2015 Predictions: ‘Old School’ Text Messaging Capabilities Bring New Mobile Possibilities

By Steve French, Global VP of Product Management and Marketing OpenMarket for RCR Wireless

As we look into the future of technology, it’s clear that 2015 will be a monumental year for the enterprise mobile ecosystem. The rise of millennials in the workforce, ongoing data privacy and security concerns, a focus on customer experience, and constant competitive pressures have all pushed mobile technologies to the forefront of enterprise initiatives. Increasingly, companies are using mobile messaging to improve business operations and communicate with their customers and employees more effectively. And, after witnessing – or suffering first hand – too many security breaches and vulnerabilities in recent months, security remains top of mind for business leaders. Following are a few key trends that we expect to drive mobile technology adoption and its different use cases in 2015, as organizations aim to optimize business operations, automate processes, improve customer experiences and generate new revenue.

Feeling the pressure: 90% of enterprises will embrace 2FA capabilities

From the Heartbleed bug, to large-scale data breaches of companies like Target and Home Depot, 2014 was the year of highly publicized data security incidents. Companies are searching for simple yet effective measures they can implement to minimize the impact of these attacks. One solution is text message-based two-factor authentication, a low-cost yet highly effective authentication process that provides secure access, consumer identity protection and fraud protection. A simple example is when banks send a personal identification number to your mobile device that must be used in addition to a login and password, adding an extra layer of security that only the user has the ability to leverage. In its infancy, consumers tended to perceive this second step as a nuisance and were deterred by the extra work needed to access secure information. In light of the aforementioned breaches – they are now clamoring for it. And although it seems simple, many major financial institutions and retailers are still not using 2FA.

Businesses that do not have this capability moving forward are leaving customer and employee information at risk which may fracture relationships with clients and key business partners if they choose to ignore the issue. In 2015, organizations like these will feel the pressure and will enable 2FA authentication capabilities.

Keepin’ it ‘old-school’ with A2P text messaging

Person-to-person messaging has previously dominated the mobile messaging marketplace. But P2P is already beginning to fragment with the rise of mobile chat apps. Today there is a plethora of messaging options: Secure mobile messaging apps, as well as different originator types like short codes, long codes, text-enabled landlines and toll-free numbers. In fact, by 2018, A2P text messaging is estimated to be a $60 billion market due to the reach, reliability and ubiquity for contacting customers and employees that is far greater than other forms of mobile communication.

A2P text messaging enables businesses to easily engage with customers and employees. Unlike other forms of messaging, A2P is not dependent on having Internet access, the type of mobile device, nor does it require someone to download an app as the capabilities are built directly into any device. In 2015, enterprises will increasingly leverage A2P messaging.

LOL, OMG: The next generation prefers text messaging

Millennials (ages 18-31) are the next generation to dominate the workforce and impact consumer spending habits and trends. Compared with baby boomers, millennials are a different breed. They are the most informed consumer group in history, and are poised to have an economic impact with a purchasing power projected to be $2.45 trillion by 2015 (Donegan, 2013). And as 42% cited their mobile phone as the most important possession they cannot live without, it’s quite clear where businesses should be looking to reach and interact with them. These forces make developing a “mobile first” strategy that embraces millennial preferences a must.

In addition to using their smartphones to spend, millennials connect via mobile messaging – whether online, in-app, or text messaging – it is their preferred form of communication. Unlike other messaging channels, text messaging achieves open rates of up to 90% within minutes, making it more effective for reaching the 3 billion mobile users on the 6 billion devices worldwide. Through this channel, enterprises can best target the millennial generation and improve both customer and employee engagement. Some examples are using text messaging for appointment reminders, feedback surveys, order and shipping alerts, and even recruiting. In 2015, text messaging is well poised for companies looking to capitalize on mobile to engage employees and customers in the millennial generation.

Text messaging strikes back: Companies will turn to mobile messaging over apps for engagement with key stakeholders

Mobile apps are hot, but the most popular are consumer entertainment apps. And enterprise-focused mobile apps are really only effective for targeting the top 5 to 10% of “VIP” customers with a rich user experience. The truth is, just because an app has been downloaded, doesn’t mean that customers are using it. In fact, 90% of apps are deleted after one use. It is now more important than ever for companies to identify and understand their business objectives and end-user goals. Organizations in 2015 will utilize mobile messaging as an integral part of their approach to improving customer experience and marketing tactics externally, while leveraging it internally for important employee-facing use cases.

Today, 86% of enterprises already consider text messaging the No. 1 mobile technology in their organization (Forrester). Text messaging offers the ability to reach a broader range of targets – whether it’s friends, family or customers, as text messaging is compatible with all mobile devices across networks and is preferred by a majority of mobile users. This preference is mirrored in the business world, where text messaging is seeing increased utilization across enterprise use cases due to low cost, reliability and effectiveness of reaching both customers and employees across the globe.

In 2015, mobile will be a key communication channel that enterprises continue to embrace. Analyst firm Forrester deems this trend the mobile mind shift – the fundamental change in people’s attitudes and expectations driven by mobile device adoption. Businesses must approach this mind shift head-on to ensure they are meeting the needs of their evolving stakeholders. By embracing a “mobile first” strategy over the next year, they will improve internal processes, achieve better security and be able to engage more effectively with their target audiences.

Steve French currently serves as global VP of product management and marketing at OpenMarket, a leading enterprise mobile engagement company.