Short Message Service (SMS), or text message as we know it, is used for sending short messages through mobile networks. The first Person-to-Person (P2P) SMS was sent in 1992 and the first Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS in 2001. The consecutive years saw the rise of the SMS with 2010 witnessing 6.1 trillion text exchanges. By this time, it was already adopted by 80% mobile subscribers worldwide.
In 2011, the smartphone was born ushering in a new era of communication – emails could now be sent using the phone, messaging got instant and over-the-top content messaging apps came into picture. Many believed that this would lead to the end of text messaging, which turned out to be far from the truth. Enterprise messaging, instead, is on an upward trend with experts suggesting that over 400 billion A2P messages would be sent in 2017 and this trend would continue to grow at 4% annually.
These facts bring us to the question: why is SMS still prevalent and preferred, even though the market dynamics have changed. Here are the four reasons that tell us why:
1) SMS makes reaching consumers a seamless process: 90% of the people read text messages within minutes of its delivery, giving texts a higher engagement rate than emails and OTT apps. SMS also has a lower communication barrier as you do not need to accept friend requests or download specific apps or need any other existing connections to receive content. The fact that you only need a phone and an operator service plan widens SMS’s global reach.
2) Text messaging has a one-size-fits-all approach: SMS doesn’t have the constraints that most internet-based apps have. SMS is not reliant on the handset manufacturer, service provider, or even web connectivity. Unlike over-the-top messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Hike, WeChat etc), it does not have hardware or software constraints, and is not dependent on the availability or speed of the internet. It can reach any mobile phone, even the most basic one.
3) SMS is the most dependent technology for modern customer needs: Application-to-person (A2P) SMS, allows an app to deliver messages to a mobile subscriber. Best in class, enterprise grade A2P solutions are available to enterprises. There are state-of-the-art APIs available that can be integrated seamless with the enterprise IT infrastructure. Today, in accessing the global telecom network directly, companies gain faster delivery times and better reliability of service. This makes A2P SMS accessible to more companies to connect to their customer, there by making SMS as the most preferred channel of communication.
Enterprises rely on text messaging to deliver the most crucial information to their customers including one-time passwords, transaction information (payments/account withdrawals), appointment reminders, flight updates, etc. Companies use state-of-the-art APIs and effective cloud communication platforms to ensure timely updates to consumers.
4) SMS offers an additional layer of security: Two factor authentication through SMS is the most used method by companies to avoid data theft and protect consumers from financial frauds. Use of the OTP (Online Transaction Password) is quite well-known in the present day.
Though, SMS may be viewed as antiquated technology – but in reality is SMS is the most accepted communication channel and plays a key role in connecting most modern technologies. From its high user engagement rate and 2FA benefits, to its disruption in the A2P sector, we won’t see SMS disappear anytime soon. From security advantages to high user engagement, text messaging has multiple reasons to indicate its rise in the coming few years.
CONTRIBUTED BY – RASHMI MISHRA, VP – PRODUCTS, ACL MOBILE