SMS and IoT in “cellular connectivity, there’s a world for us to play”

The future of SMS in IoT, exists in “cellular connectivity” claims Rob Malcolm, VP of marketing and online sales at CLX Communications.

Malcolm made this claim as part of a panel which took place on a panel at this week’s Messaging & SMS World conference in London.

Chaired by Capacity’s own James Pearce, panellists included the aforementioned Malcolm as well as Csaba Fulop, voice and messaging sales senior account manager for Turk Telecom International, and Carl Powell, director of global connectivity for Twilio.

General remarks on the relationship between mobile network operators (MNO) and SMS service providers came from Powell, who said: “We need to advise MNO’s on how our services can help - we’re not in competition with them.”

Malcolm explained that the limits of what SMS can be used “Cost per byte is significantly higher, so if you have a large amount of data that you want to share, SMS is not the way to go.”

The newest buzzword from the market, RCS (Rich Communication Services), also made an appearance with Powell commenting: “I’m interested in seeing how RCS is going to be priced.”

On the topic of push notifications and how it is affecting the SMS market, Malcolm said: “When you make something free overzealous marketers over use them. It’s become an annoyance for most people.” Adding that although it had impacted the market, push notifications hadn’t over taken SMS.

Another hot topic was security in IoT and what can be done to improve it, with each panellist having his own thoughts on a possible solution.

“From an MNO point of view, we need advice from SMS aggregators as they have the most experience and knowledge in this field. Working together we can create a better solution,” said Fulop.

While Malcolm felt that the answer lays at the manufacturer end of things, “consumer manufacturers are still underestimating how little consumers know about security - they are not security aware so it needs to build it in as a default.” Adding that they need to “think in a software type of way not in a hardware type of way”.

When questioned about SMS fraud in particular, Powell explained that “learning from mistakes, learning patterns and blocking what you can block” is the only viable option because, as he put it, “you won’t stop everything.”

SMS authentication - undoubtedly one of the most frequently used SMS services - was also touched upon, especially what the future of such services might look like.

“I think a lot more can be done,” said Malcolm. “Associating your device with your mobile just makes sense.”

“People want to use their mobile phone as their ID and SMS is a really cheap way to do that,” expanded Fulop “These days If you lose your smartphone every piece of information about you is on that phone, it’s worse that losing your wallet.”

When asked what the future of SMS and IoT will look like, Fulop asked:  “What is going to be the future of SMS in Europe - not just in IoT.”

But is IoT the next big opportunity? “It’s such a big term,” said Malcolm “I see the opportunity in cellular activity. In the next few years every device will be connected. But it’s there, no question.”

“Will it increase revenue for SMS yes at the rate predicated I don’t know, explained Powell “because of the popularity of push notifications”.

Fulop had the most positive response, “Yes but how to monetise it, we’ll need advice on this. The relationship between content provider, MNO’s and SMS aggregators will be even stronger in future”