Saving lives with the Auron SMS Server

Auron Software

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.

Automatically checkup on (Elderly) patients

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

Disaster relief

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.

Hot Radio

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.