Technology

The growth of mobile messaging and automated text messages: Control Shift

Andrew Sadauskas /

Would it be handy to receive a text message from your oven notifying you that your dinner’s ready?

How about the ability to use a text message to instruct your air conditioner to switch itself on before you get home?

Earlier this week, LG revealed it will give users the ability to add their appliances as contacts to selected mobile messaging apps, including What’sApp.

After adding an appliance as a contact, you will be able to send it instructions as a text message, while the appliance can send you notifications as a message. 

The home electronics giant hopes the new feature will help set its products apart in an increasingly crowded marketplace. As Chinese manufacturers flood western markets with low-cost whitegoods, LG hopes smart technology will help to set its product offering apart.

The big question, however, is whether this is a feature anyone will actually bother to use.

LG’s new messaging feature comes at the intersection of two major emerging trends in tech. The first is the growth of smart appliances, which I’ve discussed previously. The second is the rapid growth of mobile messaging services.

The rise of mobile messaging

The rapid growth of messaging apps is a trend that should come as little surprise to anyone.

A growing number of consumers are realising that paying a mobile carrier 25 cents per SMS text message is a waste when the same functionality – or more – can be achieved through an app.

Meanwhile, social media is not an adequate alternative by itself. After all, there are some conversations you probably don’t want to share with everyone on your Twitter feed.

Mobile messaging apps, including What’sApp, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Apple iMessage, BlackBerry Messenger, Kakato Talk and SnapChat, fill this void.

Of course, the concept of instant messaging is far from new. Long-time internet users will no doubt remember ICQ, AIM or MSN Messenger, while information superhighway veterans will remember cutting their teeth on IRC.

A trend to watch closely

The growing use of modern, mobile versions of these instant messaging services is a trend businesses should watch closely. It could very well emerge that, like social media, mobile messaging becomes an effective way for businesses to communicate with their customers.

It could well be that, aside from having a contact list with friends, relatives and colleagues, many users decide to add companies they deal with regularly – or even their home appliances.

Of course, this all brings us back to the big question – would you use a text message to instruct your air conditioner to switch itself on before you get home?

Now excuse me, I just got an automated text message from the oven – my dinner is ready.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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