[VoiceOps] SMS apps, providers, and peers
abalashov at evaristesys.com
Tue Dec 8 23:37:26 EST 2009
Peter Beckman wrote:
> Hell, I'm not even sure what _I_ am doing next year, much less the rest of
> the world when it comes to text messaging communications. I do know that
> SMS is growing now, is in active use now, and for me to put some effort
> into building a messaging infrastructure surrounding my VoIP service makes
> sense. If I do it intelligently, then the messaging infrastructure I
> build now can support SMS now and whatever comes next later.
Agreed. At the end of the day, prognostication of such organic market
trends is informed voodoo at very best. This will, as it has, remain
a matter of opinion at the end of the day.
> Most of the smartphones can't run a messaging app in the background, and
> if it can, which one should it?
That is not entirely true. Many smartphones can run a messaging app
in the background; for those that can't, there are ways around it.
For example, Apple is notorious for prohibiting the concept on the
iPhone. However, it does provide a "push notification" API which can
be used by an application that has servers on the back end holding
connections to messaging services open surrogately. In my case, I use
the Beejive IM client to stay connected to our company's internal
Jabber/XMPP server; when one of our associates sends me a message to
the appropriate account, I receive an incoming message on my phone
that is identical to an incoming SMS in appearance and disposition.
However, when I press "View" it will open Beejive instead of the SMS
application and initiate a conversation. Thus, my experience of
receiving an IM this way is not different than my experience of
receiving an SMS, although I agree that other limitations are
presently in force (who can send me an IM that way, how easily, what
type of phone it takes to make that happen, etc.)
It's a nasty hack, to be sure, and I predict this aversion to TSRs
will gradually go away, or be replaced by a more elegant compromise to
support asynchronously generated incoming events without client-side
polling (aka "push").
> The only thing all handsets and all
> carriers support for public messaging is SMS. Until the phone can
> natively and in a built-in way support other messaging platforms that are
> supported by all handsets and carriers, SMS is here for a while. Just
> because it sucks and there are better things out there doesn't mean it's
> going away. Look at Beta vs VHS -- better did not win.
And BlueRay did not displace DVD. I agree that better is not always a
winner, especially if it's more expensive. My position is a bet on
whether mobile handsets will continue to be used principally as phones
and textual data terminals in the next 1-3 years. I predict that they
will not, and if they will, certainly the user expectations will grow
to a superset of what SMS currently provides. The price and maximum
length of messages is the most crippling, not the format.
> I believe it is impossible for anyone to know what will replace SMS, or
> even if SMS will be replaced entirely in the next 2-20 years. If you do,
> don't tell us! Build it yourself, and wait for the money to roll in,
> because you'll be the only provider offering it.
It is not necessary to know what will replace it with great confidence
in order to be quite certain that it will be replaced by something.
> In the meantime, building SMS capabilities into VoIP DIDs is a service
> that can be sold now, and my gut says for a good long while (5+ years).
I suppose it really depends on the market and the context. My
argument is not that SMS is not useful or sellable now, but rather
that the onerous terms, tight control and hefty minima aren't worth
bothering with. Our premises differ in that I do not share your
perception that it is practically free money simply being left on the
table; it is not effortless or wholly cheap to develop, productise
and bill SMS services.
Alex Balashov - Principal
Web : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
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