Businesses Should Ditch Mobile E-mail And Use SMS Instead - InformationWeek

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4/27/2007
02:43 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Businesses Should Ditch Mobile E-mail And Use SMS Instead

That's what Alan Moore, CEO of SMLXL, recommends. His reasoning isn't all that outlandish, either. Turns out, most users of expensive mobile e-mail systems rarely type out messages that are longer than the 160-character limit with SMS. Why are enterprises paying for all that fancy technology if simple

That's what Alan Moore, CEO of SMLXL, recommends. His reasoning isn't all that outlandish, either. Turns out, most users of expensive mobile e-mail systems rarely type out messages that are longer than the 160-character limit with SMS. Why are enterprises paying for all that fancy technology if simple text messages would be just as effective?Actually, text messages are more efficient that e-mails. As fast as many wireless e-mail systems are, network slowdowns, spam filters and other technological burbles (like RIM's outage last week) can gum up the works and delay messages from being received.

Case in point. I was at CTIA Wireless last month and I had my BlackBerry with me. During the show I used my device to coordinate plans and meetings with my colleagues. I used both e-mail and SMS over the course of the show. E-mails were often slow to get through to my intended recipients, while SMS messages were received nearly instantly in every case. And guess what, I never once typed out a message greater than 160 characters on my BlackBerry (I can't tell you what a pain it was to verify that on my device this morning).

Moore explains that business users in most other countries have already adopted SMS as the way to communicate when time is of the essence:

The MDA Mobile Data Association, the world's biggest independent industry association for SMS and mobile data, has run an annual survey of business executives in the UK about their mobile habits. It revealed back in 2002 that the majority of UK executives use SMS in work related communications. England? London? Executives? Certainly not teenagers, or desperately trying to save money? How can this be? London business execs are even more conservative than New York lawyers and investment bankers. And they use this technology?

But in 2004 even more revealing data from the MDA. By 2004 SMS text messaging had become the most preferred business communication method. Yes, ahead of voicemail, ahead of e-mail, ahead of voice calls. SMS text messaging AMONG BUSINESS USERS is the preferred means to communicate. And this not in cellphone-mad Finland or gadget-geeky Japan or South Korea. In super-conservative England ! Today its gone so far that the Estonian government sends out the agenda for the meetings via SMS, the Finnish Prime Minister's voicemail greeting says "don't leave me voicemail, send me a text message instead" The Singapore government has decided all e-goverment will be SMS-enabled. All. Taxes, drivers licenses, passports, work permits, all of it will be SMS enabled. Its that powerful. Time to think again about SMS?

He makes his argument fairly well and I am not inclined to disagree. Even though I have a BlackBerry, I send more SMS messages than e-mail messages. And now that the U.S. network operators are offering unlimited buckets of messages for about $20 per month, there's an opportunity to save money, too.

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