Building Block: Messaging
Maturity: BETA

Short Description: Facilitates notifications, alerts and two-way communications between applications and communications services, including short message service (SMS), unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), interactive voice response (IVR), email and social media platforms.

Full Description: Interactive communication services help digital applications communicate messages between users using mobile or other digital devices and other mobiles/devices/ backend enterprise applications based on specific triggering events. Based on the context and needs, the communication can be offline in the form of messages using telecom infrastructure, such as SMS, MMS, USSD, WhatsApp, Messenger, emails, social media, or live, video, audio, or chat sessions in real time. The communication may be initiated by events triggered by sensory or tracking devices, user activity or backend automation applications. The communication system may be preconfigured with indexed standard messages to automatically form and send appropriate messages based on events. Data repositories can be used to store the content of messages mediated via the interactive communication.

Other Names: Instant messenger, Mobile message campaign manager, Message gateway, Mobile gateway

Key Digital Functionalities:

  • Send messages based on a predefined calendar or based on external conditions or functionalities triggers
  • Receive incoming messages, store them and trigger actions based on rules configured to identify either keywords contained in messages, senders or other conditions
  • Place users into groups based on their profile or other parameters and target them with specific messages
  • Create message flowcharts to determine which messages should be sent and to whom, based on users’ responses or external conditions
  • Track communication requests from external applications, along with message, message ID, and associated information that describes who to send the message to and via what type of communication method
  • Retrieve appropriate messages from a repository if the message index is received, then populate blank portions of the message with local contextual content, such as name, date and location
  • Encapsulate the content into formats based on the transmission protocols (phone or Internet) and send it securely through the appropriate corresponding backhaul infrastructure
  • Collect structured data for rapid analysis
  • Discover and connect to remote devices on the Internet, streaming real-time multimedia data with appropriate signalling protocols to ensure a timely end-to- end transfer of information that is both network failure resilient and bandwidth efficient
  • Measure and log metering parameters associated with the communication services used

Examples of use in different sectors:

  • Agriculture sector: 
    • Can be used for rural advisory services (RAS) operated by private and public agencies
    • Farmers subscribe to this service (paid or free) and receive information such as crop advisories, pest alerts and weather alerts
    • The information is transmitted through predesigned text or voice messages, or via queries to a data repository
  • Education sector: 
    • Messages via SMS or WhatsApp to enlist potential participants for an online or blended course
    • Formation of WhatsApp groups among course participants and course facilitators to exchange information, share experiences, collaborate on projects or communicate alerts about upcoming events or deliverables
  • Health sector: 
    • Send patients reminders for medication, diet, activity and appointments
    • Remotely track medical devices or take the vital signs of patients at home or in a remote hospital
    • Supply chain management systems can use messaging services to notify low stocks of inventory
    • It can also be used to announce new programmes, report on diseases, notify the public or individuals about events, and share public awareness content over mobile phones and social media

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