As Messaging becomes the communication glue for individuals and businesses, it is important to have a network with predictable service levels and quality of service. We are still not there with messaging, since it rides on the Internet and is therefore susceptible to the vagaries of the network. It may be necessary to think of an M-Network, to provide this quality of service to companies and consumers who are willing to pay for it. Think it this as the equivalent of an overnight-delivery service: you have the regular, cheaper postal service, but if you need guarantees of delivery in a rapid time-frame, you are willing to pay extra.
This M-Network will consist of its own infrastructure for managing only messages (no voice, no browsing traffic). It works as a backend for ISPs and corporates. It takes their emails, routes them through this network to the closest node to the destination and then dispatches. It also offers the ability to track emails when they come in and go out of this network. So, a corporate email server or an ISP instead of trying to send the email to the destination directly (problem here is that emails can get rejected, delayed, or the server can get overloaded) sends it to the nodes closest to the corporate mail server.
Think of this as offering the long-distance back-haul network infrastructure for messaging. To build this, one needs to create network infrastructure comprising of messaging servers and leased lines at various ISPs, data centers across the world. New kinds of companies – the M-Carriers (the Message Telcos, as it were), will operate such networks.
Besides reliable and faster delivery, other examples of where this can make a huge difference:
Streaming: When we get a large attachment today, we have to wait for the entire document to download as part of the attachment. Instead, it would be nice if we can get these streamed. This becomes especially useful as audio/video emails increase.
Roaming: As customers move across the world, we find that email access can be slow since they are in a country which may not have the fastest access to the Net. In this case, if they were using our service, we can route the emails dynamically in bulk to the server closest to the user at this point in time, and then synchronise with the master database of emails. So, it becomes a very fast global roaming account.
Monitorability: This is important for a corporate and its users – many times we send off a message and don’t know where it is. It will be good if we knew where it was – like a GPS for messages.
Together, the Smart Messaging Client, Server and Network can help in ensuring that messaging becomes as reliable as the phone network of today, thus in effect creating the “Mailtone” for us to use anywhere we are and as naturally as we pick up the phone and expect a dial-tone.