Wednesday, 17 June 2009

SMS: Information, MisInformation, Emergency and Spam

The other day someone pointed out that the number of SMS send per day globally is 2 Trillion. I said, surely this cant be true. The population of the world is somewhere around 7 Billion mark. If we assume that everyone uses the phone and sends 1 message per day than that is still 7 Billion messages, 2 Trillion cant possibly be true.

According to a post earlier, 1 Trillion messages were sent in 2008, compared to 363 Billion in 2007. Thats between 3 and 3.5 Billion per day. We may have to wait probably just couple of years before we see 1 Trillion messages per day (assuming the Networks can cope with this amount of SMS's). The reason for sharp rise in the number would be due to various factors.

The first reason being Spam. China is already facing SMS Spam problems. Its becoming such a nuisance that the operators are considering limiting the number of SMS to a max. of 200 messages per hour and 1000 per day. On holidays, 500 and 2000 respectively. I am not sure if Spammers use phones, rather there are many websites allowing bulk messaging facilities. Many companies are also offering power texting facilities that allows big bundles for minimal pricing. The average price being 1 cent per SMS or even cheaper.

Another reason that we should not forget is the introduction of many QWERTY phones that is making life of texters easier. There is some debate as to whether its having good or bad impact on the teens but I think its the health problems we should be worried about more than anything else. Its just matter of time when you get a new phone, there will be a caution note saying: "Caution: Text messaging can seriously harm your health. It can cause sore thumbs, cause sleeping disorders, anxiety and in some cases depression. Please click on I Accept if you would like to use it at your own risk" :)

Deciphering teen text messages is an art in itself. I blogged about it earlier but things change faster than you can anticipate. LG have launched a DTXTR service that can help you decipher your teen text messages. I tried few codes and it failed miserably. I suppose for these kinds of services, one more thing you need is to know the location of the users. Same code word can mean different thing in different countries/states. Webopedia has a very detailed list of these abbreviations.

Finally, I have always wondered why emergency services dont allow SMS. If I am in a bank being robbed, its safer to send a text rather than call and speak to an operator. Good news is that, its already being tested in the US. This should complement the eCall feature in future.