Over 1.2 trillion SMS messages sent in '06 [p.17]

Global short message services (SMS) are expected to more than double in the next four years after some 1.2 trillion text messages are forecast to have been sent world wide in 2006 generating approximately $50 billion in revenues for the year. "Wireless messaging is the most successful mainstream mobile data service to have emerged during the 30-year history of the cellular telecom industry," research company Gartner said in a report. Last year, according to Gartner, 936 billion SMS were sent and by 2010 over 2.3 trillion are forecast to be sent annually. SMS revenues are expected to grow from $39.5b. in 2005 to $72.5b. in 2010, the research showed. Gartner said the Asia Pacific region will continue to be the largest SMS market, where it predicts the level of SMS messages will top 1.8 trillion in 2010, but added that North America would see the biggest compound annual growth rate over the next four years. At the same time, the company noted that in the faced with declining margins on basic cellular voice and text services, as well as lackluster demand for other data applications, mobile operators are now revisiting wireless messaging in an effort to build on the success of SMS. "Nobody could have predicted the phenomenal success of SMS and the race is on to find its successor," said Gartner analyst Nick Ingelbrecht. "Without a doubt new services are needed, but a clear leader has yet to emerge from the messaging services currently being deployed such as mobile IM (instant messaging), video messaging, mobile email and unified and integrated messaging." Electronic monitoring systems provider Dmatek Ltd. won an 18-month contract from the French Ministry of Justice, to use its GPS offender tracking equipment for Frances national sex offender tracking program. The contact will be carried out through the Tel Aviv-based company's subsidiary Elmo-Tech, which operates in the corrections and law enforcement markets. Elmo-Tech also won a 3-year contract for the Toulouse regional presence monitoring program and subject to pace and level of implementation, the two contracts are expected to generate lease-based revenues of between $1m. and $2.5m. over their respective periods. Tel Aviv-based innovative voice biometrics company CellMax Systems Ltd. has signed a collaboration agreement with point-of-sale (POS) system producer PCS Revenue Control Systems Inc. to develop a voice recognition-based identification, verification and payment system for school cafeterias in the US. The system, which will be piloted in the first quarter of 2007, has an initial potential market of 800 US school districts and will result in revenues of $200,000 for CellMax Systems in the first year. The company said the project may generate $500,000 annually within 3-4 years. Linguistic Agents, which works towards bridging natural and formal language, launched a new service, Streaming Logic, for software and web developers. The service will allow developers to easily incorporate natural language understanding into a wide range of applications. These include improving results of existing search engines by isolating important key phrases based on full sentence structure, adding textual commands to shopping and other Web sites, enhancing usability of portals and Web sites with multiple information sources, adding simplified subscription to online services/customization of Web sites, enhancing the ability of news sites to filter through and prioritize news and enabling easier navigation within documents. Israeli venture capital firm The Challenge Fund led an $11.5m. fundraising round investing in Mercado Software, a California-based provider of search and merchandising technologies to the e-commerce market. It was Challenge's first investment in Mercado and they were joined by British investment firm Consensus, American venture lending fund Lighthouse, and VC funds Pitango and Eucalyptus, Star Ventures and Valley Venture Capital (formerly Mofet), who are repeat investors in the company. Crescendo Networks, a provider of high performance application acceleration solutions, raised $10m. in its recent round of financing. The round was led by Evergreen Venture Partners and includes existing investors Apax, StageOne, Magnum and Convergent Venture Capital Funds. This funding is intended to boost the momentum in worldwide sales following its product launch more than a year ago. The funds will be utilized to increase the company's marketing & sales resources as well as expansion of the support team, the company said.