Monday, February 27, 2006

History Repeats itself .. .

Nice Article ... read a part here ... link at the end ...

How long will SMS last? Will anything significantly different replace it? This article examines an old technology that is surprisingly similar to SMS. History does repeat.

Once upon a time, major service providers around the world introduced a short message service allowing people to send multiple messages to each other for a nominal fixed fee. Typically the message space was small, and as a result people invented methods to deal with this by cramming in as much information as possible using shorthand, acronyms and restricted grammar. It became very popular, creating upgrades to services infrastructure, and employing additional people, all despite the fact that people were already using the same service provider to communicate with each other using similar services. Sounds familiar?

So far this story could be about SMS, but in fact we are talking about the arrival of the humble postcard. The postcard was a major innovation of John P Charleton who patented the first private postcard in 1861 in Philadelphia, USA, and after 10 years it had been introduced in a number of countries around the world. Postcards became wildly popular in ways and for reasons that are strangely similar to SMS and MMS based services. In fact, the more you dig into postcard history the more you can see how postcard services had a very similar extended marketing mix to contemporary mobile phone messaging services.

Most people believe all products have a lifecycle and postcards haven't been immune from this. Studying history might help answer what is the lifecycle of SMS or MMS.

By the early 1900's postcards were enjoying a golden age of popularity. Around this time, the camera had been invented, mass picture printing had improved and all of this saw the introduction of picture postcards which only added to the popularity of postcards. The first "MMS" became available! More interestingly, cameras became cheap enough to allow people to begin manufacturing their own picture postcards creating the opportunity for people to send the equivalent of MMS messages, and the service providers enjoyed increased income from carrying these special postcards, which allowed for more complex multimedia messages to be sent. The "camera phone" had been invented.

Life take a full circle !!

... shooOOonya ...

1 comment:

  1. I still send post cards. I type them with my old electric typewriter, and send them to my friends who have major illnesses - sometimes 1/day sometimes 1/week. It's neat to get something via post, and though I use modern messaging to some extent, I think there will be a place for post cards [or the like] for quite a while. It will be interesting to see the "next step."