Companies worldwide are using SMS to improve their service or to communicate with customers, with some of the most common uses being marketing campaigns, delivery notifications or verification codes.
However, whilst these uses are now commonplace, some companies have some truly innovative uses of SMS. Here are 6 examples that we love:
1. I’m in the moo-d
smaXtec specialises in monitoring cows via sensor technology. The process works by placing a sensor into the cow’s stomach, which tracks minute by minute data including the temperature of the cow, the pH of its stomach, movement and activity.
The sensor means that farmers can receive timely SMS updates about the current reproductive status of their cow, the onset of heat and if a calf is about to be born. It also picks up on health conditions that can be related to pregnancy, such as a fever, unusual drinking behaviour or symptoms of a metabolic disorder.
As messages are sent in real time, farmers are informed of changes as soon as possible and can take prompt action accordingly. This ensures that cows can breed when they are at their most fertile, and that problems associated with pregnancy can be dealt with immediately.
2. Don’t forget your baby’s vaccination tomorrow
In Kenya, less than half of pregnant women have access to hospital facilities. Many also don’t have access to the internet, but mobile phone usage in Kenya is dramatically increasing.
Totohealth has taken advantage of this increase in mobile phone ownership and created a solution to help pregnant women without access to these services. It uses technology which allows for messages to be sent to Kenyan parents, during pregnancy and for the first five years of the child’s life.
Parents will receive timely text messages based on the stage of pregnancy and then the age of the child. The messages draw attention to things parents need to be wary of at particular stages, meaning that they are more likely to notice any health problems that the mother or child has.
3. Your dog has been found
Losing a pet can be devastating. Furthermore, even if someone finds your pet, it can still take a long time to be reunited - microchipped pets still have to go to a vet to be identified before the owner can be located.
Lost Pet Finders offers a solution to this problem; when someone finds a lost pet, they can text the shortcode listed on its collar. All they have to send is the ID number of the animal, which will also be on the tag. The owner is then notified by SMS that their animal is safe.
This innovative use of SMS ensures that owners are informed as quickly as possible of the whereabouts of their pet. Crucially, this could save the time and money that is associated with the microchipping process, as well as giving owners almost instantaneous peace of mind.
4. One large burger with cheesy chips, seat 139 row 22
Buying food and drink at a sports stadium is never an easy task; the queues generally result in chaos and you can be waiting forever just to get a hotdog. Queues at half time in particular can be so long that some fans end up missing a part of the game.
Many sports stadiums are now giving fans the option to have food delivered to their seat, which means that crowds and queues can be eliminated and that no one has to miss the game.
All fans need to do is text what they want (plus their seat number) to a shortcode, then wait for delivery - genius!
5. How much is my goat worth?
In third world countries, many depend upon their livestock for food or to make a living. However, few have access to information about the livestock market, meaning that they might be unaware of emerging trends or changes related to trade. These changes could massively impact farmers’ ability to sell their livestock and support their families.
LINKS provides an SMS solution which allows farmers across Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya access a livestock market monitoring system. Real-time market information is available on request via SMS, which helps producers, middlemen and traders, all of whom may not have internet access.
This means that everyone is kept in the loop and farmers won’t encounter any surprises!
6. If you get out of bed, there’s coffee waiting for you!
Ever need a little nudge to get you through the day? A bit of positivity to perk you up when you’re feeling low? Or maybe just some help getting out of bed in the morning.
Shine offers On-demand life coaching, delivering daily self-help, advice and encouragement. It’s designed to feel just like a friend - a friend who always says just what you need to hear and won’t let you down or forget to text you back.
Shine targets those in their teens and twenties, proving that it really isn't all about chat apps for Millennials; SMS can still be an effective way to communicate with them, as long as the content is relevant to their interests.
Amy Hart is a PR & Content Marketing Executive at Zensend, which provides SMS solutions for businesses, in response to the growth in application to person messaging around the world.
Amy is an English Literature and Language graduate from the University of Nottingham. She has a background in PR and Journalism, frequently writing for The Tab, her own blog, or as a contributor for others. She also specialises in social media marketing and creative writing.