Bulk SMS


Corporate applications that use the Short Message Service are currently few and far between. Most of the SMS messaging volumes are generated by consumer applications. The reasons are the older age of corporate mobile phone users and their lower price sensitivity, particularly since mobile phones bills are usually paid by the company. Corporate users are less willing to learn how to and make the effort to send a short message- they tend to use voice as their primary communications method. The main corporate applications based on SMS are:

Corporate Email
The Short Message Service can be used to extend the use of corporate email systems beyond an employee's desk and office PC. With 40% of employees typically away from their desks at any one time, it is important for them to keep in touch with the office at all times. Corporate email systems run on Local Area computer Networks (LAN) and include Microsoft Mail, Outlook, Outlook Express, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and Lotus cc:Mail.

Corporate email notifications are similar to Internet email notifications. Users are given information such as the sender and subject of the email. Any emails of a business or personal nature that are sent to the corporate email address can be sent out over the wireless network.

Because unlike Internet email notifications, corporate email services tend to use the existing corporate infrastructure and email addresses, this kind of email application tends to generate significant average quantities of short messages per user. Very few corporations have so far extended their office email systems out to the wireless environment, leaving a large opportunity for the deployment of such services.

Mobile Banking
Let us take a closer look at a specific kind of affinity program- mobile banking. The successful implementation of mobile banking programs incorporates several different elements discussed in this guide, such as Information services and SIM Application Toolkit.

Affinity programs and related lifestyle packages are a fast growing area of mobile communications, because as competition between network operators increases, differentiation and customization for specific user groups will be necessary to extend mobile phone penetration and usage. As such, they are likely to be a significant generator of short messages.

Electronic Commerce
Electronic commerce applications involve using a mobile phone for financial transaction purposes- this usually means making a payment for goods or transferring funds electronically. Transferring money between accounts and paying for purchases are electronic commerce applications.

The convenience of paying for purchases using SMS must be weighed against the related issues of security, integration with the retail and banking hardware and systems, and money transfer issues. However, this area of electronic commerce applications is expected to contribute to growing SMS traffic in the future, as mobile phone penetration delivers a critical mass of potential customers for such services.

Customer Service
By providing mobile phone customers will information about their account, the Short Message Service can help to avoid the need for expensive person to person voice calls to customer service centers. In the customer service environment, SMS can help to deliver account status information, new service configuration and so on, in particular when standard SMS is combined with a protocol such as SIM Application Toolkit or Wireless Application Protocol. Some network operators find significant financial justification for deploying a value-added services platform on the basis of what they save in customer service costs alone.

Vehicle Positioning
This application integrates satellite positioning systems that tell people where they are with SMS which lets people tell others where they are. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a free-to-use global network of 24 satellites run by the US Department of Defense. Anyone with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver can receive their satellite position and thereby find out where they are. Many commercial GPS receivers also incorporate support for the Russian equivalent of the Global Positioning System.

The Short Message Service is ideal for sending Global Positioning System (GPS) position information such as longitude, latitude, bearing and altitude. GPS information is typically about 60 characters in length, leaving room for other information such as the vehicle registration details, average speed from the tachometer and so on to be transmitted as part of the same short message.

Because the position updates are automatically generated, mobile network operators find that vehicle positioning applications are amongst the leading generators of short messages.

Job Dispatch
160 characters is sufficient for communicating most delivery addresses such as those needed for a sales, service or some other job dispatch application such as mobile pizza delivery and courier package delivery.

The Short Message Service is used to assign and communicate new jobs from office-based staff to mobile field staff. Customers typically telephone a call center whose staff take the call and categorize it. Those calls requiring a visit by field sales or service representative can then be escalated to those mobile workers using SMS. Job dispatch applications can optionally be combined with vehicle positioning applications- such that the nearest available suitable personnel can be deployed to serve a customer.

SMS can be used not only to send the job out, but also as a means for the service engineer or sales person can keep the office informed of progress towards meeting the customer's requirement. The remote worker can send in a short status message such as "Job 1234 complete, on my way to 1235". Because of the need to communicate with mobile workers and effectively and cost-effectively serve customers, such job dispatch applications are likely to be steady generators of short messages.

Remote Point of Sale
SMS can also be used in a retail environment for credit card authorization. It is particularly convenient to use mobile technology when making sales from, for example, carts in the middle of isles at shopping malls, at flee markets or at sports stadiums, where it would be inconvenient to trail a fixed telephone wire. A mobile phone is connected to a Point of Sale terminal such as a credit card swipe and keypad. The credit card number is sent to a bank for authorization. The authorization code is then returned as a short message to the Point of Sale terminal.

Over the Air
Over the air capability gives mobile network operators, application developers and corporate sales managers some remote control of mobile phones for service and subscription activation, personalization and programming. Over the air facilitates a number of end user applications such as remote service activation and update book updates.

Remote Monitoring
The Short Message Service can be used to manage machines in a remote monitoring environment. This application provides people with valuable information from a remote location when an important event occurs that they need to know about. The information is automatically delivered electronically without having to constantly employ physical resources locally on the off chance that such an event occurs.

Examples of remote monitoring applications include remote meter reading, sending computer system fault information to mobile phones and notifying companies about empty vending machines.

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