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Guest View: SMS -- Two decades of loyal service, and counting evolution

Mike Frausing, Regional head for Asia Pacific, Acision | May 17, 2013
With the current mobile messaging landscape shifting at an impressive rate, remaining relevant and enriching the user experience is key to co-exist in today’s mobile world.

Even with the rise of Over-the-Top (OTT) and Instant Messaging (IM) services, industry experts believe messaging revenues will continue to increase globally, earning as much as US$726 billion over the next five years (Portio Research). Interestingly however, the service has remained fundamentally unchanged since its inception and the ubiquitous nature of SMS among other factors have contributed to its success: reach, reliability, speed, ease of use and its open rate. Such attributes have helped to give SMS a dominant status, yet with the current mobile messaging landscape shifting at an impressive rate, therefore remaining relevant and enriching the user experience is key to co-exist in today's mobile world.

Enhance and enrich

In order to continue to define a clear direction for messaging 20 years on, it is of vital importance that operators fully leverage the huge opportunity they have at their fingertips to enhance and enrich mobile messaging and deliver a service not only for text but for instant updates, notifications, social chat, file & media transfer, presence and connecting social networks. 

As experienced service providers - which own the network infrastructure, have a solid customer base, as well as a insight into user behaviour and a reputation of trust and a focus to deliver quality, value add service - operators are in a unique position to leverage existing assets while integrating new, rich messaging services, such as the GSMA's Rich Communication Suite (RCS) branded joyn, into their offering that resonate with the user. As consumers adopt new messaging applications, we are witnessing a clear appetite for richer services that enhance the user experience, as long as they are at the right price point.   

Alongside this, there is a huge untapped opportunity for operators and brands alike to leverage SMS as an engagement platform. SMS has the greatest reach of all connectivity channels and is one of the most trusted mediums of communication. It enables enterprises to reach out and engage with mobile users - customers and employees - with reliable delivery of notifications and a 99.9 percent guarantee of being read almost immediately.

For consumers, receiving a text gives them the control to decide whether to opt-out or action it, making the experience feel personal. The challenge enterprises and brands face is to ensure they provide a highly targeted and relevant service to generate a positive response. Even two decades on from its inception, enterprise messaging, is a relatively immature and unexploited route. However, if intelligently used SMS as an engagement tool - one of the only engagement channels left unexhausted - it could be the biggest winner of them all.

Nobody can deny the incredible success SMS has enjoyed since its birth in December 1992. The medium quickly grew to become the trigger for the messaging world we know today and it must now evolve in order to remain relevant tomorrow. Text messaging not only continues to flourish, it stands as a communication platform accepted by all, with a unique simplicity.


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