How to Build SMS Based Applications

build sms applications

Just a quick update.

The next article I’ll publish will be about receiving SMS messages on your computer.

There are interesting applications you can build with SMS, some require you to be able to receive SMS messages as well as send them:

  • Phone number verification. After the user has supplied you with their cell-phone number, you can send a code in an SMS message to a cell phone and have the user confirm that code on a web page.
  • Remote control. You can write an application that waits for incoming SMS ‘commands’. Your application sends the commands and returns the results of the commands via SMS.
  • SMS alerts. You can write an application that monitors your computer/software/network and/or website and sends out an SMS alert whenever there is something out of the ordinary.
  • SMS marketing. After you’ve captured you’re audience’s cell phone numbers, you can occasionally send reminders, offers, coupons, etc you get them back to you’re website.
  • SMS voting. Made popular by shows like American Idols, voting by SMS is one of the more successful applications of SMS.

Of course depending on where in the world you are you could get charged for incoming SMS messages. In the US it is common to get billed for incoming SMS. So running a voting application over SMS could become very costly.

In Europe incoming SMS messages are almost always free, so the voting application is easier to realize.

There are, both in Europe and in the US,  possibilities to use premium SMS messages. Premium SMS messages typically involve you sending a message for which the user will be charged more than normal, part of the premium the user paid will go back to you, the sender.

To implement applications that deal with premium SMS messages, you can’t rely on just a GSM modem or cell-phone attached to your computer, you’ll need a different setup. This will be a topic for more articles in the near future.

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