Blog entry: How to evolve MMS to the next level

MMS has been around since 2002. Coolly received initially because of technical problems and the lack of MMS-enabled mobile phones, at first mobile phones were only able to support MMS messages of up to 30 KB on a small LCD screen. Not many users found this service very usable or interesting. In addition, problems with rendering images between different mobile phones didn’t help uptake and triggered user complaints. After this unfavourable beginning, the main technical problems have been solved over the years and MMS usage has grown year after year. Today, sending an MMS message is as easy as sending a SMS message. The latest mobile phones’ MMS clients make it easy to take pictures, shoot a video clip and then embed these contents into an MMS message. People are using MMS and it is one of the preferred services for transferring multimedia contents on the move.

Moving to the next level means using MMS to deliver selected alerts or contents – at a price.

Who will pay the price depends by the type of content that will be delivered and by the business model applied.

Typically, launching MMS premium services can quickly increase the premium services’ subscriber base and help to reinvigorate the MMS traffic and revenues. Some premium services generate additional P2P traffic, like viral contents distributed via MMS. The most obvious way to share that with friends and family is again via MMS.

MMS is so rich in terms of content supported that it is the perfect medium for delivering multimedia adverts. It also supports a presentation language that makes it possible to create rolling slides that are immediately presented to the user when the message lands on the user’s mobile phone. It’s evident that a multimedia message is more effective in delivering a rich advert than a SMS. Applications are available today that can create compelling marketing campaigns and intriguing premium services based on MMS. However the MMS infrastructure needs to be designed to cope with mass application to person messaging.

To clearly identify the MMS-based services that help evolve MMS to the next level, the diagram below introduces three main areas to consider:

Typical legacy MMSC implementations are often not the right infrastructure for delivering mass A2P messaging, because the old MMSCs could be not dimensioned for this scope. Messages can take long delivery times that are not compatible with promised and expected service levels. In addition, the investment required for full MMSC licenses was not always compatible with business models for advertising and marketing campaigns.

For this reason, tailored solutions for A2P MMS messaging are designed to live side by side with legacy MMSC implementations providing efficiency and economical advantages for A2P message delivery.

To evolve the MMS infrastructure to the next level of saving in licenses and hardware, the A2P message traffic needs to be moved to a more efficient messaging node than a legacy MMSC.

From a commercial point of view the cost of an A2P-only license is cheaper than a full MMSC license, and it reinforces the commercial feasibility of A2P MMS business models.

From a technical point of view, a more efficient messaging node working along the existing legacy MMSC will optimise and accelerate the A2P MMS services rollout, offering at the same time a higher QOS.

This messaging node manages the A2P MMS traffic only, offloading the legacy MMSC.

Jinny Software calls this node “A2P MMS Optimiser” and it introduces an optimised method to process the A2P messages requiring less processing power, less storage capacity and less I/O storage activity. This translates immediately into a huge efficiency in using the hardware resources by increasing the message throughput to levels that a legacy MMSC cannot support – at prices that are compatible with A2P messaging business models.

In conclusion, operators should act on two fronts to evolve MMS to the next level:

–   Launch MMS-based premium services and use the MMS channel for marketing and CRM

–   Tune the MMS infrastructure to efficiently support the new A2P business models.

Author: Flavio Muscetra, Jinny Senior Product Manager