Category Archives: Text Messaging

You will be making mobile payments, no doubt

Everybody agrees that mobile phones and applications are the hottest topic in technology. There is one area in particular however that is gaining a lot of popularity and will continue growing in the next few years; I am talking of course about mobile payments. This  technology allows the purchase of digital content such as ring tones or music and hard goods such as books, using a mobile phone.

There are currently 4 main models used for mobile payments;

  • Premium SMS (PSMS) – With this model, an end user can choose to buy a good with a mobile phone from a content provider’s website or by sending a text message to the merchant’s shortcode. The content provider will then send a premium SMS and the payment will be added to the user’s mobile phone bill. Sometimes the SMS sent by the end user to the shortcode is enough to bill the consumer without the need of receiving an SMS for the billing.
  • Direct Mobile Billing – In this model, the end user selects the mobile billing option when making a purchase at an e-commerce site and then has to go through an authentication process involving a secure pin and a one-time password, after which the consumer’s mobile’s account is charged for the purchase.
  • Mobile web payments (WAP) – The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is used for this model. The end user navigates through web screens and possibly other applications downloaded and installed on the mobile phone to make the payment.
  • NFC (Near Field Communication) – This system is still relatively new and it is expected to become one of the most popular ways to make payments with a mobile phone. It involves something as simple as waving the phone on  a reader enabled with NFC  to make a payment. Some smart phones already contain NFC chips to make use of this new technology.

Top companies such as Google are adopting these technologies and building their own products such as the Google Wallet, so stay tuned for new products and start betting on which will be the future winner in the mobile payments arena.

G+ professional community created an infographic describing how experts see mobile commerce in the next four years, focusing their attention in the NFC technology. Take a look and picture yourself waving your phone to buy a goodie because NFC is almost here;

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SMS alerts available? Oh yes!

SMS is very much alive! We are always hearing of some cool applications and services that utilize SMS to engage customers. Here are a few examples:

  • Text message program that sends SMS to smokers in order to quit smoking (US). The program can either be ordered by a smoker or by friends and families of smokers. The smoker will receive text messages to show the damage that smoking does to your health.
  •  SMS alerts for pregnant women (India). The SMS alerts will go from reminding the patients about their doctor appointments to the diet they should follow to have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Free real time text message sewage alerts after raw sewage is discharged (England and Wales).  Sites included in the Sewage Alert Service offer surfers, water sports enthusiasts and beach users the best beach experience possible.
  • The Namibian Domestic Workers Union performed a survey by SMS to allow the public to send their opinion on the appropriate wage category for domestic workers. This data would be gathered to come up with a  proposal for a minimum wage formalized to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
  • SMS program in Florida (US) to allow patients to send a text message to a dedicated SMS short code in order to instantly receive a message that lists the emergency room wait times for participating hospitals in their area.
  • SMS system that allows citizens  to learn the level of contamination due to ozone,  in order to help those with breathing problems and conditions of asthma (Spain).
  • Alerts via text message to warn of possible flooding, sent through the 93 water level sensors installed island wide in various locations (Singapore).

The most unusual I heard of? An SMS system alert for incoming missiles as an alternative to sirens (Israel)!

How do these services work? Users subscribe or sign up by sending a text message to a Long Code or a shortcode associated with this service.

If any of these modern technologies gave you an idea to implement an SMS service for your business or organization, you could start by visiting SMS providers like Nexmo SMS API, where I work as the Community Manager 🙂

5 News Media Sources To Get Your Daily Content

How to decide what are the best online news sites to get meaningful content?

  • Content that teaches you something useful, that you can enjoy and that keeps you up to date with the hottest topics.
  • Content that you can share with your community and that will keep your audience awake when they read it.

After a few months of research, I have found my favorite daily sources of information which I strictly read, simply because they provide meaningful data and I love it. Here are 5 of my favourite sites which I can’t get by without, in the social media ever changing world:

1.http://www.trove.com –> I found this personalized Social News Site through a tweet. It was developed by the Washington Post. Basically, the way it works is by building channels that will retrieve the information from many different online sources. You build your channels. A channel is a keyword or a set of keywords, e.g. ‘Mobile Marketing’. It will then retrieve news, blog posts and anything related to that topic. In order to show articles with your selected keyword, this news site factors in a reader’s likes and dislikes, combined with algorithms and articles selected by the editorial team.

2.http:// www.mashable.com –> Great source for news in social and digital media, technology and the web. Trove pulls news from Mashable and that is how I came about this one. Again, you can choose your interests and get news related to those or you can manually select what you want to read, e.g. ‘Technology’ . Like in Twitter, you can also follow and be followed by other members, get people and brands within the same field of interests recommended, share content from the site in Twitter, Tumblr  and so on. Mashable contains info and articles written by people collaborating for Mashable, however, Trove gathers info from sites like Mashable and many others, amalgamating them all together so you don’t have to visit them all to find the subjects that interest you.

