Why it so important in today’s hyper-connected world
by Arnold Rijpma, vp for business development with Acision
This Summer , over 400,000 people descended upon London to witness sporting history being made before their very eyes. Currently, with the Premier League and the Rugby Union in full swing, we can see that during truly global events, fans at home and abroad use their mobile devices to send text and picture messages of the action as it happens. Or they browse the internet to get the latest news and follow results. Although Facebook and Twitter are great ways of sharing instant snaps and statements publicly, SMS and MMS are widely used (and in demand) to share private thoughts and pictures between family and friends around the world.Transmitting global events in real-time across the world is no longer limited to broadcasters and media.
Reporting of events extends to ordinary people who share their thoughts and experiences with others, via messaging and social networking tools.
“So many consumers continue to state that they cannot do without SMS”
As smartphones with broadband access are needed for Instant Messaging (IM) and Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services, an increase in usage of SMS and MMS becomes inevitable when 3G traffic increases at big events.
Although experts say the networks can usually cope, there are normally warnings of sluggishness during peak traffic times, which can sometimes push capacity to the max.
As a result, it is natural to turn to other, more reliable and available methods of communication.
Indeed, Acision’s own messaging research showed that 42 per cent of UK consumers cited reliability as a key reason to use SMS over IM / OTT messaging services such as Whatsapp and BBM [BlackBerry Messenger].
Furthermore, 93 per cent of UK smartphone users still actively use SMS – despite being able to access alternative services.
Reach (42 per cent); price (38 per cent) and speed of delivery (37 per cent) also all play a part in consumer decisions to continue using SMS above other messaging platforms.
Thus, the de facto messaging tool will continue to play a leading role in communication, especially since so many consumers continue to state that they cannot do without SMS.
Despite the arrival of smartphone messaging services, even cross-device messaging services do not have the same level of penetration of SMS, and can only be used by other smartphone users who have downloaded the same app.
Although usage in these services is growing, SMS is still the only app that all subscribers use ‘out of the box’ without the need for installation.
All this means users revert to SMS and MMS as cost-effective, personal instant ways to communicate with their family and friends when broadband isn’t available.
This is also one of the strongest arguments for Rich Communication Messaging (RCM) solutions whereby mobile operators can address both OTT and IM competition by providing an IP based messaging service.
RCM offers all the features associated with OTT services which enrich the user experience, but with ubiquitous availability underpinned by SMS.
These new operator services will also have the ability to connect all the mobile messaging communities together; ensuring people connect no matter what device or preferred messaging application they are using.
SMS continues to be a large part of consumers’ lives and operator’s revenues worldwide – its enduring ubiquity and use has been demonstrated during 2012.
For example, when the first goal was scored during the final of the European Football Championships this year , Spanish traffic shot up by 120 per cent.
After the second goal was scored, SMS traffic levels exploded with Spanish supporters sending 200 per cent more messages than the average levels.
It offers a reach globally across any brand, network and device type, even without 3 and 4G.
This coupled with the reliability and personal nature of SMS will see its use continuing during significant events now and well into the future, alongside all the other messaging and social media services which are now available.
Arnold Rijpma is a global market development manager in the telecommunications sector with particular expertise in the fields of text messaging, multimedia messaging, IP messaging (SIP/IMS), mobile internet, mobile advertising and business intelligence. He is presently vp for business development with Acision.