In the past year we’ve discussed a number of applications for SMS in every day live. We’ve learned that SMS remains extremely important because even today, it is still the ‘greatest common denominator’. Every cell phone in the market can send and receive SMS messages straight out of the box. No internet access required. And that is where SMS can save lives.
Connectivity without internet
SMS becomes especially important at times when it really matters. When human lives are at stake for instance. In times of need you want to reach people. You want to know if they are OK, if they need help. Or you want to give information, let people know what to do in dire situations. And there’s not always an internet connection available. So connectivity without access to the internet remains very important.
Let’s take a closer look at a few examples for which SMS is key.
- Coordination of disaster relief
- Checking up with elderly patients
- Health related focus studies
When thinking of disaster relief SMS plays an important role. Think for instance about the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. At that time the national emergency number got flooded immediately. The authorities responded by setting up a short SMS number that citizens could use to text their exact location and explain what help they needed.
In that particular situation the Auron SMS Server, then still a part of ActiveXperts, was processing the SMS messages and relaying them to the volunteers for translation and for dispatching help.
Other, more common projects include checking up with elderly patients or carrying out focus studies.
In the first situation you may have a hospital or pharmaceutical company that wants to interact with their patients. If a medication has especially harmful side effects or could cause complications you want to be able to check-up regularly. An effective method is to have a patient fill out a short questionnaire about how they are doing on the medicine. That way a healthcare professional will be automatically alerted if dangerous side effects start to show up.
In the case of focus studies it’s usually more general. You could have a University that wants to know the state of STD awareness in groups of disadvantaged youths. In this case the Auron SMS Server will initiate a questionnaire with a group of participants. The researchers then access the database that the Auron SMS Server builds up. This way they will find out more about the state of knowledge in the focus group.
Now that we’ve examined a few important ways of how to save lives with SMS, let’s have a quick look at the ‘How to’ of this.
Most of these projects boil down to a citizen, a patient or a study participant that fills out a questionnaire. In some cases they initiate the dialogue, and in other cases the Auron SMS Server initiates the dialogue. But the gist of it is largely the same.
For most of these projects we’re able to fall back on a fun project we did several years ago to improve listener engagement with a radio show called Hot Radio. We’ve documented this interesting project as a case study at that time. Have a look at the Music Trivia quiz we did back then for ‘Hot Radio‘.
It feels great to know how that project and the need for engagement at Hot Radio has helped to improve so many lives since then.
Alerting through SMS messages is still a great idea, this is now more clear than it has ever been. Most people can no longer even fathom a live without their mobile. Every mobile phone supports SMS and will buzz for their owners attention if it receives a new message.
This article explains why it’s incredibly useful to have your existing monitoring software use the Auron SMS Server for alerting. But first a birds-eye overview of how to set this up. Scroll down if you are only interested in the reasons why.
For most cases you will configure the monitoring software to alert the SMS Server and the SMS Server alerts your employees.
Some monitoring software already have built-in support for using the Auron SMS Server. A great example is the ActiveXperts Network Monitor. The ActiveXperts Network Monitor is an excellent product that has users all over the world that monitor networked equipment and services for interruptions or failures.
Here are five reasons for using the Auron SMS Server for alerting:
5. Automatic fallback if sending fails
What if a network outage prevents you from sending the alert? With the SMS Server it’s easy to setup an automatic retry or fallback trigger. You can make sure that your alert arrives by retrying it on a different communication channel.
4. Use your existing employee directory
Most monitoring software will have you setup an address book with contact information to use in case of an alert. To a manager this means having a redundant administration. The SMS Server does away with this with the ability to use any existing data source as a source for contact information.
3. Use any SMS Server channel type
The SMS Server is a specialized message processing server. It has full support for sending SMS and E-mail messages though all common protocols. So instead of finding the device or provider that is supported by your monitoring software you can turn things around. The SMS Server will work with almost any provider or GSM device out there.
2. Track if the alert was received
Instead of just ‘fire-and-forget’ you may want to know if an alert arrives on the target mobile. The SMS Server fully supports SMS delivery reports.
