The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) held its inaugural WASPIES Awards, celebrating members that have made stellar contributions to the industry over the last year.

WASPA was formed in 2004 to serve as a self-regulatory body with a mandate to represent and regulate its voluntary members, which provide mobile-based value-added services within South Africa.

According to Anthony Ekerold, chairman of WASPA, the new awards are all about industry recognition in the wireless application space, and about honouring members for their innovation in key industry areas.

Four key categories were recognised at the awards ceremony, including awards for Innovation, Excellence in Content and Messaging Services, as well as the Service Provider of the Year. Submissions were opened earlier this year for members to nominate their company, product, service, or employee for any of the qualifying categories, alternatively they could nominate a third party.

All qualifying nominations and submissions were then reviewed and scored by an independent judging panel -which included Krishanlall Jagernath, senior manager: VAS and WASP at Cell C and Jason Probert, GM: digital services at MTN.

Based on the quality and strength of the submissions, finalists were determined by accumulating the aggregate scores from the Judging Panel and put to the WASPA members to vote on.

“Mobile innovations play a pivotal role in changing the market and stimulating the economy through opportunities, so our Innovation Award is designed to celebrate those organisations and people who bring new ideas to life,” says Ekerold. “The winner in this category was Clickatell, a global chat commerce leader, rewarded for developing a low/no-code, feature-rich chat commerce platform.”

The second award, he notes, for Excellence in Content Provision, is about the delivery of high quality, valuable content that attracts, informs, engages, and retains consumers. Recognised for their role in creating a captivating user experience, the winner here was the Avatar World Group (Joker Mobile). Offering content provider services across Latin America, Africa and Europe, AWG is focused on content monetisation, DCB and digital advertising.

The third award, for Excellence in Messaging Services, saluted the player in the messaging and SMS community that is not only exploring the latest developments in rich communication services and A2P solutions, but is also focused on providing innovative messaging solutions on a reliable platform.

“The members had a hard time deciding on a victor in this competitive category, eventually naming joint winners – SMSPortal and Connect Mobile,” Ekerold says. “SMSPortal is a company that has gone from a garage start-up to Africa’s largest cloud communications platform as a service (CPaaS) aggregator. Connect Mobile is renowned as a key player in the bulk SMS industry, with robust communication gateways, 24-hour monitoring and support services, and strong relationships with the mobile networks.”

Service Provider of the Year also produced joint winners, in the form of Content Award winners Avatar World Group (Joker Mobile), alongside Infobip. The latter is a full-stack, cloud communication platform-as-a-service provider.

“The Service Provider of the Year award acknowledges the excellence in service delivery within the community, taking into account the organisation’s focus on customer service, community involvement, product flexibility and collaboration,” Ekerold explains.

“WASPA is proud of all the nominees and winners, as these are the players who drive our industry forward. They offer the right culture, products, and people to consistently deliver what the end customer wants – be it innovative solutions, richer content, or simply better customer service,” he concludes.