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Text in Effect

Dan Jones

NOON -- My fellow blogger Craig Mathias is looking forward to a new post-PC world of mobility -- a grand vision of connectivity and freedom from the desktop. (See Bad for Them; Good for Us.) Sometimes, though, it's the small steps that make the difference in the world of wireless.

For instance, I'm in London, eagerly awaiting the return of some visa papers after waiting in the baking sun outside the U.S. embassy for what seemed like an age on Monday. Normally there's no exact way of knowing when you need to be at your home address to collect such documentation -- they just tell you it will be several days at the earliest.

This time, however, the courier company that is delivering the papers texted my mobile to say that it had the papers at its depot and when it could deliver them. OK, so they gave themselves a nice big window to deliver them in, and I had to high-tail across the Southeast to make sure I was back at the ol' homestead. But still, the text alert seems so simple and useful, yet -- as far as I know -- not many companies use them. The online travel firm Orbitz is one of the few other companies I can recall that does this. They send out alerts to remind you what time your flight is and if it is going to be delayed.

I know we're all looking for Next Big Thing in wireless and mobility, but sometimes its the simple use of existing technology that can be most helpful, textually speaking.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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12/5/2012 | 3:47:14 AM
re: Text in Effect
See Unimobile, which became part of EFI (? yes, the printer company, it's a sad tale) and finally Verisign. Sold/sells a nice little alerting platform for exactly this kind of thing.

Most companies aren't willing to spend the extra $0.25 or so it would cost to send the alert, and the US carriers *still* haven't figured out that they could do a revenue share here by billing back to the phone account... not to mention that the receiver probably has to pay $0.10 for the privilege (again, showing the cluelessness of US carriers)...
12/5/2012 | 3:47:13 AM
re: Text in Effect
If I want my bank to transfer money to a third party online can I set up the transaction but before it can go through the bank sends an SMS to my mobile with a code. I input the code and the transaction is processed. It adds perhaps 10 seconds to the proceedure. It makes your phone's SIM the physical key for online electronic banking. Very neat and effective. And the bank doesn't seem to care about the cost of the SMS.

This application probably won't change the world as the "Next Big Thing" but it's certainly an advance.
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