Jun 21, 2018

Has the good old SMS reached its end? What sounds like a legend is reality for the SMS. The goal had been to find an option to send short messages instead of sending a letter or a post card. This is the reason why the SMS is limited to 160 characters as it had been realized that the common character length of postcards is approximately 160 characters. Then on December 3rd, 1992 it was done. The world’s first SMS (Short Message Service) was sent. (Wikipedia) What interests me the most is what the content of this SMS was?

I can only guess it was the classic “Hello World”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out what the message really was.

It is the year 2015, and I am looking back to my first SMS. I remember quiet well that I thought twice If I should send this message or not as back then, it was around 1996, an SMS had really been expensive. I had to be brief but at the same time had to make the best of the 160 characters as I didn’t want to let my expensive SMS go to waste.

Then there came the time when an MMS with a picture could be sent. I believe that up to this day I have never sent a single MMS. Years later I was sending emails or exchanged thoughts with friends via chat technologies such as ICQ.

Today, in the year 2015, I use Whatsapp privately and Emails for business purposes. To make something binding I use the good old fax. What is the SMS still used for? Interestingly it is being used in the financial sector and the by online service providers. A security code is sent so the user can authorize himself with a so-called two-factor authentication.

If you look at the current statistics of SMS (german link) you realize that the number of sent SMS has decreased significantly.

Hardly anyone is sending messages to family or friends with the classic SMS. The alternative is Whatsapp, free of charge, mobile and convenient for the private user.

Whatsapp for companies and company services? A No Go!

Still relying on SMS? There are 3 reasons against it:

First of all is the price. An SMS costs money which at the end of the day has to be paid for by someone. Second is its usability. SMS in the financial sector serves as a passive one-way technology, answering is impossible. Thirdly; security. SMS stands for Short Message Service, not Secure Message Service. Therefore, it is not surprising that it can be easily attacked.

An alternative must be found. Many try to create this alternative by developing systems similar to Whatsapp or by offering SMS at a more favorable price than the respective telecom provider. However, that will not be the solution in the long run.

Companies are looking for alternatives to email, fax, and the SMS, that should be integrable into processes, presenting an additional benefit to your customers as well as a method to create customer loyalty and follow-up business. A new binding communication channel is the goal of every company. Not a chat program such as Whatsapp but a system allowing someone to work highly secure and convenient but also mobile as well as on the classic desktops. But to get back to the initial question: Has the good old SMS reached its end? No. But it was never intended to be used for business processes. Therefore, our answer is Identity Processing.

More about this in my next blog post.

Özgür Koyun