real examples of fraudsters crafting content far better than the globally renowned brands they’re impersonating have done. Nice wording, spacing, a great call to action, all present and correct. Stakeholders like XConnect, mobile network operators, messaging aggregators, CPaaS providers and more, all have to truly collaborate on coming up with solutions which address the area of trust. Will we all ever reach a point where we are one step ahead of the fraudsters and actually stay there ahead of the game? Time will tell but it’s a big ask.   
A great place to start though has to be getting a real handle on the phone numbers you’re dealing with (deriving as much intelligence as possible about them, well within the bounds of all set laws) as it’s now the case that a person’s number is just as important (if not more important) than their national ID card or passport when it comes to establishing and allowing verification of their identity. XConnect genuinely has superlative global number range information so if you’re looking for a number intelligence provider with amazing global reach and excellent support then you can always start by contacting me personally – 
MEF member Sam Media fully sponsored and hosted the events in Malaysia so thanks to them and based on the success this year too, I’d place a nice bet on this happening again in January 2025. Great seeing all I did out there and I look forward to catching up with many of you reading this right now at events around the world throughout the year.