Damon Cooper's BLOG
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November 22, 2004
Check Out a Live (but very simple) Blackstone SMS Demo App
Just a very quick-and-dirty example, but if you have a U.S. based cell phone or mobile device, you're welcome to check out a very simple interactive menu-based app, powered by Blackstone.

Now, while menu-based textual apps are not necessarily the best or preferred use case for SMS, this does demonstrate a (very) simple example of one type of usage of SMS.

This simple little app has two menu options:

1 - Stock Quote
2 - Weather

Well, actually, that’s not quite true…Macromedia employees actually see additional options you don’t see, such as an option to use the internal Macromedia employee directory application, etc, based on the incoming phone number. The CFC looks up the incoming phone number in the employee DB, and if it's listed, the menu option is shown, valid and available.

A few of us in Engineering have our own menu options as well, only displayed and valid if the incoming request is from one of us.

To check it out, (US phones only), simply send any text to phone number "48477".

(TIP: If your phone has an SMS text "chat" window, enter "chat mode" for the most fluid experience with this type of interactive menu-based app).

Here are a few SMS application example ideas:

- Airline 2-way flight change notification and rebooking
- SMS Banking, Credit Card and Account Alerts
- Real-time News Alerts (ie ABC News)
- Package Tracking (ie UPS)
- TV Voting and Messaging (ie American Idol)
- Mass media Voting & Contests
- Mobile 411 Lookups
- Mobile Company Directory & Phone Lookups
- Customer Feedback & Loyalty Programs
- Interactive Stock & Weather Alerts (1- or 2-way Push or Pull)
- GSM Device Apps (ie transmit GPS & telemetry, remote device monitoring, vending machines, gas pumps, even GPS Coke cans! (CocaCola's US Summer 2004 contest), and
- YOUR ENTERPRISE APPS (PO approvals, critical notifications, phone directory lookup, CEO dashboard & alerts, meeting reminders, cancellations, SMS-Email bridging, etc)

This last one is the one that excites me the most and I think holds a lot of promise to help streamline processes, allow legacy applications to become agile, and enable new types of apps across organizations.

If anyone has ideas for some cool functionality I can add to this little "48477" demo that you might find useful, please let me know.

Damon

Comments

So, I've got this rather old phone, some old Nokia I enherited.

I sent a message to that number... and it said it was sent, but nothing else happened. Did I miss something, or is SMS only avaliable on newer phones?

Thanks,

Doug


Give it a shot again...I was messing with the app and had it down for a few minutes.


Works now. This is cool, but a pain in the ass on my phone... there's no way to remember "48477". I have to be in the root menu to even be notified that I've recieved a message.

I assume a lot of this is usability problems fixed by newer phones.

Doug


I think that's generally correct...I think most phones now have some basic type of built-in phonebook utility to store phone numbers, and many also now have chat modes for text messaging.


Will us non-US folks get to try this at some point or are we stuck in limbo for now?


Yes, but you need to be on the beta which has a sample app built-in and is way cool!


Too bad I can't test it here (Holland). Will there be a code example available for blackstone SMS applications?


I got no results back, Damon. How long does it usually take? I'm using TMobile.

Rey...


Should just take a few seconds. Send me your number offline and I'll see if your message made it to the server, and if the response was sent to your carrier.


Note for International folks:

Sorry about that, but this little demo account is setup with a US-only aggregator with a US Short Code, so this little demo is usable by US/Canada subscribers only.

This in no way reflects a limitation of Blackstone, just the aggregator/provider and U.S. Short Code we're using for this demo.

You'll want to look for an SMPP account aggregator/provider that services your desired carriers in your desired parts of the world (ie Mobileway I believe connects to carriers world-wide).


So does anyone have any ideas for new functionality on "48477"?


Nice app Damon. I was thinking about NFL/sports scores. Last week I was stuck at a thanksgiving event and in a bathroom break I tried texting Google's 46645 "Bears score" to receive a reply that it was something they are working on.

Could you publish the code for the app to illustrate how easy or hard it is? How did you get the 48477 number? Is that an arrangement with cell phone companies? Basically I'd like to know the mechanics behind having my own text service.