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By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-05-05 Print this article Print

: SMS as killer app platform?"> The Telenor service demonstrates the power of the argument IBM engineer Wes Biggs put forward last year in an article for IBM developerWorks called "Smart and Simple Messaging: Discover the hidden potential of SMS as a killer app builder." "Like e-mail, SMS isnt sexy," Biggs wrote. "It isnt debonair by nature, nor can it be dressed up in fancy clothes. If youve got an SMS-enabled phone and a message arrives, youll see the message that was sent, no more, no less. It can be tough, therefore, to envision SMS as the foundation of a killer app. But building a killer app has less to do with sexiness than with providing a valuable service." Reagan Ramsey, executive vice president of media development at Telenor Mobile Interactive, told that the companys chief challenge in deploying the service in the United States was negotiating billing and financial reconciliation with the telecoms. "We had to go to all the carriers and get them to agree to have us be an in-between party between them and the broadcaster, and we also had to get them to let us have access to their billing platform," Ramsey said. The service is now available on Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, and T-Mobile. Anyone with text messaging capabilities built into their mobile device—and thats most of us—can use it.
For broadcasters, having a potential installed base of millions represents a ready-made pipeline into the very audience theyre attempting to engage—young mobiles with cell phones and messaging devices appended to their hands.
Ramsey said SMS services are "starting to be very significant here in the U.S." For broadcasters, he said, "this becomes a revenue-generating activity" that complements their core business. Next page: More services on the way

Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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