Combining dots and dashes, Samuel Morse is believed to have sent the first telegram in 1844. A little more than 50 years later, the technology had evolved to the point where Queen Victoria was using it.
Fast forward to 2014, and telegraph technology has mostly gone by the wayside. In fact, last year, India—the last country using the technology en masse—announced it would cease all telegram operations. (The United States shut down its telegraph service in 2006.)
The old technology was no match for the digital world.
As time passes, different forms of communication displace their predecessors. Think about the smartphone you likely have nearby compared to the cell phone you had just 10 years ago.
Because of the way mobile instant messaging meshes with today’s fast-paced business world—short messages can be sent and received quickly—it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that two-thirds of businesses are using the technology, according to recent research.
We expect that number to keep increasing to the point where email loses its place in the enterprise. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five reasons why, in the near future, mobile instant messaging will eliminate a preponderance of emails—if not all of them—in the enterprise:
- With new collaboration apps, you can now attach files to your instant messages. Whether collaborating with co-workers or external business partners, you need the ability to send documents back and forth. For years, that functionality was part of the allure of email. Now, thanks to the emergence of a variety of new collaboration apps and unified communications tools, businesses are able to send files as attachments through their instant messaging platforms or collaborate together on a document that’s stored in the cloud.
- Mobile instant messaging as your primary communications tool eliminates spam. Do you have a problem with getting spammed at work? You’re not alone. In fact, recent research indicates that almost 100 billion spam messages are sent each day, so it’s safe to say that most inboxes are flooded with spam regularly. Unified communications tools and other collaboration apps let you choose your contacts, so you don’t have to worry about unwanted messages when you decide to use these kinds of platforms.
- Millennials grew up with instant messaging. Today, one out of every three employees in the United States is a millennial. By 2025, it’s expected that three-quarters of the world’s workforce will be part of this generation. Having grown up with the technology, studies have shown that millennials prefer the instant gratification of texting and instant messaging over the delayed communication that comes with email. Instant messaging is second nature to millennials, so you can’t reasonably expect to prevent them from communicating that way. Instead, you should create an environment that caters to their need for quick communication.
- The fewer interfaces to toggle among, the better. The more interfaces you have to toggle among during a search, the more frustrating and time-consuming the hunt can become. Because documents can now be sent over instant messages and other collaborative applications, what utility does email serve? The argument could be made that email is becoming just another interface that employees have to interact with—and an unnecessary one, at that.
- Today, businesses need to embrace mobility to succeed. In today’s mobile world, employees are constantly on the go, whether they’re headed to the airport to fly to a conference or traveling across town to meet a client. As such, businesses that embrace mobility are putting their employees in a position to succeed in today’s fast-paced business world. While some business communications certainly require more attention, a majority of the questions we have at work are ones that can be answered quickly. Mobile instant messaging technology caters to that precise reality.
Understandably, there are still a lot of kinks to work out as more businesses migrate toward mobile instant messaging. After all, business communications are critical and sensitive. Because of that, companies need to ensure that the business-related instant messages sent by their employees are protected and traceable.
In any case, those policies will be developed over time. In the meanwhile, it will be interesting to watch mobile instant messaging overtake email as the primary form of business communication.
Did you ever think that would happen? Now that instant messaging appears to be on its way to dominating business communication, you can’t help but wonder what technology will emerge to displace it. After all, like the telegram—and the fax machine, the home phone and the picture phone—it is only a matter of time before instant messaging is supplanted as well. But not foreseeable future!