Today’s businesses are constantly searching for new ways to cost-effectively increase customer, employee and partner engagement while improving bottom-line profits. With market globalisation increasing numbers of remote personnel, and a majority of business professionals and clients constantly on the move, remaining competitive means these organisations need to increase contact engagement quickly and efficiently. This type of connectivity is essential to everyday business functions in order to perform at optimum efficiency and stand out amongst the competition. When minutes count, companies require a method of communication that is both fast and efficient anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Mobile messaging is that method.
SMS and OTT Adoption
Mobile messaging has evolved to include two distinct platforms to send and receive messages – instant messaging over the Internet (OTT) – or messaging apps as it’s more commonly known; and Short Message Service (SMS) – or text messaging. Though complementary, OTT and SMS are unique platforms that offer distinct cost options and benefits to users. OTT is regarded as a ‘free’ service that offers a richer user experience drawing on the additional benefits of larger message size and non-text content. While OTT messaging has numerous benefits, it is important to note that in order to use an OTT platform for mobile messaging, both the sender and recipient must have a smartphone with the same messaging app installed.
SMS is ubiquitous, working on multiple platforms across smart and feature phones alike. From a business perspective, it is an excellent solution for communication across the broadest population coverage, and does not require the user to install an app. Furthermore, it works even when a mobile data network is unavailable. SMS offers a limited message size and typically costs just a few cents per message.
Although OTT messaging is growing at a faster rate than SMS, generating 70.5 billion messages per day in 2013 compared to 20.9 billion SMS messages according to Portio Research, SMS still remains a dominant player in the marketplace. Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts global SMS traffic to reach USD 137 billion by 2015. Juniper Research finds that Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS will be worth almost USD 60 billion by 2018, up from USD 55 billion in 2013. Person-to-person (P2P) messaging however, remains stagnant.
Leading mobile platform vendors recognise the complementary nature of OTT and SMS, integrating both platforms into one streamlined application to simplify and enhance communication and collaboration, as well as drive an enriched unified communications experience for end-users.
The rise of enterprise mobile messaging
Mobile messaging provides an affordable, practical solution to growing demand for instant connectivity amongst employees, customers and partners, and as such, has seen a dramatic rise amongst business users across the globe. According to a 2014 Forrester report, 70 per cent of enterprises see providing more mobile support to employees over the next year as a high or critical priority. Flurry Analytics reports mobile messaging to have the most dramatic impact in all mobile technology, estimating messaging apps will reach 1.5 billion users next year – a 203 percent year-over-year growth. No longer tied to landlines, computers or email servers, people can freely conduct business and receive messages on the spot, mitigating concerns about missing vital information.
In the enterprise space, mobile messaging can be used across a variety of applications, including getting messages out faster and yielding a higher contact touch point rate. Messaging is also overpowering email at an incredibly rapid pace. With a 98 percent open rate as compared to 12 per cent for email, text messaging has become the preferred method of communications amongst employees – especially for time-sensitive messages. Designed to enable seamless and instant contact with business stakeholders, mobile messaging has provided a strong, widely used platform offered at competitive costs. In 2013, texting platforms drove worldwide communications, generating over 7.5 trillion messages per year. This number continues to rise as mobile subscriptions increase worldwide. According to Portio Research, there are approximately 6.65 billion active mobile subscriptions today, poised to exceed the world population of 7.22 billion by the end of 2014.
Mobile messaging enablement for the enterprise
To help enterprises navigate the landscape and reap the benefits of mobile messaging, companies like Bulletin have teamed with Parallels to offer cutting-edge solutions such as Bulletin Messenger. Messenger works with both SMS and applications, enabling enterprise and business customers to send text messages from the web, email, or any mobile device; maintain online address books; schedule bulk messages to contacts or groups; have full control over reporting and administration tasks; and view complete conversations with threaded messaging using Bulletin’s or their own email client.
Featuring built-in support for APS, Parallels Automation allows for the integration of the Bulletin Messenger suite into service providers’ cloud delivery systems, enabling the rapid deployment of third-party software. Recognising the potential of mobile messaging services, many service providers, enterprise customers and their end-users including Asia-Pacific companies iiNet, OzHosting.com, and ReadySpace have already benefitted from simple yet effective SMS and OTT messaging offered by Bulletin and Parallels.
Mobile messaging is a rapidly growing technology within the service provider and enterprise markets. It provides businesses with a simpler, more effective and highly cost-effective method of increasing customer and employee engagement as well as monetizing on a new source of revenue. Mobile messaging also breaks down the barriers of market globalization, mobile workforces and busy, on-the-go professionals, generating a superior customer touch point and enabling businesses to ensure their critical messages are read and remain top-of-mind.