Yeah, the tune is playing in my head. Video Killed the Radio Star. But in this case, it's Apple's iMessage service that's killing the SMS cash cow. For those of you haven't experienced it yet, check out this picture.
It's my riding buddy Joe sending me a text message, or in this case, an iMessage. The blue box is the giveaway -- it came over Apple's texting service, not AT&T's SMS service. It's "free." That is, it travels over the Internet, not the SMS network, and it's free on Wi-Fi or included in my wireless data plan. And while I have unlimited texting, I do pay $30/month for the family plan, about $0.10/message last month. (I know, some of you text so much that it's probably a penny a message or less.)
So, let's do the math:
100 million iOS users.
Sending 50 messages a month to another iOS user. (iOS users move in packs.)
Each person pays for the SMS message, so that's 100 messages per person.
Each SMS message costs (let's say) $0.05.
So 100,000,000 iOS users x 100 iMessages/month x $0.05/message = $500,000,000/month.
Said another way, that's $6B taken out of the SMS value chain by the iOS iMessage service every year. Then there's the BlackBerry Messenger service for inter-BlackBerry messages. And the Magic SMS app for iPhone and Android. And probably a hundred other SMS alternatives that I'll never know about. Add it all up, and 10 billion dollars in SMS value (not revenue) could be siphoned off to the wireless data market in 2013.
The machines created this mess; let them clean it up.
On the one hand, enterprises need to make ever more content available in multiple languages. As I noted in my last post on translation, the drivers include the flood of content generated online (much of it created by consumers), the growing importance of business in emerging markets, and the desire to enable global collaboration among employees. On the other hand, advances in machine translation and new approaches such as crowdsourcing are making translation ever faster and less expensive. This is no fortunate coincidence: The very computing dynamics that enabled the Web and especially Web 2.0 -- rapid increases in processor speed, cheap storage, and high-speed networks, combined with social technologies -- also empower the latest technology-based solutions to translation and localization.
What it means (WIM): Computers have allowed us to create a problem that only computers can help solve.
This is the first of an irregular series of blog posts on how technical advances, new solution paradigms, and evolving client needs are changing translation services and providers (TSPs). I'll begin by offering a select glossary of some of the unfamiliar terms end users encounter when they begin to investigate translation services.
MT: Machine Translation, which simply means the use of computing technologies and software to assist with the translation of content (usually text, but voice recognition is of growing importance) from one language ("the source") to another ("the target"). Machine translation takes two primary forms, namely:
A specter is haunting the enterprise -- the specter of email. Where is the knowledge worker who has not felt the oppressive weight of email overload? Where is the business leader who has not complained bitterly of the wastefulness and productivity drain?
Two things result from this situation:
I. Email is depicted as a disease that must be eradicated, or a foe to be defeated.
II. Vendors and consultants offer fever reducers, defensive tactics, and visions of a utopian future free of email.
Last week the English language news sites were atwitter (in both senses) with the announcement by Atos CEO Thierry Breton that the French technology company intends to ban internal email usage among its 74,000 employees within 18 months. Perhaps thanks to my last blog post on email, The Independent called for an interview on "the death of email." The BBC did a radio debate, but obstinately refused to change their programming to accommodate my schedule.