NTT DATA, a leading provider of business and IT solutions, last month marked 20 years since customers of NTT DOCOMO, INC. the mobile operator of the NTT Group and partner company of NTT DATA, were able to send digital icons as part of text messages via mobile communications for the first time.
The digital icons — emojis in their infancy — were made possible by DOCOMO's mobile data service i-modeTM, which allowed pictograms to be sent in text messages. The name emoji originated from the combination of the Japanese words "e" and "moji" for "picture" and "letters".
The simple images partially replaced non-verbal signals such as facial expressions, gestures or tone of voice, and this more emotional side of communication has played a central role in the continued popularity of mobile communications.
“Emojis are fun and people enjoy using them to say more than the words could, trigger emotions and communicate more effectively. They are also digital, mobile, universal and easy to use, which embodies much of what makes any digital transformation successful,” says Simon Williams, CEO of NTT DATA UK. “When DOCOMO introduced emojis twenty years ago we could not have foreseen just how impactful the ability to express emotion and trust quickly and easily in the digital communication of mobile phone users would be. As such, emojis provide a lesson that everyone involved in technology can learn from.”