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SMS Text Messaging Taking on a New Role

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March 19, 2012

SMS Text Messaging Taking on a New Role

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Like any communication medium, text messaging has matured and evolved over the last few years to become more than just a tool for individual users.

With our society's ever-increasing reliance on mobile devices, SMS text messaging has developed into a platform for businesses and other groups to connect directly with interested consumers through permission-based programs.

One of the biggest SMS developments has been in the emergency services space, where a number of police departments have begun offering residents access to an opt-in platform that sends out emergency messages via text.

The most recent example occurred just today, when the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) announced that they will begin utilizing a service called Nixle Connect to communicate missing persons reports, traffic incidents crime information and safety tips through text messaging, according to

Just last week, Southern Wesleyan University announced that it has adopted a solution from CallFire that enables the school to send out quick updates on snowstorms, tornadoes, forest fires and hurricanes. Interested users simply send a text to a predetermined number and they are added to the list.

In a recent interview at ITEXPO East 2012 below, TMC's (News - Alert) Juliana Kenny sat down with Mark Rafalko, CEO of TSG Global, to talk about the revolutionary course that SMS texting is on. Check it out after the break.

Other groups and businesses are relying on SMS as a virtual inbox of sorts, where they can receive messages from hundreds or thousands of consumers and automatically reply with information that is pertinent only to the individual users.

Take Calgary Transit, which is rolling out a new service that enables bus riders to find schedule information in near real-time. Riders simply text their stop code to a five digit number and they will quickly be greeted with a list of the next scheduled departure times. "Riders can get more detailed information by adding the route number to their text, preceded by the # sign," says CTV Calgary.

While these services are mainly for convenience, for-profit businesses have jumped on the trend as well. The basic premise is to ask users to opt-in and give their consent for brands to send them targeted, preference-based marketing materials – including special deals and discounts – for products and services that they are actually interested in, rather than bombarding them with unsolicited spam emails and junk mail.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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