The aim is to develop applications that enable the public to text in with queries about local products and services, and to give local authorities the tools with which to text back. Other possibilities include setting up ‘broadcast’ style SMS alerts that deliver information to opted- in members of the public.
Further ahead, as the public becomes more familiar with these services, there’s the potential to send texts with a ‘WAP-push’ link that could take recipients to mobile internet sites, where they could take part in mobile social networks.
zamano believes the broad acceptance of mobile among the public makes it an obvious choice for public bodies when considering how best to communicate with their customers. According to the Mobile Data Association, UK users sent six billion texts in December 2007, and 57 billion across the whole of 2007.
zamano already has experience of providing mobile applications for public bodies. For example, it developed a HelpText service for ChildLine in Ireland through which children can text an operator free of charge. Operators then respond with advice using SMS too.
Declan Pettit of Zamano said: “It’s easy to see why the local authorities would be so intrigued by SMS as a communications tool. Virtually all of their ‘constituents’ use SMS regularly, so it’s familiar to them. Also, because the mobile is so ubiquitous it means people can respond spontaneously to issues that affect them – such as non-urgent complaints about low-level crime. And in these environmentally-aware days text alerts beat paper hand-outs every time.”
zamano is a mobile specialist that provides messaging, advertising and billing services for various media brands in UK, USA, Australia and Ireland