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E-BUSINESS : Business leading with text messages.

Businesses are starting to overtake consumers in driving the SMS market, according to new research from mobile phone firm O2.

It said SMS traffic data in May 2005 showed that users have grown across all segments but business use growth has edged in front of consumers for the first time ever with business traffic increasing by 14.6 per cent compared to 14.5 per cent for consumers.

UK SMS growth is the first in a series of reports from the O2 business trending index, which has been created to understand and monitor core business trends, including the use of technology, changing business practices, and other key social, cultural and economic indices defining UK business behaviour.

Compiled on an ongoing basis, the index is based on research and feedback from a number of quantitative and qualitative data sources, including over one million O2 SME business customers, the O2 Arena X Club and a number of independent analyst houses and think tanks.

Communicating with friends and families by text has long been established as a valuable ommunication tool and the consumer SMS market has shown massive growth in recent years, often with spikes of traffic over seasonal occasions such as New Year's Eve and Valentines Day.

Business SMS, however, looks set to show more consistent and steady growth as more and more employees across the UK adopt SMS as a viable communication option.

In 2000, the Mobile Data Association found that 19 million messages were sent daily. In February 2005, that figure had reached an average of 75 million a day, a massive increase that can be attributed in part to increasing take up of SMS for business purposes. Peter Rampling, head of SME marketing at O2, said: 'What we are seeing is that SMS is moving up the communications hierarchy within business. 'Increasingly, businesses are finding that texting is the perfect way to communicate essential information when calling a client or supplier is either not convenient or not possible. 'Sending an SMS is quick, discreet and easy and messages can be delivered in seconds. SMS is ideal when you are in transit, in a taxi or on a train to confirm meeting details, give short instructions or project updates.

'Historically, consumers have always driven SMS growth sending messages between friends and family. 'Now we are seeing significant take up from businesses deploying SMS services as colleagues, suppliers and contractors use text to communicate throughout the working day
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 28, 2005
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