1. Trace everything
Whether you need it for a postmortem analysis of an outage or just for ad-hoc troubleshooting purposes, the SMS Server traces everything. All messages that are sent and if they arrived. Each message has it’s own detailed trace and each communication channel has its activity view. You’ll never need to wonder about what the SMS Server is doing or what it did at any given time.
So, let’s get started!
Download a fully functional 30 day trial version of the SMS Server here. The SMS Server installation packages contains everything you need to start sending SMS messages right away. And if you do run into anything or if any questions pop-up. Please contact us.
This post introduces an Auron SMS Server case study that enables bars and retail shops to enforce social distancing rules through the use of SMS.
The case study contains everything needed to setup and test the application. The only things you will need is a windows PC and a couple of minutes. You can use the SMS Server trial version as well as the test and demonstration SMS gateway.
Covid-19, the new Corona virus, is currently wreaking havoc in most of the world. Especially for bars, retailers and other businesses that normally cater to groups of people. Fortunately it looks like more and more businesses are now able to open up again as long as they can keep at least 1.5 meter distance between customers. This is challenging because a lot of businesses have don’t have enough space available to guarantee this distance.
In the case study we propose a kind of reservation system where a customer sends an SMS to request a time to shop and the system automatically schedules the customer to a time slot. An example SMS exchange would look like this:
Basically the reservation system needs only these inputs:
- The maximum number of customers that can be inside the location (shop or bar) at one time
- The average length of time a customer spends inside
- The opening times of the store, shop or bar.
Based on this the system is able to automatically schedule visits. When a customers sends an SMS with a time proposal the system will try to fit the customer in within an hour of the proposal. Failing that the system will inform the customer and ask the customer to try proposing a different time.
To get started setting up such a system yourself please read the full case study here. If you need any help setting this up for yourself don’t hesitate to contact us. Of course we’re also available for any customization if needed.
We are proud to announce the next major release of our flag-ship product: The Auron SMS Server 2020.
This new release is without a doubt a big leap forward for the SMS Server. Not only have we added a lot of new features, we have also greatly improved the overall performance.
Ready for the cloud
As it has been our main focus in developing, we are now ready for the cloud. With CPU and database time being valuable, you want a solution that only spends what it needs and nothing more.
Version 2020 requires a lot less database communication and at the same time overall responsiveness is greatly improved.
We have achieved this by introducing a completely transparent event engine.
Under the hood the SMS Server can now nudge channels, as well as the SMS Server Manager, into action without passing through the database layer.
This means that messages are now being send and processed with minimal delay.
Build your own secure SMS center
A big part of our efforts went into the SMPP client and server channels. Most notably we have added TLS support to the server and client.
Furthermore we have added the possibility to run multiple SMPP server channels side-by-side. And each SMPP server channel can host an unlimited number of SMPP client connections.
The SMS message object has been expanded and now includes almost every property that is part of the SMPP standard.
Streamlined trigger scripts
Trigger scripts have always been a top feature of the Auron SMS Server. An effortless configuration gives you unprecedented levels of customization.
The most notable improvements:
- The ability to trigger on any non-transient message status. Such as: ‘Received’, ‘Sent’, ‘Delivered’, ‘Blocked’, ‘Failed’, etc..
- Trigger scripts can be automatically generated.
Automatically generated trigger scripts
The following tasks now require no programming code at all to implement:
- Automatically forwarding or replying to messages.
- Query a database or a web-service and reply.
- Setting up a complete working SMSC from scratch.
Other new features
There are a lot of other improvements beyond the highlights that are listed above. Some notable ones:
- IMAP support for receiving e-mail messages.
- Advanced GSM configuration and troubleshooting.
- Syntax highlighting everywhere.
- Message views can now have customized row colors.
- Scheduling messages directly from the database has never been easier.
A complete list of changes and improvements is available in the release notes.
Before upgrading please have a look at the complete upgrade guide.
If you are new to the Auron SMS Server please download our fully functional 30-day trial. This gives you a good idea of how this product will improve your business.