Monday, August 9, 2010

Texting on the rise! ...the future services user interface

How many calls did you make today? How many texts did you send? And tweets, Skype chats, IM chats…?
More and more often, making a voice call is no longer the first option when we want to quickly contact somebody. It is not a subjective feeling, market research reports by Nielsen[1] & [2] that the trend is there: SMS numbers are raising, voice call usage is going down across all age groups, although for young generations the contrast is even steeper.
Together with the dominance in the desktop of the various instant communication systems (Skype, MSN, Yahoo, GTalk, etc.), the picture is clear: textual communication is the preferred option for quick communication.
Reasons for that are varied; it is not only the price difference between sending a SMS and making a voice call. For many users, the cost difference is not an issue. And, after all, fixed voice minutes are almost free. There are other reasons: a voice call means a time and attention commitment that many are unwilling to warrant unless agreed beforehand; calls do not allow multitasking (is the other party in autopilot, just repeating “ok”? he is probably checking the email or correcting a report); even for the most impersonal calls, carries the risk of an emotional bound with the other party... Many people prefer messaging, asynchronous and impersonal, especially for services whose impersonality are taken for granted, like those that are now carried out in call centres. And young generations take messaging for granted, voice is not even an option for many of them.

Paradoxically this means voice is regaining the status as the really personal medium. Or perhaps not so paradoxically after all, hand written letters are the summit of communication commitment, there are so few people handwriting nowadays. It is just the “mechanic” or “robotic” voice calls that are being replaced.

Our view (shared with other companies, i.e: see this Voxeo ppt) is that real time messaging is the best communication medium for impersonal communication services and, properly developed, will create a huge opportunity for a new ecosystem of text-based services.

RCS messaging enablers, session based and with built-in multimedia support, unlock possibilities beyond SMS and basic IM, until now restricted to users with a given software or client. RCS will, however, be available across handset ranges and on the desktop, opening a truly mass market, interconnected across service providers.

In the next posts, we will uncover a few demo services showcasing the power of RCS to deliver useful and revenue generating services.
Just a basic RCS client and the RCS R2 specs, unmodified core, unmodified clients. And lots of ideas!!!

Jose Recio

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