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Beyond the US: How SMS is saving lives outside the Internet’s current reach

With over 6.3 billion mobile connections in the world (based on one UN study), text messaging in developing and underdeveloped countries still trumps other communication methods (that we all may take for granted). The power lies in the ease of implementation of cell towers, in areas where traditional ‘pole and line’ networking would be economically unfeasible.

One company, FrontlineSMS, was one of the first platforms to help harness the power of mobile technology for social change.

Having seen how SMS was widely used in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2004, Founder Ken Banks built and launched the first prototype of FrontlineSMS, with its first official user being Kubatana Trust, in Zimbabwe. Now, it is being used in many regions affected by conflicts and remote places, to help the local not-for-profit and government organizations effectively communicate life and death information with their audience.

In many of these regions, with limited cell towers and a growing number of connected basic phones, an SMS message is more likely to delivered (even if delayed) than a call. It can also have an up to 97% readthrough rate, compared to voicemail. FrontlineSMS is a desktop software, which enables instantaneous two-way communication with any mobile handset. It’s easy to implement, simple to operate and no Internet is required. A compatible cell phone or modem, with sufficient credit to send and receive text messages, is all that is needed.

The power of text messaging around the world is evident. With a more robust broadband architecture available to many of us and to those we intend to engage with, are we really doing all we can to maximize the ministry’s potential?
SEE ALSO: 5 Real Life Examples of Ministries That are Using Our Text Messaging System

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author: Jason Alexis

category: blog, Hurricane, communicate

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