September 20, 2010
Smart SMS Creates Virtuous Circles
By Bob Emmerson, TMC European Editor
Imagine a solution that enables people in developing countries to generate revenue for themselves while helping the surrounding community within an entrepreneurship business model. For example, in the developing world, there is a growing need to send public information about health, education, alerts, aid instructions, agriculture, emergency, community development facilitation, etc. That’s clear, but the business model has to be practical and cost effective given the fact that financial resources are severely limited at the receiving end.
Adegu has created an innovative messaging solution known as Smartscreen that has the requisite functionality. Think of the solution as a message broker that enables messages to flow between two parties. The sender pays for the message, which can be sent from the Web or a mobile phone through SMS or MMS. These messages go over a GSM network to the owner of a SMScreen media player, which is a device that connects to smart mobile screens, which can be LED displays, mobile phones or TV screens.
The owner is the entrepreneur: he/she provides the service to the local community and in remote locations the power for the player and display would typically come from solar panels. They receive a percentage of the fee that the sender, e.g. a health organization based in Europe or North America, pays to the company that hosts the platform, and in certain circumstances the media player can be subsidized, e.g. by the organization since they can now get information out immediately across a large area. There is less need to make visits, so the financial savings are significant.
In a nutshell, the concept is very simple: enable focused content to be delivered at low cost and in real time to well-defined target audiences. Media players can be installed in public places like hospitals, clinics, points of social gathering, places of worship, public transportation, etc. Messages can be sent concerning public announcements, disasters early warning, evacuation alerts, and instructions for aid delivery.
If we jump to more advanced economies there are any number of interesting applications. For example, taxis in up-market tourist locations have displays that carry static advertisements for various attractions. Adegu’s solution would allow a local facility to send a welcome message that targets sports fans arriving for a particular event, Moreover, it could be synchronized with the flights and only appear in the taxis that were in airport area. This is enabled using real-time GPS location retrieval.
Bob Emmerson is TMC's (News - Alert) European Editor. To stay abreast of the latest news affecting the European market, check out Bob's columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison