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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article

August 31, 2010

FrontlineSMS Now Features Multimedia Messaging Support And Scheduled Reminders

By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor

FrontlineSMS is award-winning free, open source software that enables a laptop and a mobile phone to transform into a central communications hub.

As part of a new software release, FrontlineSMS has included two new features into its open-source SMS communication platform. The upgraded FrontlineSMS software will allow organizations to send/receive multimedia messages (MMS) via a standard email account. MMS messages are complex form of SMS messages with inclusion of text, images, video and audio. Using the extended features, FrontlineSMS empowers large groups of people to share any kind of information wherever there is a mobile signal.

FrontlineSMS is the first text messaging system that enables grassroots non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in developing countries to communicate effectively using a mobile phone. Social and environmental organizations can now incorporate photo, audio and video documentation along with text messages using the unique MMS feature. It also encourages innovations like the FrontlineSMS: Medic partnership with Cellophone which will provide enhanced medical diagnostics via MMS.

The much awaited Reminders plug-in is another unique feature that allows organizations to schedule email and SMS reminders for a specific date range and interval. The reminder can be set on the basis of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or by specific day(s) of the week. In response to widespread demand, the Reminders plug-in was created by Dale Zak, a mobile developer and member of the FrontlineSMS community also working as the Mobile Project Manager for Ushahidi.

The first widely recognized public deployment of FrontlineSMS was during the Nigerian elections in 2007 following which users have given it a new meaning by applying it in various creative ways thus leveraging its new features. Indonesia’s Babakan Sari Community Health Center is eager to implement the upgraded communication software to reach maximum Tuberculosis patients. It can also be used to prompt patients to take anti-retroviral medication, remind parolees to meet with probation officers and help special needs populations to live independently.

FrontlineSMS operates on a computer connected to a mobile phone or modem, using which users can broadcast targeted text messages to subscribers and also receive information from anyone with access to a mobile phone.

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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