3. http://news.ycombinator.com/ (Hacker News) –>Who hasn’t heard about this one? A social news website about computer hacking and startup companies. You can read news that are submitted by members and you can also submit your own news as long as they have some meaning for the community. Your news can be voted up, down or not voted at all. Obviously, if you submit interesting articles, this will have more impact, they will be tweeted, reach the top of the rank and more users get to read your article and comment on it…..

4. http://www.reddit.com/ –> Another great Social Newswebsite. Users have the option to submit links to content on the Internet or submit “self” posts that contain original, user-submitted text. Same as in  Hacker News, other users may then vote the posted links “up” or “down”. The articles that reach most votes reach the front page and of course will reach more eyes.

My fifth favorite is a little bit more unusual as it is more traditional than the others. The reason why I choose it is simple; Trove directs me to this newspaper very often with interesting articles about how indian organizations, companies and individuals are using the SMS communication channel. Guess what, that info is good news for Nexmo SMS API and for myself 🙂

5.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ –> The Times of India –> English language daily newspaper in India. According to Wikipedia, it has the largest circulation among all English-language newspapers in the world

A unique city surrounded by technology

Not in a million years I would have thought that I would end up reading technology articles, researching for websites and forums that talk about software development and technology and even discussing these subjects in my spare time. This is what living in San Francisco for 3 years, experience the work environment in Silicon Valley and finally move into working for a Startup company does to you 🙂

It is curious that it was not until I stopped going to Sunnyvale (which is supposed to be in the heart of Silicon Valley), that I realized I was surrounded by people who are either writing code anywhere they can find a WIFI connection, taking part on a business venture or attending a conference for app developers in the Moscone Center. Was I blind? No, just busy commuting to the heart of technology or what once was the heart. Bye bye Dot-com-bubble, hello Mobile world of possibilities.

If you want to be where it all begins, where successful companies such as Twitter or Zinga are born and brought up to success, without a doubt I would try San Francisco. It might be true that San Fran no longer has the main Financial District in the US or that the main port that once made the city well connected with the rest of the world is now in Oakland, but certainly, it still attracts entrepreneurs and bright minds to build the next idea that will turn around the world as we know it. You will find that brilliant minds are welcome, and  a huge contrast on the streets between technology experts and the ‘home of the homeless’ . Everyone is welcome here, be open minded and be a geek and you have a place in the unique city of San Francisco…

If you are really seriously thinking of bringing your startup to life in this city you will also be pleased to learn  that some lucky tech start-ups have just been granted a tax break from the Board of Supervisors that could save SF-based Internet companies millions. Of course, this is San Francisco, so if you are not among those that receive the tax break and you are not happy about it ,I found a website where apparently you can vote to give your opinnion https://www.votizen.com/issues/sfstartups/

Dear SMS: I still believe in you

This is officially my first blog post! (well, at least a blog called Teresa and dedicated to Teresa’s thoughts)

SMS will take a very important part of my posts and there is a good explanation for that. I have spent 5 years of my life working in the text messaging industry and with my current professional interests in Community Management, I spend most of my time reading about SMS in some form or another – news, articles, blogs, forums, Q&A’s…

Lately, I keep hearing that SMS is becoming old-fashioned and that mobile applications are overtaking some of the areas in which text messaging used to be the main communication channel.However, if that was the case, why are there signs everywhere that lead me to think the opposite?

Many companies stick to text messaging and new ones are adopting it. Companies as successful as McDonalds and Gap have launched text message marketing campaigns in the last few years and they are major established brands, that are not going anywhere and have the resources to use the best technology.

Leaving aside the main functionality of SMS for person to person interaction that we all use to tell our partners how late we are for dinner, and focusing on the Application to Business SMS interaction, there are still a lot of things that can be achieved with this technology. Text messaging is not only used  for  marketing but to communicate key information events such as time-critical alerts, banking, updates, reminders, mobile campaigns… When this kind of transactions are performed via SMS, there are a number of advantages that can’t be beat by any other new way of communication or technology, not even mobile apps.

What are some of the main advantages that make Application to Person (A2P) SMS communication unique and that will allow it to stay with us for quite a few years?

-Messaging performance and cost – it is reliable and cheap.
-Instant communication and interaction between a service provider and a client. Text messaging can go both directions : Business to Person and Person to Business.
-Companies also benefit of mobile receipts which allow you to get acknowledgement for your SMS. This is highly popular and successful in the financial-services industry as it provides you with the status of your message ,meaning greater certainty that your message will be delivered or that you will know if it wasn’t!
-You can reach users globally and by using solutions like Virtual numbers for incoming messages, users will even be able to reply from almost anywhere in the world.
-Think of how many people nowadays carry a phone and it is the first thing they check when they wake up and the last one before they go to sleep.
-Don’t forget that many people in different countries still do not have smart phones and also in some countries phones are more prevalent than the PC and internet, so there is an ubiquity to SMS reach.

Summarizing, yes I believe in the future of SMS and that is why it made it to my first post 🙂