The Immortal SMSIn this world of high-tech must-have products, new gadgets are often quickly relegated to long-forgotten piles of obsolete tech; see the fax machine, car phone, and pager for examples. Rapid innovation, high-velocity product cycles and relentless competition cause hot new technologies to seem archaic in a year’s time.  Despite the obstacle of accelerating technology, the SMS message will celebrate its 21st birthday in December 2013 and has fixed itself firmly in the daily operations of enterprises and organizations throughout the globe.

The SMS has evolved from a fad to an enterprise necessity as companies large and small use the communication tool as a turnkey messaging platform to communicate directly with their staff, partners and customers securely in a walled corporate garden.  Three key attributes have led the communication vehicle to becoming a mainstay in business: SMS is ubiquitous – it functions on all mobile phones and on all mobile phone carries.  No third-party application or social network membership is required. A generation of millennials are working their way up the corporate ladder whom grew up with SMS as integral social function, and with the ever-expanding workday, prefer to be contacted via the direct, yet less-intrusive, text message.

However, the rise of free texting messaging applications for smart phones – such as WhatsApp and iMessage – has some pundits forecasting the decline of text messaging. Mobile analyst Chetan Sharma estimates the average quantity of monthly text messages fell by 3% in the United States in 2012. Yet, the text message remains king of quick communication, especially in commercial enterprises.

These new kids on the block may offer free services that appeal to the trends of that time (currently smart phones), but their limitations in enterprise, and the mainstream, are enormous. WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Facebook Messenger are not universal – they all require some sort of membership. Membership greatly reduces audience: messages are sent to only Apple product owners, WhatsApp subscribers or Facebook members (who will receive the message only when they are active on the medium). Additionally, text messaging requires no individual set-up. If you have a cell phone, you can receive texts. This simplicity proves extremely advantageous to business leaders and allows them to communicate directly on a personal level with their audience without excluding large segments of their audience.

Innovation will continue to drive technology in the mobile sphere and alternative messaging services will attract certain audience segments, but the humble SMS will retain its starting position in the enterprise messaging world while other services remain just alternates. We at Bulletin are thrilled with the future of SMS and look forward to continuing to provide global enterprise with ubiquitous, safe, messaging solutions.