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Ask the Expert| Building and Leveraging SMS-based Mobile Apps: What You Must Know

Group Description:

Of the estimated 700 million mobile phone users in India, roughly 600 million either do not have smart phones, or cannot access the Internet on their mobile devices – leading them to miss out on information and services that are readily available on the Internet. However, here’s where the low-cost SMS – accessible from even the most basic mobile handset - becomes a powerful tool. SMS-based apps have the potential to reach all mobile users without any issues of handset compatibility, and at extremely low costs.  So with a huge market, developing and launching SMS-based mobile apps can prove to be highly profitable for a young technology startup. But how does one go about developing an SMS-based app? What are the things that a developer needs to bear in mind? To answer your questions and tell you more, this week on the NEN Ask the Expert, we feature Narayan Srinivasan from txtWeb, a revolutionary SMS platform built for all kinds of information consumption.

 

How to post questions:

- Click Start a Discussion, located on the left coloumn of the group page

-Type your question, and click Post

- The expert will then reply to your question.

 

 

Discussion opens: Monday, June 20, 2011 | 10:00 am

Discussion closes: Friday, June 24, 2011 | 6:00 pm

 


Picture
Ashutosh Kumar's picture
New FREE Android Application for ShortCode
Posted by Ashutosh Kumar 1 year 42 weeks

Hi Friends,

   We had a need to forward SMS coming to a particular number to our server for particular business script. Therefore, we developed our own android Application which can forward any SMS or a keyword-based SMS to your server or our cloud-based server.

  Using this, you can avoid taking the shortcode contract from providers and use your android phone to do inbound Marketing/Inquiries. Your feedback regarding the application use-case will be appreciated.

 

best regards,

ashutosh

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
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Posted by 4 Store on 01 Aug 2012 - 03:24:14
Anilkumar jaladi's picture
i want to start retail mall in rural areas.
Posted by Anilkumar Jaladi 1 year 51 weeks

i want to start retail mall in rural areas.how should i start the business and what are the factors are cosidered before the start thebusiness.

 

how should i analyse the competitors in the market?

what are the  crm techniques?

Comments (2) | Post a Comment
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Posted by 4 Store on 01 Aug 2012 - 03:24:23
mobile:9701914139
Posted by Anilkumar Jaladi on 13 Oct 2011 - 02:54:20
gv kiran's picture
any one needs SMS or MMS or KEYWORD based applications
Posted by Gv Kiran 2 years 4 weeks

Hi Experts

 

if any one needs SMS or MMS or KEYWORD based sms services ,please contact me or if you have any innovative idea regarding SMS .please share with me .we will work together for making it better.im having 4yrs of experience in SMS mobile apps and SMS web apps.you can reach me at or 91 9959543701.

 

Thanks

GV

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
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Posted by 4 Store on 01 Aug 2012 - 03:24:23
vismit bhardwaj's picture
want to start business in marketing research,advertising n brand promtion in rural areas...plz suggest how to start or how to initiate..plz guide
Posted by Vismit Bhardwaj 2 years 13 weeks
Comments (1) | Post a Comment
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Posted by 4 Store on 01 Aug 2012 - 03:24:27
Abhishek Raj's picture
Real-time notifications
Posted by Abhishek Raj 2 years 15 weeks

Hello,

I'm working on an SMS application whose primary feature will be sending real-time notifications. For the purpose of this question, I'll use the example of a cricket score update service. 

I would like to offer two account options, one free, basic, and supported via ads, one paid, customizable and free from ads.

The free service will send messages like "the score is now 180 runs, 40 overs" while the paid version will have options like sending a message saying "Yuvraj hit a six in Warne’s final over”.

Comments (2) | Post a Comment
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Posted by 4 Store on 01 Aug 2012 - 03:24:30
Well there are many options for you. As you have mentioned already inserting ads is the simplest and easiest way to make money. You could tie up with sms providers and take a cut for the volume of SMS’s you are attracting for your application. Though you really need to have huge numbers to start a conversation with them. You could also tie up with the content provider of application(cricinfo or cricbuzz for example) and split the profits so to say.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 23 Jun 2011 - 01:18:37
Supriya Sup's picture
Payment Options
Posted by Supriya Sup 2 years 15 weeks

We are currently working on sms application targeting an age group of 16-23. And for the service we are offering, we would like to explore some micro-payment options. Since most of our target users will not have credit cards or online bank accounts, we would like to tie up with phone service providers to share revenue. Are there any other options?

