Providing an easy way for website owners and others to enter this arena — as well as offering an easy upgrade path for the largest of operations — is Visualtron Software and its VisualGSM (www.visualgsm. com) product lineup.
Available as a free download, the Visual GSM SMS Broadcast Server Lite edition is quickly deployable, manageable and configurable; and according to its makers, offers “most of the basic features of sending an SMS, plus smart messaging.”
While this Chinese/English SMS Broadcast Server targets home users, the company says the software also enables business organizations to “send or broadcast SMS from their computers or from their websites.”
“This will allow your websites to become fully SMS enabled,” states the Visualtron website. “Not only will your websites encounter more friends and customer visits but it might just give you the added technological advantage that you need in today’s era.”
The system works by attaching a compatible mobile phone to a PC using a phoneto-PC data transfer cable, or via attaching a GSM modem to the computer. Once configured on your own web server, the SMS Broadcast Server will allow your website’s visitors to send SMS messages to other mobile subscribers, using your website and mobile phone (or the optional GSM modem). While the texting charges an operator might incur this way could make the process cost-prohibitive for some applications, within the confines of a localized dating community, or as a push-marketing technology used by the site’s admins and not available to general members, for example, the possibilities are attractive.
The VisualGSM SMS Broadcast Server Lite edition requires an IBM compatible PC with a Pentium III, 64 MB of RAM and Microsoft Windows 98, or better. Compatible mobile phones include the Siemens C35/S35, while a GSM modem such as the Wavecom unit may prove a better choice for most power users.
The system supports Unicode messaging which allows users to send Chinese SMS using a non-Chinese mobile network, and is deployable on both intranets and extranets.
Other features include an address book with the ability to import and export message lists from Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape Mail and Eudora — as well as auto-detection of mobile device setup configurations, and a message merge function that is similar to a “mail merge” for broadcasting SMS to message lists. An API is included for hooking into third party applications.
An enterprise edition is also available, which among other upgrades offers smartload balancing and comes bundled with a high-performance GSM modem. A number of add-ons are available, as are other systems, such as a mobile authentication server.
Previously, XBIZ reported on opportunities in the Chinese chat / social media market — and VisualGSM is one tool that can help entrepreneurs explore these new possibilities, wherever they are, or the language that they use. If you are looking for a way to send text messages to select groups or individuals, right from your desktop, laptop, website or custom applications, then VisualGSM may be right for you.