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CommonTime Enterprise Mobility Blog

[Interview] Exploring the Future of Messaging as a  Platform

From simple SMS to feature-rich IM applications and even collaboration enabling tools - the concept of a message has evolved as technology has improved. Now, businesses must look at how to incorporate messaging services into core processes in order to unlock new efficiences, whether this is peer-to-peer or M2M.

Ultimately, a message is simply the process of moving information from one place to another, whether that is between people, between databases or independent systems. By integrating back-office systems into a single messaging platform, it is possible to utilise bots to automate previously complex business processes. In this three minute interview, CommonTime's Edward Connolly discusses the future of messaging as a platform.

Read the full transcript from our interview with Ed below.

The Importance of Defining a Message

Messaging is about passing pieces of information from one system to another. At CommonTime, we use a protocol called XMPP - which is well established and used by the likes of Facebook & Whatsapp for sending millions of messages every day.

A XMPP server acts a bit like a router, taking messages that have been sent and forwarding them onto the correct recipient. A typical server may also have extra features such as chatrooms, support for mobile push notifications and presence indicators (which show who is online at any given time). So it's more than just a system for sending messages from A to B - there is added value on top of that.

With XMPP, we can build any sort of application. It's not just about 'chat', although that is a really good use case of the technology. Essentially, any device can send a message to any other device on the network. That message could be plain text or it could be structured data that is relevant to the application which is being built.

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"Messaging is about more than chat - a message can be either plain text or structured application data."

When people receive a message, the application is then capable of sending back responses that are either displayed on the screen of the sender or collated together and presented in the form of reports, dashboards and other items that may be of benefit to the business. This data can then be used to make decisions in pretty much real-time.

A real world example of where we can see a change in communication strategy this fits into is healthcare. There's a real benefit to be gained here. Currently, pager systems are still heavily relied upon within the NHS - despite shortfalls in the technology. Commonly reported problems include the limitations of short range networks, unreliable responsiveness and the issue of working out what a message means. It takes time to read and understand a page before taking action on it.

The Advantages of XMPP

From a sender's point of view, they need to know which messages have been received, by whom and when. At the moment, that can be a real challenge - but is achievable with XMPP.

So, where are we heading? In the future, we should be looking to tie together our existing IT systems - combining them so that they all speak the same language. With that level of integration, aligned with a messaging platform, information can be sent to anybody, when they need it. You could even create bots that automate business processes.

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"Messaging platforms are capable of hosting bots that automate previously complex processes."

Once systems are set up and able to communicate with each other, we can send any piece of information to whoever needs it, whenever they need it. We can automate such things as well with bots, just on the back of a message being sent. 

At CommonTime, we have a huge amount of experience integrating with back-end databases, CRMs etc. bringing all of these items together to create a single, powerful system. By creating such integration into a messaging platform, we can completely transform the communication within an organisation.

Read CommonTime's guidelines and best practices for developing an internal communications strategy in this free whitepaper.

Best Practices for Developing an Internal Communications Strategy

Posted by Chris Martin

Chris is a digital marketer who strongly believes in the power of creating memorable customer experiences. He proactively drives digital strategy and content production at CommonTime.