Short-Message Service as a Digital Disruptor of Industry

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Jarno Lähteenmäki
Heikki Hämmäinen
Kalevi Kilkki
Petteri Alahuhta


Short-message service (SMS) has disrupted several communications ecosystem stakeholders. With this new technology, consumers have adopted new ways to communicate with each other and companies have radically improved their existing processes and ways to deliver their services. Furthermore, SMS has enabled the emergence of machine-to-machine type services. The Disruption Framework is a theoretical model that can be used for identifying the process of technology diffusion from a scientific level to a level of social norms. SMS is found to fit within the model of Disruption Framework. The study reveals that the service has progressed to all levels in the model thus the service has been diffused at an almost maximal manner through the ecosystem. Shifts from one level and an industry to another level can be pinpointed and diffusion into different ecosystem layers can be identified. SMS reached its maturity phase in the early 2000s. However, there are clear indications that novel technologies are starting to disrupt SMS ecosystem stakeholders since early adopters of those new technologies are abandoning SMS.

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