mComm Weekly: August 24th, 2015


This week, we saw an increase in content surrounding the proliferation of SMS services in India (often public service-oriented), where the mobile market is expected to grow from $4,314.5 million in 2014 to $15,287.4 million in 2019. Meanwhile, mobile money continues to dominate coverage across mobile development-focused news sources while chat apps dominate commercial mobile messaging coverage. All signs point to increasing adoption of mobile payment services in mobile agriculture. 

Why SMS Matters More Than Ever

+ Despite the fact we collectively exchange 350 billion text messages each month, the popularity of OTT services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat has rendered SMS - one of two core features on every mobile phone in the world - an afterthought in the minds of most. Reputation notwithstanding, SMS is at the core of the rapidly-emerging cloud communication industry headed by Twilio, Nexmo and the like (TextIt). 

New Feature: Split by Message Form

+ TextIt now supports structured data collection through simple custom SMS message forms.Message forms are essentially a sequence of values separated by spaces (“ “)  or plus signs (“+”). Our Flow Engine’s unique split functionality allows you to create response rules that evaluate each separated value, assign it a field name, and direct your contacts accordingly (TextIt). 

SMS Marketing Increases Site Traffic

+ TheGoodDeal.in - an online-classified site with intuitive customer-centric features - has increased direct site traffic by 136% by creating an SMS campaign initiative to reach out to consumers through their smartphone's SMS and Internet functionality. A convenient supplement to email, SMS marketing can be used to push content and direct traffic to your web service (Financial Express). 

US is Slowest to Adopt Chat Apps

+ No chat app has experienced WeChat-like adoption in the US, but the comparatively slow uptake of chat apps in the US isn’t caused by tech-averse Americans. Instead, it could be because SMS messages in the US have been essentially free for a long time, unlike in most of the rest of the world (Quartz). 

Blood Banks Adopt SMS

+ To ensure the availability of blood all over the state, the Punjab State Blood Transfusion Council is starting an SMS service in which all information regarding the stock kept at blood banks will be provided via SMS (Times of India).

The Decline of the Phone call

+ The distaste for telephony is especially acute among Millennials, who have come of age in a world of AIM and texting - then gchat and iMessage - but it’s hardly limited to young people (Remains of the Day). 

Delhi Traffic Police Launch SMS Service

+ With this service, one can query information like congestion points, rallies, political and religious processions and receive diversion updates via SMS (Z News).

Sign up for a free account to give TextIt a try. New sign-ups receive 1,000 complimentary credits and unlimited access to support.

Why SMS Matters More Than Ever

Smartphones are eating the world. They’ve become our primary point of access to the internet, drawing comparisons to the sun from one of tech’s brightest minds. The numbers back this up: as of 2014, 51% of the world owns one; in 2020, 80% will. We use them for everything from sending and receiving texts and calls to interacting with our favorite web services via their mobile apps and APIs. 

Despite the fact we collectively exchange 350 billion text messages each month, the popularity of OTT services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat has rendered SMS - one of two core features on every mobile phone in the world - an afterthought in the minds of most. Reputation notwithstanding, SMS is at the core of the rapidly-emerging cloud communication industry headed by Twilio, Nexmo and the like.

These platforms remove barriers to the adoption of SMS services while enabling businesses to quickly and easily deploy them to customers with faster delivery times, lower initial cost, and improved reliability. Much like the smartphone, they’re on pace to provide telecommunication gateways all over the world. SMS is experiencing a resurgence in innovation on par with web-based services.

Why SMS?

It should be no surprise that SMS has a tremendously high engagement rate compared to email: the average open rate of a text message is 94% (90% of which are opened within the first few minutes of receipt) while only 22% of emails are ever read. Texts are entitled to prime real estate on notification panels and guaranteed delivery in situations where WiFi is unavailable and data is spotty. Most importantly, accessing text messages doesn’t require load time or interaction with a downloaded interface or log-in screen

By now, we’re all likely familiar with the global prevalence of SMS. Access requirements are straightforward - a mobile phone and a service plan - and there’s no need for pre-existing conditions such as an established connection within a service that both parties must download (accepting friend requests, adjusting privacy settings, etc.), much less a reliable internet connection on both ends.

