The phenomenal growth of consumer text messaging took everyone by surprise, and the analysts do not intend to be caught off guard a second time. Most are now predicting that SMS will take the business world by storm.
In fact, many businesses are already using SMS solutions because they have filled a gap left by the delayed third-generation (3G) services.
SMS solutions are available today, and can be easily and cheaply deployed over company networks.
For example, promotions company MHP uses SMS to stay in touch with its staff, who often work off-site at exhibitions and events. MHP often has to call in people such as models and entertainers to work at events.
Using a secure system developed by Hybyte, MHP is able to instantly send text messages to groups of workers, regardless of what network they are using. Before using SMS, MHP had to contact people individually by telephone, a time consuming and costly process.
Companies that want to simplify communications with their customers are also deploying SMS solutions. Car rental firm Holiday Autos has recently deployed a solution to allow details of contracts to be dispatched to customer's mobile handsets. Vital booking references are exchanged instantly and stored in a convenient way.
For resellers this is all good news since the major SMS solutions providers are looking for partners in the channel to help them distribute their products and services.
The opportunity should be appealing to the channel, given the current drive to offer one-stop shop communications solutions that are underpinned by value-added services.
Resellers stand to benefit from both short-term and long-term rewards. SMS solutions companies are offering a variety of revenue models, but most tend to offer a mix of commission on sales of solutions, a share of the managed service fee and a cut of revenue derived from on-going text traffic.
All the signs are that SMS will not simply die out once 3G services come online. In the next few years, new standards will enable users to send pictures and voice-enabled text.
Matt Barbieri is director of Hybyte Solutions and Services.
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