Smartphones Driving Continued SMS Growth
At the CTIA Enterprise and Applications event last week in San Diego, the trade group announced that the total number of text messages sent in the United States increased 16% to 1.138 trillion during the past year.
One of the reasons for this is the continued explosive growth in smartphones. In the past year, the number of active smartphones in the US grew from 61.2 million to 95.5 million, representing 67% year-over-year growth. In fact, the CTIA also reported that there are more wireless subscriptions in the United States than there are people. There are 327.6 million US mobile connections and only 315.5 million people in the country, a 103.9% penetration rate.
Given these statistics, it's no coincidence that the number of SMS messages being sent continues to climb. Text messaging is still the #1 data application on devices and is still the best way to reach someone. People carry their cell phones far more often than other computing devices such as tablets and PCs, allowing an individual to be reached immediately, practically everywhere. Also, enforced regulations and a per-message cost have prevented mobile devices from being inundated with spam like we see with other communications mediums such as email and instant messaging.
The continued growth of rich applications available on smartphones and their continued penetration will only make them even more pervasive in our lives as time goes on. One can envision a day where Smartphones are used for on-the-spot payments, credit cards, as our hotel key, and maybe even to unlock and drive our cars. We are just at the dawn of the smartphone age. New standards like LTE are also giving these devices an ever-increasing amount of digital bandwidth, pouring more fuel on an already raging fire.
The other key factor for continued SMS growth and its communication supremacy is that there exists a global standard for messaging. This enables phones worldwide, regardless of carrier and in hundreds of countries, to be able to receive and send text messages to each other, and even more importantly receive them from software and Internet applications. This makes SMS text messaging not only ideal, but practically a required feature for opt-in marketing automation, reminders, alerts, shipping notifications, data-driven triggers, and other system-delivered notifications.
On the application side, platform-independent, Cloud-based SMS APIs and Web services are available for easy integration into applications, Web sites, business processes, and other places where tapping into the worldwide network of cell phones is useful, not only with customers and prospective customers, but also within employee networks, work groups, and other organizations where immediate or scheduled notification has significant value. These APIs dramatically reduce the complexity and cost required to SMS-enable just about any application critical to an organization.
For a long time to come, SMS will continue to rule as a premier business communication vehicle.