The Current Trajectory

Services like Twilio and Nexmo specialize in enabling application-to-person (A2P) communication. A2P allows organizations to use web applications to communicate with their clients via SMS. If you’ve ever received an appointment confirmation from your doctor’s office, a flight status update from your airline, or an account update from your bank, you’ve engaged in A2P messaging. If you haven’t, the likelihood of engaging in this kind of interaction is expected to increase by 63% over the next three years from 1.4 trillion messages in 2013 to 2.19 trillion messages in 2018.

Popular use cases for A2P SMS include:

  • Customer Relationship Management: “You have an appointment with us tomorrow at 8:30 AM.”
  • Promotional Campaigns: “Show this message for 15% off your next purchase. Exp. 9/1”
  • Pushed Content Services: “There are 8 elder care resources in your area, reply for a full list.”
  • Interactive Services: “Thank you for your vote! Check back next week to see who won.”
  • Inquiry and Search-Related Services: “Please send with your location for upcoming bus routes near you.”

The initial issue with traditional A2P SMS was the clunky and expensive nature of the development and integration process. Prior to Twilio and Nexmo, companies were required to liaise with a variety of middlemen - SMS aggregators, gateway providers and resellers - to establish connections with various network operators. Today, telephony API tools allow developers to integrate SMS with their applications at a fraction of the cost and time.

Enter TextIt

TextIt is a drag-and-drop development platform that connects with either Twilio or Nexmo to enable you to visually build an application that interacts with your clients on your behalf. This is made possible by our Flow Engine, an easy-to-use interface that enables you to design automated interactions that may include posting and retrieving information to and from your service or triggering events within your service via our API.

Each interaction in TextIt is defined by a single step. By drawing arrows from one step to another, you define how your clients will move through the flow. We provide a number of rules that enable you to dictate how your recipients' responses are evaluated, allowing you to funnel them to the information they’re looking for while collecting the data you need.

The process is simple:

  1. create a TextIt account
  2. design your flows
  3. enter your Twilio or Nexmo account information to begin communicating

An Application in Every Industry

Travel, Tourism & Entertainment

Travel is an increasingly mobile industry. SMS enables real time communication with travelers - leading to a decrease in customer support costs while providing a convenient and reliable additional communication channel.

Healthcare

SMS can help healthcare organizations improve communication with each professional, patient, and stakeholder they serve. Reduce appointment no-shows, deliver timely patient information, improve pharmacy efficiency, and support community and emergency health services. Patient reminders and timely patient information are two common use cases for TextIt.

Retail

SMS can optimize location-based campaigns, engage customers with contests and promotions, expand customer databases, promote point-of-sale coupon usage, improve customer service, and keep loyal customers up-to-speed with your latest sales and product announcements.

Food Service

By integrating Twilio, OpenTable and TextIt, you can use SMS to enable patrons to make and change reservations, and alert them when their table is ready.

Education

SMS is an ideal tool for sending truancy notifications, and general and emergency updates to parents and students. Young comprise the largest messaging demographic in the world.

Marketing

Take advantage of the convenience of SMS, which enables you to asynchronously connect with consumers on their own terms. Several organizations use TextIt to design and deploy standalone campaigns, carefully-crafted complements to email and blog content, timely and individualized loyalty programs, and high-impact promotions.

HR/Recruiting

SMS helps HR, recruiting, and staffing firms cut costs and partner more effectively with companies and candidates. Companies like HigherMe use TextIt to register users, send job opening alerts to job-seekers, and match them with openings that fit their experience.

Public Services

SMS is an ideal method of streamlining public services and communicating with citizens of all socioeconomic classes. We’d love to see SMS incorporated into such programs as food services, social security, and affordable housing.

