What is Live Chat Software?

From bulletin boards to 1 billion users

In just over 40 years could anybody imagine that old school bulletin boards (BBS) would lead to over 1 billion users around the globe communicating with each other every day? Bearing in mind there are only 7.1 billion humans on the planet, just over 3 million have access to the internet.

Old Google Search Engine

Based on these statistics, is it really true that over 1/7 of the world’s population now communication with each other in real-time, and that figure excludes emails! Facebook published figures that 800 million people used their Facebook messenger in 2015, saying around 35% use their smart phone to message at least once per week.

If you feel these figures are amazing, WhatsApp is even more impressive, they proudly admitted they have over 800 million active users in 2015 with a staggering 30 billion message being sent every day, maybe Facebook spending $19 billion acquiring WhatsApp was money well spent.

So where did it all start

It could be considered that early pioneers who produced internet forums, message and bulletin boards, some of you may remember dialup modems probably remember the Usenet networks. Without knowing, it was these entrepreneurs and developers who paved the way to produce real-time communication between individuals, after all, who wanted to wait minutes, hours or even days for somebody to reply to a message that they posted.

The origins of real-time live chat software can be traced back to the early 1970s to the University of Illinois, nearly 20 years later the first chat across different continents took place in 1989. These systems relied on software being installed on the participants PC’s, each piece of software communicated with each other using a protocol knowing are IRC (Internet Relay Chat), these are the first steps when humans communicated via text in real-time.

Human nature is communication

Human Communication

The big question is why did communication in this way spread on such a massive scale in the last 40 years. Actually the importance of human communication goes back thousands of years and contributes enormously into the society we have become today. While as caveman we ran around scavenging for food and finding a mate, being able to communicate allows us to ask for help, inform other caveman of the next big meal and allow us to bond on a social level.

Even in the last 500 years new forms of communication hardly ever failed, just look at the facts. The first postal service was started by the Roman Empire in 1450, in 1990 over 268 Trillion letters were posted. In 1876 the first phone-call was made, now we make over 3 billion a day which has actually dropped due to text-based communication.

This current generation is no different, 89% of Facebook Messenger users are 16 to 19 year olds. Having 2 teenage boys of my own I have first-hand experience how the next generation communicate with their friends and family, be honest, when was the last time you hear a teenager actually make a phone call?

What the next 10 years have in store for live chat..

There certainly won’t be any decline in communication; the largest Tech companies are investing heavily in these types of technologies, from “smarter” mobile phones to artificial intelligence (AI). We have thousands of years communication ingrained in our souls and the recent past figures only show this need and urge is getting stronger.

Recently both SME and enterprise businesses are becoming aware of the benefits and advantages live chat software offers, being able to allow potential clients and actual customers the ability to communicate via text in both a sales or support situation. With the internet being more and more competitive across most industries, it would be difficult to see in the future why business wouldn’t offer text based communication.

Unfortunately, with a simple, cost-effective means of communication, there will also be misuse, we have experienced decades of email based “spam”, recently texted-based messaging is now being used for unsolicited sales purposes, it won’t be long before the major leaders in real-time communication will take advantage of these techniques.

In the 70s entrepreneurs and developers pushed boundaries as they were aware this technology is what humans wanted from a digital world, moving into 2020 our current generation expect simple, text-based communication, they will unknowingly become the driving force.

Further information

For further information regarding live chat software, we have a vast archive of information in the blog section of our website.