As 2015 draws to a close, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back at the news and events that affected businesses and the mobile industry over the past year. It hasn’t just been a big year for Textlocal, 2015 has seen mobile influenced developments across the entire world – not surprising now that mobile phones outnumber people. Here are some of our highlights.
Instant Messaging under threat
As parliament debated the controversial ‘Snooper’s Charter’ this year, Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear that should the Bill be passed then encrypted messaging services would be banned in the UK. In a move designed to stop potential terrorists from communicating without surveillance, Over The Top (OTT) messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat would be unable to operate in the UK unless they change their encryption.
Whilst the bill has been blocked for now, the discussion adds a new perspective to the debate about the potential of such apps to replace SMS as the messaging choice for businesses. With a revised version of the bill proposed in November, could we see a drastic change in the mobile landscape in 2016?
Missed appointments in the NHS
In July, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested implementing fines for patients who missed their appointments with NHS services, in an attempt to reduce the huge £1billion pounds that are lost to missed appointments every year. Whilst this idea seems to have been dropped for the time being, hospitals and healthcare services around the country have been testing out appointment reminder texts to try and save time and money, and so far it’s been working.
Not only have SMS reminders proved to be effective in reducing the number of appointments that are missed, but research shows that receiving the reminders via a text is preferred by the majority of Brits. With NHS budgets increasingly squeezed, will text message reminders become the new standard in 2016?
Those of us young enough to have had mobile phones when we were in school will remember learning to text without looking at the screen so that we could chat surreptitiously without the teachers looking. This could now be a thing of the past, as schools start to embrace using mobile phones in the classroom.
Not only are schools in Finland starting to teach touch-typing and texting instead of the traditional handwriting lessons, but researchers have found that texting in class could actually improve student learning. On top of this, texting could reduce truancy and improve course completion rates – something we’ve known for a while as some of our customers do exactly that.
With the Information Commissioner’s Office receiving over 175,000 complaints about nuisance calls and texts in 2014, the Government granted them new powers to fine companies who breach their guidelines.
The ICO no longer have to prove that the messages caused “substantial damage or distress” in order take action against offenders, meaning that the imposed fines will stick and we may soon see a reduction in “sim farms” and SMS spam. It’s difficult for legitimate businesses to come across as a spammer, but if you’d like some advice on how to stay compliant, download our free guide “Swimming Against the Spam”.
SMS might not be the newest technology on the mobile circuit, but there have been some technological innovations this year that have brought it back into the news. From the simple applications, like a carbon monoxide alarm that triggers SMS updates, to the complex and bizarre, like high-tech hair extensions that allow you to send a text just by stroking them, 2015 has seen SMS be integrated into a wide range of technologies.
Perhaps the most reported on cases involve technologies developed to assist in healthcare – one of our favourites is a Swedish app, which texts people trained in CPR when someone has a heart attack nearby. Tests have shown that use of the app led to heart attack victims receiving assistance from trained volunteers before paramedics could arrive 62% of the time – so 2016 could see mobile save lives.
So much has happened this year that it’s been hard for us to pick just a few news stories, but it goes to show that mobile plays a bigger part in our lives than we might think. Watch this space throughout 2016 to keep updated on the latest and greatest in the mobile technology world.