Try it Out

Sign up for a free account to give TextIt a try. New sign-ups receive 1,000 complimentary credits and unlimited access to support.

New Feature Update: Split by Message Form

We're happy to announce that TextIt now supports structured data collection through simple custom SMS message forms.

Message forms are essentially a sequence of values separated by spaces (“ “)  or plus signs (“+”). Our Flow Engine’s unique split functionality allows you to create response rules that evaluate each separated value, assign it a field name, and direct your contacts accordingly.

See it in Action

A team of clinicians working in a maternity clinic has just delivered a child and needs to register her. In this particular use case, they need to record the gender, child’s name, mother’s name, and the mother’s birth year. Using our message form feature, they could report that information in the following format: “birth [gender]+[child’s name]+[mother’s name]+[mother's birth year]”. The keyword “birth” acts as a trigger that notifies TextIt which flow the message form is intended to interact with.

Let’s say the child is a female, her name is Noel, and her mother, Beverly, was born in 1985. A clinician would send the message “birth f+Noel+Beverly+1985”, which can then be evaluated by TextIt’s response rules using a series of split steps that will either confirm that each individual value is formatted correctly, or alert the sender that they’ve made a mistake and ask them to resubmit the message form.

From the clinician’s point of view, the exchange will look as simple as this:

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To learn more about message forms, review our corresponding documentation.

To try out our updated Flow Engine, sign up for a free account. New sign-ups receive 1,000 complimentary credits and unlimited access to support.


mComm Weekly: August 10th, 2015


Why Host with TextIt?

"Let us continue to accept this burden for you, and together we can advance this outstanding platform."

+ Lately, we’ve noticed a fair amount of interest among the RapidPro community in moving from TextIt to a self-hosted RapidPro installation. We understand RapidPro is an in-demand open-source software platform, and we’re flattered. That being said, there are a few factors worth considering before branching out.

Using TextIt for Crisis Prevention

+ Una Hakika, a Sentinel Project initiative, uses TextIt to enable residents of Kenya’s Tana Delta to submit rumors for verification and provide subscribers with neutral, accurate information in response. Learn how they do it

African Women Falling Behind

+ Many African women have less free time to experiment with new information and communication technology (ICT) while experiencing twice as many challenges accessing the Internet as men do, a report on Uganda has shown. What can be done?

Mobile Reporting Best Practices

+ Making All Voices Count decided to research some of the recent ICT initiatives that have been introduced and try to identify key factors to the success of mobile reporting for water and other resources. See what they learned (Making All Voices Count). 

Global mAgri Market Potential

+ Vodafone states that if rolled out at scale, the mAgri services described in the report – information services for the farming community, receipt services for agriculture supply chains, payments and loans, field audit services, services enabling transactions between smallholders and agri businesses and rich media services – could reach a potential market of 69 million users in India in 2020 (GSMA). 

Nigerian Market Continues Climb

+ Airtel Nigeria has reached 30 million subscribers (IT News Africa).

Why Host with TextIt?

Lately, we’ve noticed a fair amount of interest among the RapidPro community in moving from TextIt to a self-hosted RapidPro installation. We understand RapidPro is an in-demand open-source software platform, and we’re flattered. We built it. That being said, there are a few factors worth considering before branching out.

What is RapidPro and how does it relate to TextIt?

We developed RapidPro, the platform that powers TextIt, and open-sourced it in 2013 to allow UNICEF to adopt it into their programming. The results have been phenomenal, as millions of people around the world use the platform to communicate issues and coordinate aid.

Because RapidPro is open-source, anyone can contribute to it. In order to use it, however, you’ll need to either host it on a proprietary server or sign-up with TextIt. We host RapidPro for UNICEF and others in addition to the original service, TextIt.

What services does TextIt provide?

We Host for You 

We spend a lot of money on a lot of servers to make sure you’re getting the best possible performance at the lowest possible price. Because there are multiple machines serving TextIt, the load is distributed to ensure maximum speed. What’s more, your data is almost certainly more secure with us managing it than it would be otherwise. This allows you and thousands of other unique organizations - from UNICEF to your local clinic - to focus on building custom mobile-based communication programs and deploy them anywhere in the world with ease.

