Two Australian software companies seeking channel partners are giving instant messaging more text appeal.
They have created software that allows the dispersal of SMS messages from the keyboard to mobile phones.
Such messages can be used in advertising or political campaigns or for firms to keep in touch with their workforce.
Bond Wireless is a Microsoft software development house in Surfers Paradise that has created a range of text messaging products mainly for business use.
They include businesses sending messages to sales staff and other mobile workers, using a company PC or laptop. A new version of this software, SMS SecureTrans, was launched at CeBIT. It uses encryption technology and shared passwords between users to overcome privacy and security fears.
CEO, Clarence Tans, sees further uses for such text messaging, even extending into personal banking, as improved security overcomes a major hurdle to SMS banking.
Recently, SecureTrans was incorporated into the SHIP health clinic management software to improve the operations and patient communications at Queensland Health Clinics in a project with Dickson Enterprises.
Last year, Bond Wireless launched Campaign Messenger, which allows organisations, such as advertisers, retailers and political parties to similarly send text messagres, direct from a server.
Harris Technologies is master distributor.
Campaign Messenger has also been sold to integrator Opcom.
Users can instantly send upto 14,000 SMS messages in one batch at $0.14 each.
They include Coastalwatch which sends SMS surf alerts.
The product was also used in the recent elections in Malaysia.
A new version of the software, due inJuly, will offer two-way communication.
Currently, inbound messages are stored on a website set up for the client, but the new version will see the returned messages sent back to the application they came from.
Tan said his 10-employee business was moving from research into sales and marketing and seeking more resellers.
He currently had between five and 10 resellers, but wanted 20-30 in total.
Resellers can make a share of the SMS revenue in addition to sales margin.
The company is also seeking resellers for its Greetings2Fone product, a phonecard-like product whereby users, typically children, can send text messages from a website to a phone.
Another vendor seeking to beef up its channel is NSW-based Data Marketing Services.
The company is about to launch a range of Mobile Interactive products, which will allow Hoyts cinema and advertising agencies to create SMS competitions.
This will build upon its existing Mobile Messenger service which also sends SMS messages from the desktop. Versions range from a youth-oriented product costing $39 to a corporate product costing $499.
Users then pay $24 for each 100 messages they send.
At present, the company mainly sells direct to major retailers such as Myer, Dick Smith Powerhouse, Office National, Viking Office Supplies and over 100 resellers.
Saratoga Software in Adelaide acted as primary distributor but DMS was seeking more distributors and resellers, company founder, Stever Taylor, said.
Currently, the five year-old firm has six sales staff and two developers.
Mobile Messenger claims it has about 5500 customers. Marketing companies use the service to promote the movie Matrix 2 Reloaded and the drink, Vodka Cruiser.