Exactly 20 years ago in Finland, Mr. Jukka Salonen and Mr. Matti Makkonen created a mobile phone service titled “Bookit”. Mr. Makkonen is known as the father of the SMS text message and Mr. Salonen has over 100 international patents on various mobile device applications that use two-way mobile messaging dialogue technology also known as iSMS.
Fast forward to 2019 and virtually every consumer has used many of the mobile services invented by Mr. Salonen during the past two decades. One of his most widely used inventions is known as 2 factor authentication (2FA).
Mr. Salonen explains how 2FA is often used to authenticate and confirm transactions:
“When a bank suspects fraudulent activity on your credit card, they send you an alert, which you can either confirm or reject using your mobile phone. You may also receive messages from your online vendor asking for you to confirm a purchase or to verify your identity using your mobile phone. In addition, if you forget your password, you can conveniently retrieve a new password and confirm your identity with only your mobile phone. In Europe the Bookit-service is also used to notify customers when their product has been shipped out and to offer alternative home delivery times or locations. ”
Salonen attempted to move his business from Finland to the US already in 2005 but the original US launch was not very successful, since back then American consumers were not yet accustomed to making their online purchases from their mobile phones. It took Bookit nearly an additional ten years until the US market was ready but by then, Mr. Salonen had discovered a new problem: The fortune 500 companies were not willing to pay him for using his inventions.
For instance, when Mr. Salonen’s invention was presented to large US financial institutions, they first wanted to learn more, but were later discovered to be using the patented technologies without a license. Mr. Salonen and his team of 20 employees had invested almost two decades in research and product development, so he felt he had no choice but to sue one of the banks for infringing some of his 100 patents. According to Salonen, the big companies’ behaviour is tantamount to modern-day colonialism. “They do not care about someone’s life’s work since they are accustomed to burying alive small companies with their armies of lawyers.”
Unfortunately the father of SMS Matti Makkonen passed away before he could see how popular our services have become today. Salonen says that Mr. Matti Makkonen always encouraged Salonen to develop Bookit services that would be as easy as responding 1, 2 or 3 or Yes or No to a text message. I think he would be proud to see that his vision has now been fulfilled.