We Build for You

TextIt grew out of our experience as a consultancy. We’re always connecting the dots between use cases and useful features, but we care most about our users and ultimately build the features you request. In fact, our most recent feature updates were inspired by one of our largest and most innovative clients. These updates benefit every one of our users. Consider this: when you leave us, you’re removing our ability to modify the platform to suit your needs.

We Update You 

We update the RapidPro platform daily, and we do so thoughtfully. We follow a strict procedure to ensure that none of the updates we push will negatively impact your flows. This process includes running old flows in all possible permutations to make sure they act in the same way. As time passes, the platform has fewer bugs rather than more. This is because we continue to add more test cases to cover new scenarios. We have over 95% code coverage in automated unit tests, and any bugs that are introduced are discovered by our vast user base and fixed immediately.

These changes are automatically merged into all of the RapidPro instances we host. If you were to host RapidPro yourself, you’d have to merge these updates manually, as self-hosted RapidPro instances are snapshots in RapidPro’s ever-evolving life cycle. If you have the funds and expertise to self-host RapidPro, and can even manage to get it running smoothly, you’re still at a significant disadvantage in that you won’t automatically receive updated features.

We Support You

Our team works around the clock to answer tickets, resolve issues, and patch bugs. We’re constantly monitoring our servers and the platform itself, and responding to support requests from three different time zones, often more. When you host with us, you’re getting high performance with zero down time.

We Scale

We provide high availability and handle accounts with millions of contacts, and we didn’t get there overnight. Scaling requires significant expertise and investment. Bottom line: You’ll never outgrow TextIt.

We Connect You 

We’ve spent years building strong relationships and setting up connections with mobile network operators (MNOs) around the world, putting us in the ideal position to facilitate your connections to MNOs when aggregators aren’t present. If an aggregator doesn’t exist in the country you’d like to deploy, we can help you create connections for a small fee.

We Advise You

As the firm that hosts both RapidPro and TextIt, we’re engaged with the widest variety of organizations around the world using messaging for their programs. Through these partnerships, we’ve learned about RapidPro’s many use cases, specifically what works and what doesn’t. This puts us in a unique position to help advance the community as a whole. When you ask a question, you’re guaranteed an educated, time-tested response. We invite you to reach out and take advantage of our Flow Coaching program.

How does TextIt Profit?

We don’t charge until it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, we give you 1,000 credits to get started. It’s free to sign-up and gain access to all the features you’ll need to build and test your flows. What’s more, we don’t tier our support. Free accounts get just as much love as our largest paid accounts. Once you’re ready to send and receive messages or phone calls, you can purchase credits as you need them. Each credit is equal to one message sent or received, and costs about a penny. If you’re a small nonprofit organization with limited funding, let us know. If you justify the need, we’ll have the conversation.

We understand the allure of open-source software. It’s free and malleable. What isn’t immediately apparent, however, is the array of hidden costs. Let us continue to accept this burden for you, and together we can advance this outstanding platform.

Are you sure? Crisis Prevention via Misinformation Management using TextIt

Una Hakika, a Sentinel Project initiative, uses TextIt to enable residents of Kenya’s Tana Delta to submit rumors for verification and provide subscribers with neutral, accurate information in response.

Context

Violent conflict between the Tana Delta’s Orma and Pokomo ethnic groups has resulted in longstanding animosity and persistent distrust. Several factors contribute to this enduring conflict, though land ownership is among the most prominent. Each group’s livelihood relies almost entirely on land use, and issues preventing the procurement of official land deeds render boundaries blurred. In the context of severe poverty, encroachment on one another’s traditional livelihoods, such as the Orma grazing livestock on Pokomo farmlands, or the Pokomo butchering Orma cattle, is a critical threat to the well being of both ethnic communities. Between September 2012 and January 2013, 166 people were killed in nine separate massacres throughout the Tana River area. Primary fieldwork has indicated that much of the violence between the Orma and Pokomo is triggered by unfounded rumors.

