The smartphone is increasingly becoming the engagement platform of choice for consumers, which puts businesses on a constant hunt for ways to facilitate mobile interactions in meaningful ways.
It’s a familiar story, but certainly not a simple one. From an SMS starting point, what’s next? An over-the-top (OTT) business messaging app like Apple Business Chat or WhatsApp Business, Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging, or both?
Since its founding in 2008, that’s the sort of question that cloud-based mobile customer engagement provider CLX Communications has been grappling with for its enterprise business. The company name, as number aficionados may have realized, is the roman numeral for 160 -- and that, as Robert Gerstmann, co-founder and chief evangelist, reminded me in a recent No Jitter briefing, is the character count for an SMS message.
But CLX’s enterprise services extend well beyond SMS today, to include voice and video communications services (via the late 2016 acquisition of Sinch) and personalization (via the spring 2018 acquisition of Vehicle), Gerstmann said. And so the company this week announced that it has ditched its former name in favor of something that more accurately and immediately depicts its current offerings and mission -- that being Sinch.
Sinch encapsulates the notion of simplicity and ease, which are guiding principles for the company, Gerstmann said. Plus, it’s “urban English,” a readily recognizable word around the world that “encompasses all we do.” The rebranding, he added, “is not so much a shift in strategy as a way of emphasizing the trajectory we’re on.”
As evidenced in its decision to bring Vehicle into the fold, as well as in offerings such as number masking, Sinch is pursuing a strategy of adding logic on top of its communications channels to extend their usefulness, Gerstmann said. The Vehicle service integrates with CRM systems to enable delivery of personalized videos, SMS messages, and rich media for more engaging interactions, while number masking allows anonymized calling such as in use by ride-sharing services. "That's where we're spending our development dollars -- on that upper layer."
Between OTT apps and RCS, companies have opportunities to deliver rich app-like experiences in a messaging client, Gerstmann said. "We foresee many brands over time, once these are into full penetration, shift investments from apps to messaging."
Sinch, of course, is not alone in its desire to be the mobile engagement platform of choice as the evolution unfolds. Gerstmann characterized the market as a “melting pot,” with offerings available from messaging companies like Sinch, cloud communications players, API platform providers, and carriers. Which service a company buys from which vendor will depend on the use case and geography, he said, in a nod to the broad scope of opportunities in rich business messaging.
But again, that’s simpler said than done. Enterprises will have to carefully consider their options and weigh their risk exposure. And that’s something we’ll be providing guidance on at Enterprise Connect 2019, coming the week of March 18 to Orlando, Fla., in a session titled “Getting Your Arms Around Mobile Messaging Integration.” Michael Finneran, our go-to mobile expert, will present the lay of the land and oversee a discussion among executives in the thick of things at Sinch (from Vehicle), Google, Smooch, and Infinite Convergence. And if you’d like to hear more about Sinch products in particular, look for the company on the Expo floor, booth 2227.
If you haven’t made your Enterprise Connect plans yet, register using the code NJPOSTS to save $200 off the current rate.