Facebook Home: Radical Tweak in Mobile Messaging
With the release of ‘Facebook Home’ application, the Silicon Valley company’s latest mobile play represents one of the more radical tweaks in mobile messaging to come from a major company in years according to Martijn Lammers, VP Product Management, Messaging for Acision.
The Facebook Home app gives the social networking giant’s content top placement on smartphones. Instead of displaying a phone's traditional menu of apps, Home populates a handset’s cover screen with posts from a user's news feed, photos, and messages from friends.
Home will come preinstalled on a new smartphone from HTC Corp and will be available April 12 to download from Google's app store for use on other new Android phones.
Lammers told Loyalty 360 that Facebook Home shows how more companies are emphasizing their customer engagement strategies through mobile.
“By enhancing the user mobile experience, businesses also have another avenue to engage with their customers,” Lammers said. “By launching an application entrenched in the user’s mobile, businesses will have a more direct route to customers via targeted, personalized messages. New, cross platform, mobile messaging applications can provide businesses with the opportunity to deliver targeted, timely, and relevant notifications, surveys, reminders, and promotions straight into the hands of the consumer taking a multichannel approach via SMS, MMS and chat.”
Lammers said that one of the “game-changing features” of the new app is its ability to receive SMS notifications within Facebook’s Chat Heads ‘Home’ messaging functionality – “yet another indication that Facebook believes its future lies on the mobile phone rather than the desktop.”
For Facebook, Lammers said, this is an attempt to own the smartphone experience of its users, placing messaging at the center. But it might not have gone far enough.
“While the app pulls together Facebook mail and chat messages with text messages into a consolidated conversation, such an application does not go the whole way to offering a truly cross platform messaging service,” Lammers said. “So while this is another step forward for the messaging ecosystem, there is still more opportunity to advance the messaging experience further.”
Acision’s latest consumer research revealed that that 78% of respondents are interested in an operator-led cross platform messaging service, which would allow them to send SMS, MMS, and IP messages from one single consolidated messaging app that works across multiple devices and interworks across all messaging services and social network applications.
“In comparison to mobile operators, Facebook is still relatively new to the mobile landscape,” Lammers said. “Today, there is no single application that meets all consumers messaging requirements across cost, rich features and service quality which works across any platform, any device at any time. Given the operator’s customer relationships, network infrastructure, ability to interwork across messaging platforms and control over quality of experience – mobile operators are well placed to offer a single rich, unified messaging service.”
Lammers said some industry experts believe Facebook Home poses a challenge to traditional messaging and the mobile operators that deliver mainstay services like SMS and MMS. At the same time, there are those that feel that the new generation of IP-based over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps are a threat to Facebook.
But the operator community, given its customer relationships, network infrastructure and control over quality of experience, is in a unique position to capitalize on the revolution taking place in messaging, Lammers said. By fast-tracking Rich/RCS based communication services, carriers can create a new ecosystem that encompasses the past, present, and future of messaging.
“The opportunity for carriers to is launch one consolidated messaging app – via Rich Communication Services or other rich messaging apps – which combines all the requirements consumers expect, and delivers a superior user experience,” Lammers said. “This, in turn, strengthens customer loyalty and unlocks new revenue opportunities for operators.”
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