The Sentinel Project, a Canadian nonprofit whose mission is to prevent genocide worldwide through early warning and cooperation with victimized peoples, is using TextIt to collect and disseminate detailed reports on rumors that pose an immediate risk of conflict in the Tana Delta via text message. Unlike other SMS based data collection and dissemination tools, TextIt’s Flow Engine allows organizations such as the Sentinel Project to design a series of questions and response rules that automatically direct the user down paths specific to their responses. These interactions, called flows, feel like any other SMS conversation to end-users.

Methodology

Una Hakika - “Are you sure?” - is a simple premise for end-users: If a person in the Tana Delta region hears a rumor that presents an immediate risk of conflict, they can text-it-in to 21512, a toll-free shortcode. The project uses TextIt’s keyword trigger function to direct all messages received - regardless of content - to an autoresponder flow that allows end-users to:

  • set the language of all subsequent messages to Swahili.

  • report a rumor.

  • subscribe or unsubscribe to Una Hakika’s informational broadcasts.

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If an end-user elects to report a rumor, they’re directed to a separate flow designed to:

  • collect the rumor, saved as a qualitative value in the Rumors field for evaluation by Una Hakika’s staff. Una Hakika’s staff is trained to prioritize rumors using a proprietary risk scale that accounts for a variety of variables.

  • determine if the situation is an emergency occurring at present.

  • immediately send email and text message alerts to trained community mediators and other proper authorities.

Verification

Once rumors are prioritized in real time by Una Hakika’s staff, their next task is to uncover the truth. This is where their each staff member’s intensive, varied training kicks in. In some cases, the relevant authorities may be an appropriate resource. In other cases, consulting trusted community sources or querying subscribers may yield the truth.

To view rumors and sightings as they’re reported, click here.

End-User Onboarding

Having staff present in target areas as a point of contact for end-users is vital to the success of SMS or IVR-based communication initiative. The Sentinel Project recognizes this, having selected and trained community ambassadors who serve as the human element of their project. These ambassadors educate participants on methods of reporting information accurately and provide hands-on support for each end-user. Their ability to compile and retain meaningful and relevant information ensures that Una Hakika can act on reliable information.

Results

Overall, the young program is receiving high praise from its first 968 end-users. An end-user satisfaction survey conducted April showed high levels of satisfaction across the board. The average rating across all quantitative questions was 8 out of a possible 10, indicating that the users find value in Una Hakika. The highest individual question rating (8.53 out of 10) is in response to the question How much has Una Hakika helped prevent the spread of rumours?, which indicates the project is delivering on its primary goal.

With the information gleaned from this survey and other sources of end-user feedback, Una Hakika will begin to implement new policies to address the most pressing issues highlighted by their user base.

Sign up for a TextIt account today to start building your own SMS application. In keeping with our goal of fostering development, we provide 1,000 complimentary credits to every new account, as well as country-specific guides to integrating with local carriers and international gateways.

We understand that flexibility is key when deploying an SMS or IVR application, and that’s why we offer a simple prepaid model that lets you add credits to your account only as you need them.

To learn more about TextIt, visit our Learning Center, review our documentation, or watch this short video:

mComm Weekly: August 3rd, 2015


The Importance of Feedback Loops

"While the international aid community champions the Typhoon Haiyan response in 2013, most Filipinos do not."

+ Reliable communications create viable feedback loops for coordinating organisations like UNOCHA, UNHCR, or World Food Programme to prioritise different areas for specific relief goods. Specifically, aid groups can create a dialogue with affected communities by utilising whatever communications method exists and the public has access to use. This dialogue should be fundamental to every aid groups’ response efforts.

Mobile Data-Driven Crop Yields

"Family farmers in Senegal are increasing their crop yields by experimenting with a new agricultural input: data." 

