Australian company called Soprano Design deserves to be much better known. Based in North Sydney, it has been around for 20 years and provides mobile messaging technology for network carriers and enterprise customers worldwide. It is the premier enterprise messaging partner for Telstra, and is a strategic partner to 15 mobile network operators around the world, including AT&T in the US, EE in the UK and Starhub in Singapore.
Soprano’s enterprise messaging products provide secure A2P (application to person) text messaging for in-house applications. “Consumer messaging is declining, but enterprise messaging is booming,” Soprano Design CEO Horden Wiltshire told iTWire.
“We have reached an inflection point. More and more enterprises are looking to the technology to enable a range of mission critical processes that they simply cannot entrust to consumer messaging products. No-one can trust their business to WhatsApp.”
The company has now released Soprano Gamma, which it describes as an enterprise-grade mobile messaging that is highly secure and provides the world's first integrated application that delivers IP-based interactive messaging while uniquely preserving SMS capabilities for last-mile coverage.
“One of the central challenges for enterprise mobile messaging isn't to replace SMS, but to find a way to provide a feature-packed, multimedia and secure IP-enabled experience without excluding those users who have to use SMS,” said Wiltshire. “Gamma helps businesses make an orderly transition from SMS to a rich multimedia IP-based messaging experience without sacrificing the reach that only SMS provides.
“To our knowledge, we are the only company to offer this unique combination of platform, security features and IP/SMS integration.”
Soprano Gamma brings new security and multimedia features to existing systems while combining IP with SMS into a common experience that enables an enriched IP-based mobile messaging experience for users. It also provides features such as read acknowledgement and auditability that are critical to business users.
Several large enterprise customer trials are now underway in Australia and Europe, Wiltshire said, and the company plans to announce its first customers before the end of the year. Soprano also plans to leverage a unique distribution model for the product. Through its mobile network operator distribution partners, including Telstra in Australia, Soprano today has access to 75% of the Global Fortune 1000 in industries such as transportation, logistics, financial, healthcare, education, construction and government.
The consumer market for mobile messaging applications is white-hot, illustrated by Facebook's recent US$22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. But consumer-focused, mobile messaging apps have failed to gain traction in the lucrative business market because they fall short of the necessary compliance, security, integration and performance capabilities required for most business use cases.
Perhaps more importantly, they cannot reach offline users with the type of immediacy that SMS can. This last-mile coverage is paramount to business productivity.
“The B2B messaging market is ripe for disruption, but it won't be led by the 'free' apps such as WhatsApp that don't meet the specific needs of the business market,” Wiltshire said. “We believe Gamma is the killer solution that will unlock new use cases for business.”
The B2B mobile messaging space is already a US$50 billion market, primarily comprising SMS revenue, and Jupiter Research estimates it will grow to US$70.1 billion by 2016 as the market shifts to IP messaging. Its growth will be driven by everyday B2C uses such as SMS password verifications, package delivery alerts, consumer loyalty programs and a myriad of internal B2B productivity uses of SMS.
Gamma was recently named one of Australia's top three new technologies of 2014 in the iAwards, which recognise and reward the ICT innovations that have the potential to have a positive impact on the community. The product also has been shortlisted for the UK 2014 Appster award.