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Businesses start to text, and problems emerge

Nova Safo Nov 10, 2014
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In the Internet age, the line “I didn’t get your text” has a real “The dog ate my homework”-feel to it. But it’s also the truth for some Android users who are not getting messages sent from iPhones.

Those messages, sent to those who switched to an Android phone from an iPhone, was sometimes getting caught up in something of a iMessage black hole, because newly-Android phone numbers were stuck in their previous iMessage ecosystem.

“Anecdotally, I’ve experienced it with my wife’s friends,” says Wayne Lam, a senior analyst at Telecom Electronics.

Now, Apple has a website where you can delist your phone number from iMessage. But the fix comes long after anecdotes surfaced of not only lost personal texts, but of the bug causing problems for businesses.

Scott Irwin with Rembrandt Venture Partners, which focuses its investments on enterprise and business technologies, sees a growing trend in businesses adopting texts as an integral part of their daily operations.

“We think that the timing is good, and the need is very real,” says Irwin. “Employees… use various texting platforms in their personal lives, and that tends to bleed over into their professional lives as well, so this is creating the problem and therefore the opportunity.”

Irwin says employees are adopting consumer texting services for business use, which can have all kinds of problematic implications from the stand point of confidentiality, information security and compliance issues.

A number of services are now vying for the business texting market to help solve those problems. And anlysts there may be a shake-out coming among texting providers, as the business world increasingly adapts to the technology.

Meanwhile, companies are also looking at texting as an important tool in how they communicate with customers. 

Airlines are a perfect example, when they send text alerts with changed flight information, says independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan.

“Some businesses are really moving into this aggressively. And other competitors in the same space are not,” says Kagan. “But over the course of the next several years, as other companies start to implement it themselves… then, you’ve got to use it or you’re in a disadvantage.”

“We’re in the early stages of seeing this form of communication become a real productivity tool,” says Lam, who adds that there are now a lot of companies entering the field.  

More texts from Nova and Dave.

More texts from Nova and Dave.

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