+ Thousands of farmers are using technology to share information about their day-to-day operations so they can function more efficiently as a cooperative. Together, they optimize productivity by coordinating where they grow crops, negotiate bulk fertilizer purchases, share local market prices, check weather forecasts in real-time, and compare crop yields using off-the-shelf, cloud-based software.

MAMA Global's Breast Feeding mHealth Curriculum

+ Incorporate MAMA Global's breastfeeding curriculum into your mobile maternity health system. MAMA’s basic set of health messages - created by BabyCenter and its medical experts - include many about the benefits of breastfeeding and other helpful bits of information meant to encourage new moms, caregivers and family members. Check out these few messages they’ve customized to account for local context, which MAMA subscribers receive before and after their baby is born (MAMA Global). 

Increasing Incomes in India's Fishing Communities using IVR

+ India's fishing communities, about four million people, are among the most impoverished in the country with more than 60 per cent earning less than a dollar a day, according to the 2010 census by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. These voice messages, all in the local language Odia, give information on potential fishing zones, weather warnings, ocean status forecasts and market rates for fish such as hilsa, mackerel, prawns and shrimps (Thomas Reuters Foundation).

Nigeria Adds Millions More

+ According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Nigeria’s mobile operators added 2.1 million new subscribers in June 2015 (IT News Africa). 

mComm Weekly: July 27th, 2015

Feature Update: Skip Logic & Simplified Splits

+ You may have recently noticed a change in the appearance of your Flows. In an effort to improve the flexibility of the RapidPro Flow Engine, we’ve updated the platform to include “split” steps and allow actions to operate independent of messages (TextIt).

Reappraising eLearning

"A silver bullet in a gun in the hands of a person who does not know how to aim has no value."

+ Why technological solutions should be applied in conjunction with traditional teaching methods rather than replace them: an expert's opinion.

Sustaining Zero: Next Steps in Keeping Ebola at Bay

+ While increased data collection and connectivity have helped stem the tide of the disease, further action needs to be taken to prevent the sporadic infections we've seen of late. See what's on the table (PSI Impact). 

India's Untapped Market: Mobile Agriculture

+ World Bank data reveals 68% of India’s population resides in rural areas and tend to depend on farming and agriculture for their livelihood. Learn the difference between connections & people, and how targeting unique subscribers could be a strong or leading element of a compelling mAgri business case in India (GSMA).

Sub-Saharan Gold Rush

"Another week and another bank in Africa is entering the mobile money space."
 
+ Banks partnering with mobile companies is the latest attempt by financial firms to tap into the continent’s large populace of the “unbanked.”

mAgri Case Study

+ Vodafone aims to increase productivity and income of smallholder farmers by providing actionable information. It does so by offering agricultural value-added-services helping farmers improve their agricultural practices and gain access to markets, as well as special farmer tariffs (GSMA).

Tanzania Offers Free Maternity Health Reminders

"Some people were telling me breast milk is not enough for the baby, they even advised me to give my baby porridge so that she doesn't feel hungry."

+ More than 5 million text messages have been sent to subscribers, who get health information and reminders for doctor's appointments direct to their mobile phones - many of them in distant parts of Tanzania. With 25 million subscribers, the country has the highest rate of text messages sent per month in east Africa, according to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.



Feature Update: Skip Logic & Simplified Splits

You may have recently noticed a change in the appearance of your Flows. In an effort to improve the flexibility of the RapidPro Flow Engine, we’ve updated the platform to include “split” steps and allow actions to operate independent of messages. 

In the Settlement Resource flow pictured below, you’ll note that upon starting the flow the contact is directed to the appropriate step based on the settlement value present in their contact profile. If they’re a resident of the Ubumwe settlement, they’ll receive resource recommendations based on that location and issues pertinent to its residents. The same goes for the Batsinda settlement. If the contact’s settlement value has yet to be collected, the contact can be directed down the “other” path, where their settlement value is collected, their contact profile is updated to include that value, and they’re prompted to restart the Settlement Resource flow to be routed to the appropriate resource guide.

