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Group Messaging - The Inevitable Destruction of $100 Billion in SMS revenue and Why We Should Embrace It

Tom Katis, CEO, RebelVox

Date: Monday, June 27

Time: 10:00 - 10:15 AM

Location: Salon E

Category: Products & Services

A critical mass of smart phones has led to an explosion of new communication apps. Group Messaging has been one of the hottest, yet a clear winner hasn't emerged yet. Group Messaging apps offer a dramatically better experience and broader set of capabilities compared to SMS and MMS. They can offer group text, pictures, audio messages, live voice, video and location. They can use Facebook Connect and other strategies to become woven into today's social web. They can evolve dynamically because they are not tied to a particular network technology. With Apple's recent launch of iMessage and Facebook's acquisition of Beluga the space is heating up. Will there be only one winner, or is there room for multiple? What will it take to win the Group Messaging war?

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  • Great hindsight now

  • Apple and Facebook have validated the group messaging market, however things are going to get very exciting soon as smartphone users are expected to skyrocket from 250 million to 1 billion in the next 1-2 years. 

    Apple has the strongest base with over 38 million iOS users and ability to push iMessage to all users through their own OS. Integration with their OS and existing text messaging application will be a huge advantage, allowing them instantly to sign on a large number of users.

    Facebook's Beluga has been languishing since being acquired, with slow response times and unreliable app performance. However, Facebook with over 700 million users is not to be overlooked. Integration into their own Facebook app, could open the user base immediately to the hundreds of millions of users who already access Facebook via mobile. 

    However, the market is not without upstarts like Foxfly, GroupMe, Yobongo, and others. In the near future these platforms will continue their rapid growth as free text messaging applications, because they are cross-platform and also offer free SMS service. However in the long-term these services will need to evolve into social networks or provide an additional edge to differentiate from utility like group messaging services that Facebook and Apple will provide. 

    Foxfly is already taking such an approach with soon to be released Foxfly Pro, a group messaging app targeted a business networkers. Foxfly Pro is like a local LinkedIn, allowing you to view business profiles of people nearby, swap business cards and connect, 1-to-1 or in groups. Its like bringing a networking cocktail event online. 

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