June 22, 2020
Member Spotlight: Meet SAP Digital Interconnect’s William Dudley .
Since the very first text message sent in 1992, mobile messaging has evolved significantly, enabling us to send messages, photographs, videos and other media to our friends, family and colleagues. Thanks to the innovation of the wireless industry, messaging capabilities continue to expand, granting greater efficiency and consistency for digital communications. SAP Digital Interconnect’s William Dudley gave us a deep dive on mobile messaging and his company’s role in protecting the quality of the mobile messaging ecosystem.
What is SAP Digital Interconnect’s role within the wireless industry?
William Dudley: At SAP Digital Interconnect, we get to work on everything that’s new and exciting. We focus on what’s coming into the mobile space, especially mobile messaging. We also come up with new products, bring them to market and then move on to the next innovative effort.
How did you become involved in mobile messaging?
William Dudley: In 2001, I went to work for a small Dutch company called C.M.G., and we made short message service centers (SMSCs). This is the platform that allowed mobile operators to offer SMS text messaging to customers, providing them with a new way to communicate with friends and family and a new way to conduct business. But in 2001, you couldn’t send a text message between carriers. There were different carrier types of protocols and platforms—they were incompatible.
One of the things that I’m most proud of is the idea of making a messaging hub by taking SMSCs and modifying them. We created what was called the inter-SMSC router or the ISR. With ISRs, we could take all the messages from each carrier, distribute them to the hub and let the hub decide which destination carrier it went to. Other companies got on board with building messaging hubs, including companies like InphoMatch, which is now known as SAP Digital Interconnect.
Which wireless technologies does SAP Digital look forward to most?
William Dudley: SAP Digital Interconnect is at the cutting edge of wireless innovation, and we are always working on new and exciting solutions for the wireless industry. Things like rich communication services (RCS) are playing a big role because we think they are critical to the future of wireless communications. We see RCS as the next generation of SMS. It’s richer, more engaging and it has a lot of features and capabilities that are beneficial for businesses to use to reach their consumers.
What role does SAP Digital play in protecting the quality of communications networks within the wireless industry?
William Dudley: SAP Digital Interconnect is dedicated to ensuring that mobile messaging doesn’t lose its ability to be personal and private in the way other digital communications have. For example, estimates say that 80 to 90 percent of all e-mail generated is spam. Whereas with SMS, it’s around two to three percent. The wireless industry has worked very hard to keep the SMS channel, specifically the person-to-person channel, clean and protected. SAP Digital Interconnect and other companies sit in the middle of all that and block hundreds of millions of spam messages wherever we find them.
One of the statistics we in the industry love is that 90 percent of text messages are opened within the first minute of being received. Allowing spam to overload the text messaging channel would be detrimental to wireless communications and would lower consumer trust. People would start to open text messages less frequently, so we work hard to defend the channels from messages people don’t want. If consumers can be confident that the texts they receive are legitimate and personal or business related, they’re going to read the texts as soon as they come in.
What is CTIA's role in maintaining consumer confidence in mobile messaging?
William Dudley: CTIA has done a good job in establishing best practices and principles and they’ve been doing so for a long time. SAP Digital Interconnect has been very fortunate to be able to work on a lot of these documents and best practices with our competitors and business partners within the industry. Together, we see how the industry moves and try to articulate that into the standards and ideas that we put down on paper. CTIA does a good job of then making these available to all of the ecosystem players.
CTIA also created a registry of short codes, which are usually 4-6 digit codes that can act as a sender I.D. for businesses or emergency officials, to send text messages to consumers. Through its registry, CTIA helps manage these short codes and has done a very good job of maintaining that and keeping that part of the industry very clean.
Why is it important for SAP Digital to have its voice heard as wireless guidelines are being developed?
William Dudley: SAP is a major player in the messaging ecosystem. We have been since the beginning and therefore, we want to make sure that our experiences are reflected in those guidelines. We deal with many service providers, carriers, brands and enterprises, and we know how the industry wants to evolve.
What specific benefits does SAP Digital gain from being a CTIA member?
William Dudley: SAP Digital has been a part of the working groups at CTIA since the very beginning, especially with messaging. We have actually written parts of these best practices and guidelines that CTIA has issued to the wireless ecosystem over the years. The benefits lie in our ability to share ideas and knowledge, and the ability to really understand how the ecosystem works. CTIA has enabled us to do that. Our membership and our participation with them is important to our customers and our partners. We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of CTIA.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.