Since Skype now has SMS support, and since other easy to SMS interfaces now abound in the Web world I'm finding Paul Ruppert's post about Text Messaging very timely and thought provoking.
While for years various modalities of messaging have been Balkanized islands (IM, SMS, EMAIL, etc.) and where interoperability only now starting to really appear in some form or fashion we see a lot of new companies on the horizon who all have their own spin on short form voice messaging.
With services like Twitter, Jaiku and others now exporting hybrid IM/SMS type communications to the mobile world and SMS becoming two way back to PC we're heading towards realizing the POTENTIAL of unified message delivery. But I say potential because of all the following hurdles:
1. Need to be on one delivery standard (i.e. SMS) vs. each service having their own format
2. Need for universal carrier acceptance of standard and a revenue and settlement model
3. Need for standard device interface that will work on PDAs, mobile phones and keyboard based PC's and UMPCs.
While I still find it hilarious that we have to have multiple IM clients running to stay in touch with all of our friends and colleagues, I am more concerned that unless interoperability is addressed early on we will have choices that perpetuate division, not uniformity.
With each new client my agency adds, we find that different platforms are used to interact with the teams for a variety of reasons. The same approach rings true with the people we all reach out to who are part of our circle of contacts. When you add in all the new so called "social media" communication tools that Ruppert mentions the multiplicity makes me think of needing a Michael Keaton like creation. Each tool works on its own and is a closed society. We need more open and cross network tools out there. The concept of a switch board is needed for the same reason the ITU made it possible to call internationally without operators. When this all happens, then Ruppert's position really grabs hold.
Add in voice SMS or Voice Messaging and even more does this reasoning sound on the mark.
I think Ruppert's assessment is right and look forward to his follow up post.
Update--> Mark Evans has a similar riff on the same idea in a similar vein.