Feature Article

May 15, 2014

Mobile Developers Get New Communications Platform with Sinch

Mobile messaging is a big part of the communications landscape today, with voice and text messaging services becoming part of apps where it might not ordinarily be expected to crop up. But thanks to a recent move from Sinch—bolstered by a recent round of investment and a spin-off from Rebtel—more developers than ever will be able to add voice and messaging functionality to just about any app with the addition of a few lines of code.

The Sinch communications platform is said to work for any iOS or Android developer, and can actually add its voice and messaging functionality not only quickly—implementation is said to take 15 minutes or less, less time than is commonly taken to deliver a pizza—but also inexpensively, coming at what was described as a “...fraction of the cost of competitors”, and in some cases, reportedly, free. One of the competitors specifically mentioned in this field was Twilio, who reportedly charges quite a bit more for its service than Sinch does for its own.

Sinch reportedly started out as a part of mobile VoIP company Rebtel's operations, originally a developer API, but managed to land fully $12 million in funding from a variety of sources including Balderton Capital and Index Ventures, both of which had been seen investing in a variety of major names previously including Facebook, King, and NaturalMotion.

Sinch will arrive right out of the gate with some very impressive features in its arsenal, including not only free calling—likely from one Sinch user to another—but also regular and group messaging, SMS capability and even call termination. Naturally, there are plenty of applications for a technology like this, and well beyond those that might immediately come to mind. Sinch points out the value of such technology in fields like gaming, as well as travel and even dating.

While there are definitely plenty of applications for such technology, the market itself is showing off the value of Sinch's technology, as well as the value of its competition's as well. VisionMobile analyst Andreas Pappas notes that that the app economy is set to clear $143 billion in total revenue just by 2016 alone, and several major moves have been made in the sector, from the purchase of WhatsApp to a recent valuation that put Tango over the billion dollar mark in company value.

These projections really aren't out of line. As more of our lives go to mobile devices, there will be in turn more uses for these devices. As the number of uses for these devices increases, then so too does the utility of same. We're seeing a lot of gain in a comparatively short time, but we're still seeing the kind of thing that mobile devices can do. We've been routinely putting mobile devices to work for things like shopping and banking, so it's not out of line to see that kind of functionality spread elsewhere. It's certainly not out of line to add communications tools to these apps, either; consider a shopping app where a potential buyer could ask the seller a question about said article for purchase immediately.

While there will likely be plenty of competitors for Sinch in the long term, its low-cost service and emphasis on value should really help it find a market in that same long term. Only time will tell just how Sinch’s story unfolds.




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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