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
To be honest, phone service providers would not entertain you unless you have huge numbers. And by huge numbers I mean few million SMS transactions in a day. That is the number you need to have to attract their attention. You could however tie up with SMS aggregators. SMS aggregators generally rent bandwidth from phone service providers and are the major point of support for solutions which have started out and are yet to reach the “million” mark in terms of daily transactions. There are many SMS aggregators in India. You could explore options of tying up with them.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 23 Jun 2011 - 01:19:35
Paul Praveen's picture
Making SMS apps interesting
Posted by Paul Praveen 2 years 15 weeks

How is it possible to make SMS applications more interactive and interesting when they are competing with apps on smart phone platforms? Can you share some ideas or point us to some apps that you have worked on?

Comments (2) | Post a Comment
sms-based mobile apps are luking interesting and also have wide opportunities available...u r ri8 sir!!!
Posted by Prabhu Kumaar on 17 Jul 2011 - 08:25:30
Good question. Considering that SMS is only text, it is a challenge to make the interaction interesting. However we have tried to solve that problem by developing our own browser of sorts. This ensures that interaction is rich and the end user needs to type very few keystrokes to continue interacting with the platform. You could check three apps we have on our platform and get a grasp of how our browser works- @wikipedia @movies @crossword. Also you could check a multi player game we have developed on sms. It’s called @triv.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 23 Jun 2011 - 01:20:14
rahul yadav's picture
How sms marketing works?
Posted by Rahul Yadav 2 years 15 weeks

In today's life daily we receive many sms promoting brands,products,services but how this actually works do they have softwares which automatically sends sms to mobile phone users from their database(server is required) or its manually & from where these firms get phone no's of users.

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
Well most of the firms use software which automatically send SMS’s to mobile phone users from their database. Its generally never done manually. Almost all bulk SMS providers work in this way. There are companies called SMS aggregators which act as an interface between companies interested to market their brand and service provider like Airtel and Vodafone. SMS aggregators generally have a huge database of phone numbers segregated by location. Companies generally approach SMS aggregators when they want some marketing/branding information to be sent out via SMS.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 23 Jun 2011 - 12:55:00
Perfect Solution's picture
SMS based Database Application
Posted by Perfect Solution 2 years 15 weeks

Hello Everybody,

I want to develope a SMS based application,where the user will send SMS from his/her mobile and the Data will be inserted into the Database at remote location..What software and Harware are required to carry out developing the above application????

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
This is pretty easy to develop on txtWeb. Just build a simple web application that has a HTML form which has a text box that accepts input and a Submit button that signifies the entry of an input from the user. Once you share the external facing URL of such an app with txtWeb , the same is live as a mobile app on our platform.Internally the input you accept through the web app can be stored in a database. For more details you could check the link- “How to generate HTML responses from txtWeb apps” by clicking this- http://www.txtweb.com/index.php?option=com_jwiki&Itemid=60 also check our app @crossword for more details.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 22 Jun 2011 - 11:51:58
Karthik S's picture
iPhone programming
Posted by Karthik S 2 years 16 weeks

I am new to iPhone programming and I was thinking of developing an sms application through which a user can send and receive sms inside my application - similar to iPhone’s own message application. I think apple doesn't provide any API regarding accessing sms inbox? Is there any other way around it??

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
We are a pure SMS based platform . We support infrastructure for users to build apps that can be used by any mobile phone be it a economical dumb phone or a high end smart phone like iPhone or android. Why don’t you start looking at our platform to build apps? That app wouldn’t require anything to download and could be accessed by anyone with a normal mobile phone.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 21 Jun 2011 - 11:49:51
Prashanth John's picture
Sending SMS to an emulator
Posted by Prashanth John 2 years 16 weeks

I want to know: Is there any way to send an SMS to an emulator through our .NET desktop application? 

 

Actually, I have developed a bill-notification service. A mobile application is developed (in J2ME) which is activated when an SMS comes on port 5000. It shows information to the user after extracting it from the received SMS. The user has the option to submit his response to the application. The application then sends the user-response back to the sender application. Now, the sender application has to receive and process the user-response.

