Last week, WhatsApp, a mobile instant messaging app announced that it had hit a daily message record of 10 billion messages a day. Those are enormous figures and they may offer the first insight into future online and mobile communication. WhatsApp is, of course, not designed for business but it has the potential to rival many services that are.
Mobile Instant Messaging is Growing in Popularity
What the figures tell us is that people, literally billions worldwide, are using a service that is built purely on mobile instant messaging. WhatsApp, and similar services is so successful because it does the things that users want instant messaging to do. It’s quick, simple and efficient; and as a rival to standard text messaging it offers the added bonus of having no cost per message. Just like the current leader in mobile instant messaging, BBM.
The service isn’t designed for businesses, but the instant messaging requirements for businesses are quite similar to those mentioned above. It also offers group messages, a basic requirement for business instant messaging. It has some file sharing options, that would need to be beefed up for business but the basics are there.
Mobile Instant Messaging Offers Worldwide, Cross-Platform Communication
The great thing about WhatsApp is its penetration across mobile devices. Pretty much any mobile device can operate it. There are even unofficial online versions of it that run on tablet devices. Which means users of all sorts of devices, all over the world, can communicate as long as they have an Internet connection.
This gives a clear advantage over BBM, freeing users from the BlackBerry. There are other services, some more suited to business, like AIM mobile, that offer similar levels of flexibility but they don’t have the worldwide penetration in the non-business market that WhatsApp has achieved.
Leveraging a popular mobile instant messaging service like WhatsApp, or Skype or Viber, could be huge in business. It could allow staff and clients to communicate using the same service across servers, platforms and continents.
The more popular an instant messaging service becomes, the more adaptable it is, the closer it will get to being a genuine business tool. It’s a possibility all businesses should consider. Especially considering the implications for security and archiving of instant messaging.