As news that the SMS text messaging service turns 20 this week, we at iNet were asking ourselves whether this is now a service out of its depth in the current market?
SMS is the without doubt the most used data application in the world with estimates putting the figure at nearly 6Billion phones which represents 80% of all mobile phone users. However a key fact within our particular culture is that although our phones are able to send SMS messages do we subscribe to it?
Huge innovations in the phone and provider markets over the past few years have given us so many more creative options when it comes to staying in touch. We now have Facetime, Facebook, Twitter and Skype all which are mobile compatible and offer as much if not more diversity when it comes to message creation and design rather than the max SMS capabilities of 140-50bytes. The reason for this is that our phones on the past were connected only by a variation in a GSM radio architecture framework, whereas our devices now have direct access to Wi-Fi and mobile 3G (soon to be 4G) giving us direct access to the internet and all the blogging and messaging services associated with it.
As a result mobile phone operators are offering more competitive packages to satisfy our hunger for data. This week, whilst shopping for a new phone contract i was offered, for the same price as my old contact, double the data at 1GB but they increased my text allowance to ‘unlimited’. This alone demonstrates a significant step towards data communication as providers almost hold no value in the SMS as they literally give it away, whereas we pay a premium for data.
So it seems that data is becoming an increasingly important commodity to smart phone users. However even if you are in the camp of ‘take it or leave it’ you cannot ignore the impact this is having on society. Estimates that up to 10% of all site hits originate from smartphones and incredibly up to 71% (Ofcom data) of active engagement from a traditional print or television ad campaign comes directly from smartphones. Accordingly it is critical that sites have decent mobile viewing.
The Drupal framework offers very easy cross platform compatibility from web, to mobile and tablet, as well as much needed security. You see, the SMS platform had relatively weak encryption cipher but this did not really matter as A) personal information was rarely sent and B) it required specific hardware to intercept. But as we all know this is no longer the case and web security is a serious concern for all business’.
Huge corporations including Sony and Visa have recently been subject to serious international hacking attacks and micro-blogging sites such as the Wordpress framework and Tumblr html were only this week brought to their knees by anti blogging hackers with their services disrupted for over 24 hours. This is no way to run a business - constantly playing catch-up to the hackers.
With Modules like ‘LiveEnsure’ available for Drupal Mobile, smartphone accessed security for shopping, connecting and transferring data is becoming safer but there are still steps that the user themselves can take-
Lock your screen! - This may sound basic but if you phone is locked then it prevents opportunistic thieves quickly accessing your shopping and personal data.
Apply the OS updates - easily ignored I know, these updates from Android, Apple or Blackberry often are designed with recent security advancements taken into account. Stay up to date.
- Avoid Wi-Fi hotspots. As 4G gets rolled out across the county, there is less need to protect data usage whilst out and about by using wi-fi hotspots. However be very careful on them, you simply don’t know who else is connected to the network.
So, back to SMS celebrating its 20th birthday. From the feedback on our conversation in the office it seems that most of iNetDigital employee’s use the SMS for important personal messages to a specific person whereas the mobile replacements like twitter are used much more frequently but more flippantly. Put it this way i did a quick add up from my new phone bought 3 days ago and for the 10 SMS messages sent, 63 other formats were sent.
As this trend becomes increasingly common across the market, the price of data will become more palatable (this looks certain with 4G). I do hope though that all mobile sites opt to invest in solid mobile security both for my protection and their own business survival, as user trust means everything in the data world.