Tuesday, 5 June 2007

SMS 2.0 and beyond

The future of SMS services was the subject of a talk by Jeff Wilson, Chairman of Telsis as well as Andrew Tobin, Head of Messaging Platforms at O2 UK.

Seemed supplier and client were singing from the same hymn sheet, although I think was a by product of a shared vision rather than something more orchestrated.

The thrust was that advanced SMS services were restricted by the current SMS delivery architecture.

When an SMS is sent the local network SMSC looks up the current location of the handset in the operator's HLR (Hardware Location Register) the message is sent directly via the host network MSC (Mobile Switch Centre) and not by the subscribers' network SMSC. A message sent to a O2 subscriber from another network would never be seen by the O2 SMSC.

While this could be desirable from a load distribution point of view, it means there is a set of advanced services that cannot be offered because not all the mssages (around 40% apparently) pass through the messaging platform. These services could include:

  • Copy or audit trail recording for business compliance purposes
  • SPAM and other desirable message filtering, eg bullying
  • Auto response services like email Out of Office attendants

The vision is to patch the HLR to always return the home network's SMSC and have this reference a local rules database to enact the appropriate functionality.

I think this is great stuff. It will take a while, changes to operators networks always do, but it has some awesome potential. The question is, will the operators give 3rd parties access to this functionality and allow some real innovation in SMS services to develop?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting subject..

I've designed many solutions to deal with this issue.. and there are some excellent vendors out there that do this..

SMS home routing is not really about the patching of the HLR, the real trick is the processing of hlt queries that arrive from foriegn networks.. caching them and returning a fake MSC address.
when the MT message arrives we can validate its authenticity (beat phishing) and also decide where to forward to the real VLR(MSC) or process it another way.

again with convergence operators will have to respect the consumers need for multi presence and multidevice.