Will IM really replace SMS?

There has been considerable debate surrounding the future of SMS communications in light of the growth of Instant Messaging (IM) apps. IM is being used in some communications as a replacement to SMS, and this has impacted on SMS revenues and growth.

Chat Icon in BlueAccording to Gartner, SMS is expected to retain its place as a leading messaging platform but there will be a continual decrease in growth due to other messaging platforms gaining ground in the market with others predicting growth will inevitably at some point go into decline. Informa Telecoms & Media found IM volumes overtook SMS last year with 19.1 billion messages being sent each day in 2012, compared with 17.6 billion SMS. They expect that the number of messages sent via IM will be double that of SMS by the end of 2013.

Why use IM?

Gartner outlines some of the reasons for the growth of IM which include the increase of social media networks and smartphone users. One of the great benefits of IM is that it provides messaging at a lower cost compared to SMS, and in many instances, is free. It also provides more rich messaging as users are able to easily transmit not only information, but pictures, video and group messages as well as authentication of message delivery.

For enterprises, instant messaging offers great benefits as they can communicate instantly with one another allowing them to converse freely without any time delays. IM suits the more frequent “chatty” interactions and has even replaced some face-to-face communication, as well as encouraging communication where none may have previously taken place. For enterprises with offices and staff around the world, IM provides an ideal channel for successful team communications which creates tangible benefits such as efficiencies and improved processes.

Will IM replace SMS?

Informa believes SMS will continue to grow for a number of reasons, including:

  • Instant messaging has to achieve more traction and gain more users before it is widespread.
  • Instant messaging users normally use SMS when conversing with non instant messaging users.
  • SMS is beginning to see real growth in the enterprise mobile messaging market.

SMS is used for a number of purposes within enterprises such as transmitting information, sending emergency communications and for security purposes. Some of the benefits of SMS are that it provides immediate communication, reaches a wide audience, has high availability as it will often still work when coverage is poor and there is not an Internet connection and reports show that 97% of SMS are read within 15 minutes of receiving it.

There has been some concern regarding the security of SMS. Gartner recommends that enterprises overcome security issues by not just focusing on operators’ security, but also by looking at mobile device security. They recommend that enterprises use SMS to reach a large audience when data sensitivity is low but use other messaging options which incorporate end-to-end encryption for highly sensitive data such as IM.

HSL Mobile is launching an IM/SMS messaging service which is expected to encourage the use of SMS - where it is appropriate to be used - and enable the switching of messaging away from SMS where IM is more appropriate. It is additionally expected to help accelerate the adoption of IM within enterprises and to replace existing IM systems that deliver little benefit when compared with IM/SMS.

This combination of instant messaging and SMS brings together the respective benefits of IM and SMS in an enterprise messaging service and additionally excels in terms of security, reliability and regulatory compliance. We believe we've built a service that gives enterprises an exceptionally robust and secure messaging service, engineered so it can be depended on not only for regular chat between team members but for critical business processes.

Find more information by reading our Press Release: HSL Mobile Launch Secure Enterprise IM/SMS Messaging Service or please get in touch to learn more.  You can also keep up to date with our developments by following us on LinkedIn, @hslmobile, Facebook or Google+