Much has been written lately about the probable decline of SMS—or text messaging—in the age of smartphones and advanced data services. However, much of this talk doesn’t take into consideration the unique benefits SMS offers or its significant potential for new uses in the future.
Consider how important text messaging is in your life today, and then consider how important it was five years ago. I bet most of you, being mobile “power users” like me, now rely much more heavily on SMS to communicate with your friends, colleagues and family. We’ve even asked our favorite brands to communicate with us via text, opting to receive information such as banking alerts and flight delay notifications in this immediate and concise format.
Why is this? Simplicity? Speed? Price? These are all key, yet the most important benefit is that you can still communicate using that well-known identifier—the phone number. You don’t have to remember friends’ email addresses or social media handles. You simply access your contacts, tap a few words on a keyboard, and you’re done—or I should say 100 text messages later, and you’re done.
To preserve messaging’s one-of-a-kind value, mobile service providers need to understand end users’ changing needs and increasing expectations. In the next few years, three factors will be critical in maintaining SMS as a valuable, trusted and versatile mobile channel:
Flawless service—Think about the frustration when you have trouble with a voice call. That same expectation is now applied to messaging. For this reason, providers must continue to invest in their networks to provide end users the highest quality, fastest speed and most robust security. A crucial part will be the implementation of LTE networks, in particular using IPX solutions to ensure a seamless transition from legacy systems to 4G.
Fraud protection—The SMS channel has become one of the newest targets of spammers. Yet, combatting spam is a complex challenge that requires highly accurate filtering to remove only the unwanted messages while at the same time ensuring reliable delivery of legitimate messages. With spam messaging continuing to grow in volume and sophistication, it’s imperative that providers implement these filtering solutions to keep end-user devices clear of fraud, protect against unexpected charges and maintain trust in messaging as a service.
Real-time intelligence—As we look toward text messaging’s future, it’s important to think beyond the keyboard and abbreviations to the ways SMS will be able to communicate relevant information based on your current location, context and preference. Through real-time intelligence capabilities, messaging can be used for everything from offering you a special discount when you enter a store, to confirming a mobile payment, to notifying you of a power outage at your home.
The range of potential uses for SMS is promising, and, moreover, the intrinsic value of being able to connect with virtually any contact using your good old-fashioned phone number will make it a critical mobile service for years to come. And for that reason and more, text messaging is alive and well and here to stay.