SMS AS A BUSINESS MARKETING TOOL HAS "MORE POTENTIAL THAN E-MAIL"

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Empowerment company Sechaba Technology Services has unveiled an SMS solution that it says will allow companies to promote their solutions through cellular phones.

Indian-based software company Lifetree Convergence developed the MDX+ solution and Sechaba offers the solution as a wireless application solution provider through its HP Proliant server infrastructure.

The technology's interactive communication component supports both ‘push' and ‘pull' services on wireless devices. Recipients have the opportunity of conducting 'virtual sessions' that maximise the exchange of information, meaning a cellphone user could SMS a request for information to a company and receive an almost instantaneous response.

With over 15 million cellphone users in SA, Lifetree SA operations director Reshaad Ahmed says that, from a business perspective, the SMS market has even more potential than e-mail. "Although this technology is not necessarily new, South African businesses are now beginning to take cognisance of the business benefits it delivers.

“As cellphone users become more educated, it opens up new cellphone capabilities and services.”

However, Ahmed points out that local network providers will need to get on board if SMS capability is to be optimised. “I don't think the mobile networks have really embraced the potential of SMS. The technology can take interaction to a new level, but it will take time. There are still a lot of things to be put in place but we are getting there.”

The solution runs on a Linux platform and can therefore provide the flexibility to meet client's requirements, says Sechaba, and can be tailored to provide marketing information to existing users or clients.

HP ISS server business unit manager Paul Collins believes Linux is gathering support from the business community. “Customers are starting to look seriously at Linux, even for mission-critical functions.

“We are just waiting for an easy way to deploy it. Once we get that, it will be truly pervasive,” says Collins.

SA lottery company Uthingo recently implemented the solution, enabling it to provide lottery players with lotto draw results via an SMS service. After paying an initial fee, members receive the bi-weekly lotto results on their phone.

The company says it is sending out up to half a million SMSs on lotto draw evenings.

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