Mobile communications platform company Equiis recently launched flaim, a messaging app it believes can compete with behemoths like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The service enables users to be compensated in return for letting companies access their personal data while focusing firmly on security by offering end-to-end encryption.

It is already available in Jordan and a global rollout is in the works.

Mobile World Live spoke to Equiis CEO Derek Roga (pictured, below) about how it believes it can take on messaging services that have billions of users.

Why was Jordan the first market you launched in?
Derek Roga (DR):
In addition to our long-term working relationship with Zain, one of the biggest telecoms providers in Jordan, our decision to launch there is largely down to the fact that the introduction of a VoIP communications app would be a game-changer for mobile phone users in the country.

We will see significantly reduced mobile bills for those that adopt flaim, a huge benefit for consumers and particularly the burgeoning student community there.

Jordan stood out as a natural first step for us as we look to become a major international player and move into our next phase of growth, which will see additional international markets rolled out in due course.

How do you think your app will fare when compared to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger?
Flaim is the only communications app that offers content owners a federated approach. By that I mean we provide brand owners with the ability to reach consumers from a specific country in a tailored way, to ensure that all content is bespoke and highly relevant to the market and its customers. Existing messenger app providers simply aren’t able to offer such a highly-tailored approach because their system architecture just isn’t built in this way.

Also, with flaim, each user’s privacy is respected, each subscriber owns their own user data: it’s an asset they maintain ownership of and are therefore free to determine if, how and when they can monetise their assets’ value.

By comparison with other major communications apps on the market, this makes flaim the only platform through which users can keep that level of control, which in the current landscape is a huge benefit.

How does the money making work exactly?
Very simple. Mobile operators who make flaim available to their subscribers now have a powerful tool to combat the OTT players on a field that is now tilted in their favour.

For any revenue-generating personal information that a user permits to make available to our ecosystem of partners, we in turn share the revenue with both the subscriber and mobile operator. Sharing can be rewarding for consumers and companies alike.

Will these rewards increase user engagement?
Yes, the more the user engages with the app the bigger the rewards for them personally. The rewards system is in place to give back to the consumer rather than just using them to monetise their data. We believe that when users realise the potential of benefits in exchange for engagement the more they will interact with the app.

What does flaim offer brands?
Brands get access to a highly engaged, relevant audience via native formats seamlessly woven into our platform. Flaim offers brands security in the knowledge that the consumer is choosing to engage with their content therefore increasing the value of the interaction.

Flaim says it has “privacy at its core” – how do you achieve this?
Users are assured of 100 per cent encrypted security because flaim is backed by enterprise-level security – there is no possible way anyone can hack into your communications. So it doesn’t matter where you are or which network you are using, your communications can never be monitored or intercepted.

At all times, all personal data is entirely owned, protected and controlled by the individual. Flaim is a community-driven ecosystem where privacy is a cornerstone principle in our code of ethics and it is reflected in everything we do.

Why is privacy important for flaim, especially given Facebook has come under so much scrutiny for misusing user data without consent?
From day one we will be taking social responsibility very seriously. We won’t just be abiding by industry standards, but exceeding them. For example, one of our ambitions within the first year is to establish a panel of experts that will convene an ethics board. Their role will be to plan our digital governance and ensure we’re joining European directives on digital ethics so that our customers have complete transparency and can rest assured from a privacy and data usage perspective.

Consent to accessing user data has notoriously been well hidden in terms of use, licence and agreements. Our goal is to create an environment where privacy is the cornerstone of our principles and where each individual controls and determines the extent to which their information is shared, and for every piece of data shared they can also take advantage in the economic benefit.