Developing an SMS Processing Software for Resource-Poor Contexts

Purpose: The ability to implement SMS services by responding to SMS requests is largely the preserve of huge organizations having constant internet access. Our purpose was to create affordable SMS processing software that requires no internet connection and can seamlessly integrate into existing software (desktop and online).

Design/methodology/approach: A variant of the waterfall software design approach was used. This model (Sashimi) allows for overlapping phases of the waterfall model. After initial requirements capture, an online review of ten (10) existing SMS software was made. Development was divided into three phases; Standard SMS application (send/receive), Processing functionalities and Independent tier creation.

Findings: Findings revealed most existing SMS software applications required internet connection and contractual agreement with a Telecommunication Service Provider to successfully process SMS messages. Information gathered suggested that to successfully implement an internet-less SMS system, the new system must make use of the service offerings of the basic and extended AT commands set (AT commands are instructions used in controlling a modem. AT is short for ATtention).

Research limitations/implications: Phone modems can be used as SMS gateway however, not all phones make available the full AT command set. Some implements only the basic AT commands set with customized versions for the extended commands set.

Practical and Policy implications: The end product allows small and medium scale businesses to take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by SMS, tapping into the huge market for SMS ($86Billion – 2006 global survey). Companies need not modify or change existing software code to handle SMS transactions.

Social implications: Today health professionals, education experts, businesses and even governments can extend their service offerings through the use of cheap SMS transactions.

Originality/value: Through the software, end-users are able to seamlessly integrate and interface with any existing software and process SMS messages, all without the use of internet.

Keywords: Global System for mobile communication (GSM), XML Web Services, GSM Gateway Device, Short Messaging Service (SMS)


Parker, J., Afedzi, E., Danso, B.K., Boateng, R. and Mbarika, V.  (2010) Developing an SMS Processing Software for Resource-Poor Contexts,  Anthology of Abstracts of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.

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This entry was posted in ICT, Poverty and Development, ICTs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mobiles for Development. Bookmark the permalink.

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