Text messages get mission-critical status

Text messages are being adopted by enterprises to relay time-critical information to staff and customers, according to a recent survey

UK companies are starting to rely on text messages more than any other medium to communicate mission-critical and real-time information to employees, partners and customers, according to a survey.

The Short Message Service (SMS) or text message technology started life in the consumer world, but it is now becoming an accepted medium for business communications, overtaking older, well-established technologies such as pagers.

Topcall conducted a survey of 20 of the UK's largest companies and gathered opinions from industry analysts that cover the technology. The company concluded that the biggest corporate use for SMS is to alert mobile technicians to system errors. The survey also found that SMS was also popular when alerting executives to urgent voice mails, warning travellers about delays, informing stock brokers of unusual trading activity and as a reminder alarm for sales executives.

The Mobile Data Association, an organisation dedicated to promoting mobile data usage, recently estimated that 14 percent of mobile phone users send business SMS messages, which will amount to 20 billion messages this year alone.

Businesses feel text messaging is an efficient way of sending time-specific alerts, and are planning on expanding their use to sending medical data or informing customers of shipping delays and changes, Topcall said.

Phillip Redman, vice president of research at Gartner said in a statement: "Some large organisations are looking to replace existing paging networks with SMS services because of the availability, flexibility of use and existing devices supporting these services."

Topcall said that UK companies are increasingly integrating SMS into their general applications.

Other situations where SMS is on the rise included alerting doctors to urgent patient situations and managing sales representatives' schedules through timed reminders.

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