While at the Biola Digital Ministry Conference, there was a heaping of conversations about mobile apps and mobile ministry strategy. But, the best question came from a few brothers from West Africa who not only see the potential for mobile tech in ministry, but see it from a context that is altogether a challenge for some of us in [more] developed nations to understand. Primarly, their instincts for mobile begin with non-smarpthones and SMS. While I could mention a few activities underway and the (small) collection of resources we’ve put together, not being able to get them up and going before we parted from the conference was a downer.
Perhaps God had my excitment to come later for a reason. The introduciton of FrontlineSMS version 2 came not too long after the start of our conference. And now, a few weeks later, I’m getting a chance to take a look at what seems to be an impressive and exciting update to what has already been an oft-recommended product.. In terms of solutions for creating and managing connections via mobile, you will find it very hard to do better than this award-winning and open source SMS (text) messaging tool:
What’s different about the new platform
FrontlineSMS Version 2 makes it easier to create and manage common SMS activities like making announcements, conducting polls and automating replies to incoming SMS. Our polls activity visualizes incoming data, allowing you to quickly understand the results. You can manage messages more easily with a flexible filing system, featuring folders and an archive capability; as well as an inbox, outbox, and the ability to monitor pending messages. Important messages can be starred for later, and a more robust search allows you to locate messages based on name, location, or date as well as by activity, group and folder. You can export your messages limited by date range, or from any search result, collection of messages or group of contacts.
The architecture of the new software makes it stronger and more flexible, allowing developers and users to customize FrontlineSMS to better meet their needs, and integrate it with other platforms and systems. Browser-based and built to run on Windows, Mac and Linux, FrontlineSMS still does not need the Internet to work, sending text messages via a phone or GSM modem. Online SMS aggregators Clickatell and IntelliSMS are already built-in, for those with a web connection, and more services will follow in the months to come…
Read more about FrontlineSMS 2 at the FrontlineSMS Blog. View a walkthrough of some of the updated and new features of FrontlineSMS 2 here.
If your organization has deployed FrontlineSMS or similar SMS services for communicaitons we’d like to hear about your progress and successes (and even failures). These are the kinds of stories that mobile minsitry practioners pine for at conferences like Biola and many others.