The hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean and caused significant damage to mobile networks in those regions. Outages and loss of service were commonplace and there was only one reliable communication channel – SMS.
The densely populated Eastern Seaboard is also the home to some of the most developed mobile markets in the U.S. and the world, with high percentages of smartphone and mobile data users, who were the most likely to be affected by network outages. To avoid mobile network congestion and keep an open channel for distributing and receiving critical information, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, advised those in the path of Sandy to use SMS and social networks for communication.
This is only the latest, if not the most high-profile example of the resilience and efficiency of SMS, proving it is virtually irreplaceable as a channel for delivering critical information and above all, proving it is far from a legacy system destined for an unceremonious death.
With its reach – being supported by all types of mobile phones and not depending on modern mobile data coverage – and its robust and reliable characteristics, SMS is and will remain a key mobile channel for years to come. Its use and usability in emergency situations only stresses its versatility and potential for any kind of direct, timely and efficient communication.
From mobile marketing and loyalty programs, to community service announcements and m-health applications, SMS brings significant benefits to all involved, serving the end user with information in a familiar and reliable format.
We're already at the beginning of the 4G era, with lightning fast mobile data and advanced smartphones to follow that, but Sandy proved that to dismiss SMS would be foolish. It's still alive and well, thank you very much!