iMessage: A Clarion call for Operators


So WWDC (Apples developer conference) has come and gone and it did not disappoint.

We get iOS that fixes a whole bunch of issues like finally getting rid of Apples hugely annoying modal notification system but that’s not what i’m talking about tonight.

No, whilst that feature is long overdue, the one that really grabbed my attention was iMessage.

iMessage, shit just got real

Now the concept of iMessage is simple, it enables all devices capable of running iOS5 can send SMS style messages.

So a iPod Touch 3G, 4G, iPad WiFi, iPad 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4 can now communicate to each other with an SMS message, except that they aren’t SMS messages as they run over data.

And that after I processed that announcement, I had two thoughts:

  1. As a consumer, its a great idea
  2. Operators are going to lose a lot of SMS revenue
A lot of people have dismissed this as just Blackberry Messenger for iOS and nothing much will change.

I see differently and this is the reason why:

Its not a separate action to send an iMessage, its handled in the main message application, when you write a message it check if the recipient is on iOS5, if they are.

It defaults to sending an iMessage,with no action required from the user.

There are well over 2 million iPhones on o2 uk alone, there is most likely a new iPhone being launched at the end of the year. Which means that a number of people that held off on the iPhone 4 for whatever reason will be purchasing a new handset. So we have a huge number of devices that will no longer be using SMS.

 Sure if the recipient doesn’t have iOS5 the message will still be sent via SMS, but most people with an iPhone know someone else with an iPhone.

This is one conference by just one company and its just severely restricted one of the cornerstones of the operator revenue model.

Operators need to take a long hard look at themselves, because their lack of innovation has left them dangerously exposed. It may sound trite, but the old ways simply cannot work anymore, one of two things happen to companies that don’t innovate.

They either fail or get taken over.

BlueVia is about creating new innovative ways to deliver content and services to users, is it perfect? No, but its a step in the right direction.

And  after Monday, I am convinced that BlueVia is more important to Telefonica than ever before.

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