Wireless Instant Messaging: Propelling SMS and Desktop IM to the Next Level

From Simple SMS to Presence- and Location-Enhanced Real-Time Messaging

Wireless Instant Messaging will enable mobile phone operators to transform short message service (SMS) into a more powerful service integrating presence, location, sophisticated user preferences, and multiple media. That is one of the conclusions of the new 54-page report, Wireless Instant Messaging: Propelling SMS and Desktop IM to the Next Level.

The report found that wireless instant messaging presents significant consumer and enterprise opportunities for mobile phone operators. Also a large share of SMS traffic will migrate to feature-rich wireless instant messaging.

Enterprise use of IM to communicate with customers, suppliers, and internally is set to take off - fostering what many call "The Real Time Enterprise." The report found evidence of not only person-to-person IM, but machine-to-person and person-to-machine in enterprises. While wireless IM for consumers is mostly for fun, wireless IM for enterprises is essential to The Real Time Enterprise.

Additional conclusions found in Wireless Instant Messaging: Propelling SMS and Desktop IM to the Next Level:

  1. Mobile operators are wise to invest in wireless instant messaging. Operators can obtain far higher revenue per megabyte from messaging services than from generic IP services. Today, operators collect approximately 100 times as much revenue/MB from short message service as they do from IP transport services.

  2. The dominant instant messaging systems today are based on proprietary protocols with no interoperability between service providers. However, standards-based solutions will be essential for interoperability between mobile phone operators, Internet-based IM service providers and enterprise systems, as well as to integrate presence and location.

  3. Most wireless IM solutions have been awkward, using either SMS with obtuse session-control messages or WAP minibrowsers. Needed are easy to use local clients that can access multiple services (e.g., enterprise and consumer). Fortunately, the increasing processing power of mobile devices (including Java and BREW support) and standards efforts (e.g., Wireless Village) tend to favor the local client approach.

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