Text messaging sometimes seems like a relatively new phenomenon, but the reality is ‘text messages’ have been around for centuries. The history of text goes back to early telegraph networks, and more complex telex ‘texting’ networks that emerged in the 1930s, revealing important early forerunners to the connected technologies of today.

Communication service providers (CSPs) today must wrestle with a growing volume of SMS and messaging-related customer data, with some analysis showing the number of text messages growing an estimated 7,700% in the decade to 2016. Traditional SMS is now complemented by myriad internet messaging services, with message platform WhatsApp alone delivering around 100 billion messages a day

Understanding the fascinating evolution of text messaging reveals the foundations of this high-volume modern landscape, offering some valuable insights for CSPs looking to leverage the transformative power of technology to drive enterprise opportunities. 

The evolution of text services

The pioneering advent of technology-driven text communication emerged in the 19th century, with famous inventor Samuel Morse (of Morse Code fame) revolutionizing long-distance communication with his telegraph device. 

While today we struggle with the pressures of globally connected intercommunication, the telegraph was a more simple beast. Telegraph worked by transmitting electrical signals along telegraph wires. The messages were coded to fit the simple transmission format of the system, then decoded by skilled operators at the other end. This simple system was to transform communication over a distance.

Of course innovation never stands still, something we know a little bit about at Neural Technologies. Yet despite the emergence of a fantastical new device called the telephone in the decades to follow, telegraph played an important part in communication for nearly a century.

In the 1930s a new iteration of this communication innovation was to emerge, with the design of complex integrated telex services. Telex services appeared in the UK, Europe, and US in the 1930s-1950s, offering a new era of connected communication. 

Telex created a dial-up ‘texting’ network that enabled the transmission and delivery of more complex printed messages and data between subscribers. It offered international connectivity, providing a precursor to the instant messaging expectations of our modern landscape.

The system utilized a similar electronic signalling system as the original telegraph. A message was converted into a low-bit-rate electrical signal, that was then transmitted across the network to be received by the designated destination number.

Automation was to transform this service further, with the UK Telex Network piloting automated exchanges in the 1950s. More comprehensive automation was introduced over following decades, as computing technologies offered increasingly sophisticated solutions to previously manual processes. 

 

Adaptive solutions for an evolving landscape

It’s over 150 years since the first ‘texts’ were sent, with telegrams and telex messages representing important precursors of the connected opportunities we take for granted with our modern communication landscape. 

The first ever text message from a Short Message Service (SMS) was sent in 1992, simply reading ‘Merry Christmas’. In the US alone the volume of text messages exploded from 12.5 million per month in 2006 to over 781 billion by 2017. Internet messenger services have seen the volume of message communications expand even further over the past decade. 

This remarkable communication revolution reflects both a huge challenge, and substantial opportunity for CSPs. It’s a rich data lake of potential customer insight, helping improve operations, enhance efficiency, and boost customer service and satisfaction.

The advanced orchestration solutions of Neural Technologies’ Optimus Platform allows CSPs to integrate requests from multiple sources, triggered by customers through touch points such as SMS, alongside mobile apps, webpages, USSD, or other systems. 

The Neural Technologies’ orchestration solution offers an efficient, effective platform to orchestrate diverse business logic, offering a fully automated end-to-end processing environment. That powerful automated opportunity reflects the evolution of telex systems, as sophisticated technologies provide increasingly cost-effective and powerful solutions for CSPs. 

SMS and messaging services also offer a valuable automated solution for customer contact in time-critical areas such as fraud solutions. Neural Technologies has integrated automated alerts through SMS into fraud provision for numerous partners, providing a quick, efficient, automated communication pathway that helps CSPs quickly tackle fraud events. 

The high volume of customer SMS and messages also creates remarkable challenges for identifying fraudulent activity. Neural Technologies’ automated machine learning solutions can rapidly adapt and identify anomalous behavior, providing critical protection against SMS fraud.

The evolution of telegraph and telex systems shows the power of technology to transform our world. It also reveals the fundamental value of human communication, and the importance of ensuring those systems are safe, secure, and robust. Artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions from Neural Technologies’ Optimus Platform provide a powerful and rapidly scalable solution that can enable CSP partners in that landscape.