Super-easy SMS/TTS/Audio Messaging coming soon to Magpi!
A few years ago, DataDyne successfully piloted the use of SMS messaging for both health worker training in Peru, and for agricultural messaging in Chile (watch video). In both cases, organizations were able to send scheduled and coordinated messages to farmers or health workers using very basic phones — and the pilots demonstrated that even something as basic as a daily SMS message could provide substantial and useful information to improve livelihoods and job performance.
Unfortunately, while those pilots demonstrated the usefulness of SMS, they were very much the “typical” pilot, involving lots of DataDyne personnel on the ground — which meant that costs were high.
So it has been our dream at DataDyne to make the same kind of scheduled and coordinated SMS messaging available — but with the ease of use and low cost of our widely-used Magpi mobile data collection system. And over the next two months we will be releasing just that: improved functionality within Magpi that allows our 20,000 users worldwide to continue collecting data easily and inexpensively, but will ALSO allow everyone with a Magpi account to use SMS for simple communications with their data collectors, staff, beneficiaries, customers, and others.
Imagine being able to send prenatal messages to pregnant mothers, administrative messages to field staff, voter registration messages, and so much more!
In addition to simple SMS, we’ll be allowing our paying subscribers to send messages as recorded audio or as text-to-speech (TTS, where a computer voice will read the text message over a phone call). This will make it possible to reach both mobiles (SMS, recorded audio, TTS) and landlines (recorded audio and TTS) — and to reach illiterate populations!
To make it even better, we will be including basic functionality even in the FREE Magpi accounts, continuing the DataDyne tradition of providing great technology that is affordable to every organization, regardless of funding.
The system will soon be undergoing a closed beta test in the US for vaccination reminders, but shortly after that it will be turned on for all existing Magpi users.
Also published on Medium.