Two-way text service between PCs and phones gets message out fast
London, Hong Kong, Wellington: 7 February 2005 The aftermath of the destructive Tsunami in the Indian Ocean has initiated a belated discussion on an early warning system for the region. A company has come up with a solution using technology that is already available and devices that are widely in use.
The system involves sending text messages (SMS) instantly to mobile phones, thereby giving a warning to the affected population. While the mass distribution of texts is not new, the capability to handle effectively two way messages is new. Two-way capability enables feedback, ensuring that reports are accurate and that help can be delivered quickly to where it is most needed.
This technology is already incorporated in Chatbar.com, a new consumer service that is proving increasingly popular. It could be easily adapted for humanitarian use. The Chatbar service allows you to log on to any internet connected PC and send and receive text messages. It is fast, discreet and low cost, and also maintains an audit trail of all chat sessions. Since its launch in December 2004, the service is handling messages for users in 61 countries.
Paul Roberts, director of ForgetMeNot Software, the company that developed Chatbar and its underlying bi-directional text messaging technology, said:
“One way messaging is not enough, it must be two way to be effective. Telling people to run for the hills is a basic step. However Chatbar enables control room staff/ civil defence staff to issue not just warnings, but also get real time feedback from anywhere in the affected region. This feedback could range from "Sector Five is all clear" to pinpointing where there are problems, where extra staff are needed, where and what help is needed etc.
“We have the core technology essential for a major part of the early warning system that is global by nature and available NOW - not in one year’s time. We plan to offer our technology at cost for such humanitarian projects”
Families, friends and others seeking to contact people affected by December 26’s lethal earthquake were offered free text messages to and from affected countries through www.chatbar.com. This facility covered the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Chatbar is a new consumer service from ForgetMeNot Software Limited. Based in Hong Kong, with offices in San Francisco and London, ForgetMeNot has developed a suite of SMS messaging tools, appointment management systems and data backup and storage services. The messaging tools provide two way SMS messaging between a PC and mobile phone, allowing simple and immediate chat-type communications for individuals as well as a new, cost effective mechanism for companies to communicate with customers and field staff. The appointment management systems are productivity enhancement tools that allow users (primarily appointment-based businesses) to backup appointments, reduce missed appointments or “no-shows,” enable streamlined confirmation and cancellation, and cut time and costs associated with client management. For more information visit www.chatbar.com or www.fmnsoft.com
Europe: Tom Burgess +44 845 12 22 007 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia Pacific: Andrew Smyth Director, ForgetMeNot Software Limited +852-946 55560 email@example.com
Australia/New Zealand: Paul Roberts, Director, ForgetMeNot Software Limited +64-211 240 948 firstname.lastname@example.org North American contact: John Carroll email@example.com
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