 

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
We do have an emulator in place for any developer to test his app before going live. And yes it supports receiving message and sending back responses based on that message. However it is specific only to our platform and hence supports apps built on our platform. You could access it here- http://www.txtweb.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&Itemid=84
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 21 Jun 2011 - 11:19:59
Indira Venkat's picture
Usability / economics of building SMS apps
Posted by Indira Venkat 2 years 16 weeks

Hi,

I have a couple of questions on the usability and economics of building SMS apps.

A big pain with short code is no one remembers it. More importantly, no one wants to type more than few characters on Mobile, in case of sms or in case of app or GPRS!

People still want to make calls to local search instead of browsing their WAP site or sending SMS on short code! The key question is a) user behaviour and accessibility/usability – how can we improve it? b) how much does it cost  c) how much money you will make as app developer?

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
Let me take it one by one. A) User behaviour and accessibility- We have taken that into account. Since SMS is all text we have giving a lot of thought around user behaviour and designed our own browser to make SMS experience seamless. Responses on txtWeb are such that user just nees to reply back with a letter of the English alphabet to continue his interaction with the app. Just like you have list box hyperlinks and text box in the iontenet world we have built a response system that supports all this for apps on our platform. Try out our popular app- @wikipedia, @movies or @crossword to understand this better B) At present txtWeb is free for the end user. He only pays the normal SMS cost which he would incur to send a message to our Bangalore based number-09243342000. C) We do not have a monetization model in place currently. We are an experiment trying to test the waters. Once we have a critical mass of users and developers on our platform , we would actively look at various modes of monetization.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 21 Jun 2011 - 11:18:54
Ravi Kumar Narasimhamurthy's picture
Do not disturb directory
Posted by Ravi Kumar Narasi... 2 years 16 weeks

Any indication of the nos. of people in DO NOT disturb directory?

I think SMS may not be the right medium of  communication.

It is better to explore other ways to communicate like a social media etc......

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
That is a fair concern. However please understand that txtWeb is here to create value. Hence most of the applications on the platform are based on a PULL model, wherein a user has to send an SMS to initiate the communication. This is very different from bulk SMS service which spam people with deals offers etc. Hence on txtWeb you get the information when you want it by sending a message. So if you want cricket scores just SMS @cricket, if you want movies information just SMS @movies etc. We do have a PUSH model in place but that has severe restrictions and users need to register for an app to use it.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 22 Jun 2011 - 11:51:01
Prabhu Kumaar's picture
will the basic model mobiles will support JAVA Apps
Posted by Prabhu Kumaar 2 years 16 weeks

Sir,

   As you said there is a lot of indian mobile phone users doesn't have internet connectivity because of the lack of GPRS function.  But many of the  phone models which lacks on GPRS option also Lacks JAVA support..

How can we build apps for mobile phone users like them???               

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
I can talk for txtWeb here. We have built that platform in such a way that it is language agnostic. You just need to build a simple web application and host it. The rest is taken care by the platform. Please understand that when you build SMS based apps you essentially build web applications. This is very different from building a J2ME app or some other app which depends largely on the language supported by the mobile phone. SMS based apps on txtWeb do not require any download. You need to build a simple Web application, host it and share the external facing URL for the application with us. Then block a keyword against this app. Then just SMS the @ to our number and you are good to go.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 22 Jun 2011 - 11:49:18
ashish kolarkar's picture
An Introduction
Posted by Ashish Kolarkar 2 years 16 weeks

Wish to know how the SMS based mobile apps work? How can we leverage business through these apps? The trend of future?

 

Comments (1) | Post a Comment
SMS based mobile apps on txtWeb work the following way- Every app has a keyword. This keyword acts as a handle to access any application. So for cricket you could SMS @cricket, for Wikipedia you could access @wikipedia all to the same 10 digit number-9243342000. Every business can have an SMS existence via txtWeb. Just block a keyword and map content against your keyword. This content is then available to everyone who has a mobile phone. Many businesses are also providing SMS based solutions to end users. Content publishers can sign up on txtWeb and build apps that provide content . Examples could be cricket scores , auto fare details between locations etc. The trends for future- SMS based solutions are here to stay. For short crisp and ready information, SMS is the best solution at hand. As we see it, we want to build a active ecosystem where there are developers who build apps and users who consume it . We see txtWeb to evolve as a SMS based market place which allows anyone and everyone to consume content over SMS.
Posted by Narayan Srinivasan on 21 Jun 2011 - 11:17:16
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