Finding true trends in the sea of noise created by the hype-manufacturers in mobile is practically impossible. Last week’s CTIA was a clear example. The multi headed hydra of the pundit-ocracy clamors a singular vision. The PR flacks shed a thousand points of light on their next big things. The organizers spotlight the themes of “men on white horses”—keynote speakers and sponsors--which we mere peasants should naturally be following.
Meanwhile most journeyman attendees (like me) are too busy in meetings, pleading for face time, attending dinners conflicting with 10 pm receptions, all within an average stay of three days and two nights in the bull’s eye of Vegas’ adult distractions--this is a massively male industry mind you. Little gets really noticed, let alone understood. Less makes an impact. Ahh, least we not forget the “current economic conditions” either. Trying to capture a true trend is like noticing a single sequin in a strip club.
But as even a blind man can find a sequin if he's feeling for it, I think I found one of those true trends: Enterprise messaging.
Since its birth, SMS has been the finger tool of consumers, passing trillions of notes as a terse, powerful means of communicating. I consider text a fully developed medium on par with film, TV, radio, and print. It informs. It entertains. It connects. It has billions of users. It earns its keep in the mind of individuals. Now it is carrying multiple payloads, whether financial, advertising, entertainment, medical, even payments. Seems 160 characters can be quite effective.
My enterprise ‘tell’ is not the developing bubble of one shot wonders of apps developers focusing on calendar synching LBS widgets, but the growing number of scale-sized enablers which are now managing all the complexities of routing, delivering, securitizing, sorting and prioritizing the messaging needs and benefits of enterprise users.
These are not the massive aggregators managing traffic to the networks, but companies specifically developing targeted turn key solutions for enterprises, while using the back haul delivery network of a global messaging aggregator. It’s a sign of a developing, healthy ecosystem evolving beyond consumer messaging.
One stood out to me at CTIA : 2SMS.
2SMS is a British born firm, 8 years on. They provide a software based solution to enterprises providing an integrated solution beyond just mere alerts and notifications. By having a synergistic messaging notification platform provided by 2SMS, an enterprise’s employees, customers, suppliers--perhaps even share holders--can be kept current on a variety of activities, notices and actions required. This is not your father's alerts and notifications.
2SMS has obtained ISO 27001, an international standard for information security, something neither cheap nor easy to implement and maintain. A clear differentiator from the other enterprise oriented SMS providers and clear advantage for 2SMS as they overcome security challenges for text in the enterprise segment. Usually this is the biggest hurdle for SMS in an enterprise environment alongside storage, retrieval and messaging management.
Listen to my conversation with 2SMS CEO, Tim King here (6:38)
But the real power comes in 2SMS’ technology. Not just content with the hiding in plain sight “security” measures of SMS, their solution incorporates a proprietary component where secure messages are identified from a trusted source and naturally delivered to the recipient. But, the message doesn’t sit perilously on the handset, its in the cloud, thus protecting the user from any loss or “transfer of handset possession” e.g. being “pinched” or lost. Plus it provides auditing and a legal trail as well.
I spoke with Tim King the CEO of 2SMS [click here to listen to the podcast or tune in here at iTunes ]. As Tim relayed “business leaders are now recognize the power of SMS and identify with its non-financial benefits. They are going beyond financial benefits, and now see impacts on operations or mission performance and results such as improved customer satisfaction, faster information distribution, improved productivity, improved efficiency. That’s how we harness SMS.” Having sold to enterprises in the past, the real marketing value of proof in their pudding was their tool which shows the ROI on the purchase of their services. Something buyers are always looking for to support a purchase, and a technique I've often used. Smart move as exemplified by their customers which include SnapOnTools, Exxon and Pfizzer.
2SMS’ enriched enterprise messaging services have placed the company at the leading element of a number of companies that are gaining traction and scale. Unlike Twitter texting, here’s a concrete business model with secure messaging services within a broader segment that pays the bills. This is a company that has many of the pieces in place, prepared as the wave of opportunity is breaking towards them.
2SMS and their noble competitors developing the enterprise messaging segment will add another wave of growth to SMS usage and further the next evolution of text. Check them out.