SMS savings for surveyors group

Country Wide Surveyors is piloting the use of text messages to communicate information to its 550 surveyors across the UK, in a...

Country Wide Surveyors is piloting the use of text messages to communicate information to its 550 surveyors across the UK, in a bid to improve efficiency and increase awareness of any central IT problems.

The move marks an increasing acceptance of short messaging services (SMS) for business use, following its massive popularity among consumers.

SMS is more cost effective than Wap phone or personal digital assistant-based applications, as messaging is relatively cheap - as low as 4p per message - and it can use existing GSM networks, rather than more costly GPRS or 3G infrastructure.

The surveyor group is initially using SMS, based on the Text Now! desktop application from software provider Red Rock, to text surveyors who need to know whenever there is a problem with the central IT infrastructure.

"The basic principle is that a surveyor can dictate his report via his mobile phone to a voice server stored on a central network," said Ian Streeter, IT operations manager at Country Wide Surveyors.

"The helpdesk can use the software to inform surveyors when the dictation system is unavailable and also when we are planning downtime for maintenance or configuration work on the central system," he added.

The speed of data transfer was the main attraction of using SMS, Streeter said. "We now have the ability to get small pieces of information out to our surveyors through the click of a button."

Country Wide Surveyors expects to expand the service to enable directors to quickly get messages to staff across the business when required, Streeter added.

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