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June 2, 2006
CF7/Flex 2 Users: CSC Opens Registration of 6-Digit Mobile Codes

The Common Short Code Administration has just announced that in conjunction with US mobile carriers, they're making available new 6-digit short codes for use in SMS applications.

Get 'em while they're hot :) Up to now, only 5-digit short codes have been available (ie Google’s "46645", etc).

The introduction of cross-carrier 6-digit codes is an indicator of the sharp increase in demand created very recently as organizations finally recognize and move to claim the massive ROI mobile-enabled applications can provide.

Coincidentally, we've seen a major surge in the deployment of 2-way session-aware SMS Text-enabled applications using ColdFusion MX 7's built-in SMS Gateway, and some of the applications are very, very cool. Everything from online Premium SMS (pay-per-message) services, mobile gambling, web user identity verification to mobile-enabling existing Web and business applications.

Event Gateways image

Mobile-enabling existing Web and business applications and workflows especially makes for great ROI when you're talking about enabling an application to "reach out" in a workflow scenario to be able to ask a question or extract a decision from a decision maker, regardless of where they are on the planet. Getting a real-time decision or approval made can reduce hours or days of lost "wait" time in critical business processes, and that means real-measurable ROI for many, many organizations.

Many customers are researching their options to build or enable these mobile SMS apps and when they discover that ColdFusion MX 7 ships with all the tools you need to build interactive, 2-way, session and client-aware applications in CFML, it uses the same point-to-point industrial-strength protocol used by the wireless carriers to communicate and transfer SMS traffic among themselves, and is actually wireless-carrier certified by carriers such as AT&T Wireless, etc, and works great with SMS Aggregators like m-Qube and Click-A-Tel, PLUS the fact that these apps can be built and tested and ready for live deployment in a matter of DAYS with CF7, and can deploy their apps on their standard J2EE servers as standard EAR/WAR compiled Java J2EE apps with CF7, it’s a pretty straight-forward decision.

More on ColdFusion MX 7's SMS Gateway here: http://www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion/event_gateways

And building an SMS app (or mobile-enabling an existing application) really is amazingly simple with CF7. You can create a basic "echo: [whatever-you-typed-on-your-phone]" app in about 5 minutes or so, and test it out with the built-in SMS Test Server (ie phone company server), Phone Emulator (visual UI of a phone interface that talks to the SMS Test Server) and an SMS Gateway in CF7.

Check out the 2-way, interactive menu-driven sample apps in the CF7 {cfusion}\gateway directory using the built-in SMS Test Server, Phone Emulator UI and Sample SMS Gateway for a quick taste.

Of course, mobile-enabling your Flex 2 applications will also be super-easy and extends the possibilities of applications you can create if you're using ColdFusion 7 on the back end. Imagine having a 2-way interactive conversation (with Flex 2 and ColdFusion 7.0.2 push-to-client capability) or real-time workflow dashboard updated with input from a senior manager's cell phone. The ROI (and coolness factor!) of RIA's just went waaay up :)

Some places we’re seeing organizations make use of mobile-enablement of existing apps or workflows include PO approvals, critical notifications, help-desk services, phone directory lookup, CEO dashboard & alerts, meeting reminders & cancellations, SMS-email bridging, new user signup security verification (code sent to phone must be entered into the web app for verification), and any place workflows of any kind have time-critical steps that involve people.

Event Gateways image

Another type of application that is ripe to take off for organizations with geographically-dispersed remote devices that periodically require human intervention, is the SMS-enablement of those devices. The devices can be queried as to their status, location, content levels, readings, etc, and can "call home" to a central office when they need help, maintenance, refilling, have been tampered with, etc.

Examples include devices that transmit GPS and vehicle telemetry, remote device monitoring, vending machines, gas pumps, natural gas or water meters, tanks, ships, fleet trucks, cars, even GPS Coke cans! (ie CocaCola's US Summer 2004 contest)...basically any time it’s cheaper to send a text message than it is to send a human (or just isn't possible to send one), SMS makes great sense.

And with CF7, building these industrial-strength, 2-way session and client-aware apps is possible in just minutes.

See my previous posts on the following topics for more info and next steps to make sure your app and organization can leverage the ubiquity of mobile phones to streamline workflows, add security and maximize your applications' ROI:

Some additional CF7 mobile SMS-enabled application ideas

CF7 SMS Applications Made Easy PPT Presentation

Finding an SMS Services Provider for your app

Native SMPP vs Web Services for SMS apps

Have fun, and I look forward to hearing how you were able to streamline your organizations processes and maximize ROI!



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