New1Splitpng

You’ll note that the split step is gray as opposed to blue. This distinction indicates the passive nature of the splits. Any values that pass through these steps are automatically split and then passed to the appropriate step, all without waiting for a response from the user. Whereas response rules wait for a contact's response, split steps move the contact along based on a flow field, contact field, or expression.

Newpng

An added benefit of this update is that open-ended, multiple choice, and numeric responses can be solicited through the same input form. To collect the response solicited by a message step, simply add a “wait for response” step and designate the rule(s) you’d like to run against it.

Lastly, you’ll notice that action steps may now operate independently of messages. This is illustrated in the example below, where the contact’s response is collected via the “wait for household members” response rule, updated to their “household size” contact field, and then directed to the appropriate step based on their location.


New2Actionpng


To learn more about split steps, review our corresponding documentation.

To try out our updated Flow Engine, sign up for a free account. New sign-ups receive 1,000 complimentary credits and unlimited access to support.

To learn more, check out our Learning Center.



mComm Weekly: July 20th, 2015

The week's most compelling mobile communication news in 10 links or less

Free RapidPro Courses

+ The RapidPro community site launched this week. Among the goodies: two free courses aimed at helping you design and deploy your RapidPro mobile-based communication app. RapidPro is the open source platform that powers TextIt (RapidPro).

New TextIt Case Study: Mobile Agriculture in Kenya and Zambia

"It's the farmers on the ground who are the first to know whether there will be a problem with the harvest in a given year."

+ Assessing new methods of understanding and better informing farming decisions in Kenya and Zambia, Indiana University’s Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change (CIPEC) recently completed a year-long SMS-based crop failure early warning system pilot in Zambia using TextIt. We spoke with CIPEC Director Dr. Tom Evans about the project.

Rules of Engagement

“There are three things you can bring to bed with you at night: your dog, your spouse, and your phone.”

+ When a company chooses to engage in customer service via SMS, an appropriate communication strategy must be in place. If done properly, SMS campaigns can build a strong relationship with your customer base. Follow these rules of engagement to get the most out of your mobile communication program.

What Comes in Must Go Out

“It’s a two-way street.”

+ Data has been critical not only to analyze the impact of programs, but also to evaluate the resources that will be required following an emergency. The crux: data shared is every bit as important as data collected.

The Hard truth of Hardware Donation

“There is no hardware Santa Claus.”

+ Wayan Vota, Senior Mobile Advisor at FHI 360, discusses the pitfalls of soliciting hardware donations and presents a more effective strategy for getting phones to your target population.

A Difficult Choice

+ Farmers in rural China have chosen cell phones and twitter over toilets and running water. To them, this is not a hypothetical choice at all, but a real one...and they have made their decision in massive numbers (Technium).

Mobile Birth Registration

“There are many parents living in remote areas who are unaware of the importance of birth registration.”

+ UNICEF, in cooperation with the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab, along with Telenor Pakistan, is all set to launch a pilot mobile registration project which will facilitate parents who wish to register the births of their newborns with one click. It is estimated that over 60 million children under the age of five are deprived of legal identity in Pakistan.

Paperless Hospitals

“The public health department's SMS-based daily monitoring system ensures instant availability of information on critical health parameters.”

+ Breaking away from the monthly paper-based evaluation system, the state health department of Maharashtra, India has adopted SMS-based reporting to improve timeliness in reporting specific, time-sensitive health metrics to bypass current bottlenecks in the flow of data.

Sign Up

Sign up for a TextIt account today to start building your own SMS application. In keeping with our goal of fostering development, we provide 1,000 complimentary credits to every new account, as well as country-specific guides to integrating with local carriers and international gateways.

We understand that flexibility is key when deploying an SMS or IVR application, and that’s why we offer a simple prepaid model that lets you add credits to your account only as you need them.

To learn more about TextIt, visit our Learning Center, review our documentation, or watch this short video: