The SMS turns 20

If you feel that text messaging has been around forever you are not far from right as today it is exactly 20 years since the first Short Message Service (SMS) was sent.  According to Wikipedia “the first SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from Neil Papworth of Sema Group […] using a personal computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone using an Orbitel 901 handset. The text of the message was “Merry Christmas.””[1]

The SMS has been on a bit of a journey since then and there are signs that its journey as we know it is changing course. With the increase in voice recognition technology (ASR) for mobile devices, these days more and more people are dictating their messages instead of writing them. ASR is powerful in the way that you can just talk to your phone and give it commands on what to do. However, a mobile phone will not be fully intelligent unless you add Natural Language interaction technology (NLI) to the mix.

With NLI text messaging is taken to a new level as you can talk to your mobile in a natural way using everyday language instead of predefined commands.  The result is a much more intuitive and fun user experience.

Despite the increase in voice activated SMS there is strong competition challenging the short message service, such as WhatsApp and Skype which are free services. However, if Natural Language technology together with ASR was developed to its full potential for this purpose I think the SMS will have an amazing journey ahead.

Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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