Over two decades after the first text message was sent, SMS is still going strong. Companies and consumers alike are using the channel more than ever despite the rise of instant messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp. Let’s take a look at what you can expect for the future of SMS technology.
The use of 2-way SMS is expected to increase over the coming years. As you can probably guess, this type of message allows recipients to send responses to the texts they receive. In doing so, businesses may have customers or employees answer surveys and confirm meeting times or receipt of the message, among other tasks.
This functionality also allows companies to facilitate customer-initiated contact such as help requests. For instance, hotels can receive an SMS from guests who require valet service before arriving or leaving.
Application to Person or A2P communication, also known as enterprise or professional SMS, is when companies send texts through specialized software platforms. The content can range from marketing messages to alerts, news, customer loyalty programs, one-time passwords and more.
While typically done through API (application programming interface) integration, messages can also be sent through an online SMS sender service. This type of communication is great for businesses, which benefit from unrivaled open and read rates. Check out this post from Tatango on companies using text messaging in marketing for examples.
Rich Communication Services, or RCS for short, comprises several features designed to make SMS more capable and versatile. Much of the functionality is already present among instant messaging services, such as the ability to see whether or not the message has been viewed.
There are still some question marks surrounding RCS, however:
- Mobile network providers are unsure about what it will mean for SMS costs
- Operators need to handle the delivery of large messages that include media
- Uncertainty remains around whether RCS will be possible for company-to-customer communication
Granted, these concerns are likely to be ironed out as the technology is implemented. What we know for sure is that both Apple and Android can support RCS, so almost every phone will be free of the limitations that SMS has today.
Network operators are working to set up SMS firewalls designed to prevent the use of illegal gray routes. These work in a similar fashion to traditional firewalls, which measure inbound and outbound traffic to identify anomalies and stop them from reaching their intended destination.
Gray routes are those which are not under the control of established network providers who follow internetworking agreements. The traffic that passes through gray routes is essentially stolen and the subsequent costs are passed down to everyone who is part of the legal mobile chain.
Established successfully, firewalls will help to make SMS more affordable in the future.
While these make up the primary technologies making their way to SMS that we currently know of, there will certainly be more innovations as time goes by. It’s safe to say that the communication channel will continue to grow.