Vanuatu needs our help

image001Cyclone Pam was just the beginning of the hardship for the people of Vanuatu.

On Friday 13th March, more than 264,000 people were in the disaster zone when the category 5 cyclone hit.

According to Unicef more than half Vanuatu’s population including 88,000 children, have been affected by the cyclone which was one of the most destructive natural disasters in Vanuatu’s history.

The cyclonic winds destroyed homes and crops while hospitals, electricity, water supplies and telecommunications were severely damaged.

Many small towns are still without clean water and food supplies, and aid workers are concerned about a potential outbreak of measles.

New Zealand and Australia have been at the forefront of rescue efforts, with millions of dollars raised through everyday people reaching out and donating what they can.

When Maori Television approached us to help with their SMS fundraising drive, we jumped at the chance to get involved by supplying the short code for free.

The campaign is being run in conjunction with Unicef, with 100% of funds raised going towards their work supporting cyclone-affected communities in Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Jo and Gareth Morgan have also pledged to match your donation up to NZ$1m – effectively doubling any contribution you make.

To make an automatic $3 donation, simply text AWHA to 305.

Thank you for your support.
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Why SMS?

Since the very first text message was sent more than 22 years ago, mobile phones and the way we communicate has changed dramatically.

But despite the rise of the smartphone and the popularity of Over The Top (OTT) messaging services such as Whats App and Viber, SMS has remained resilient, and is still a primary method of communication.

The unrivalled reach and effectiveness of text messaging means SMS is the ideal channel for companies to communicate with their audiences.  Here’s four compelling reasons why:

SMS Reaches Everyone With a Mobile Phone

According to Mobiforge, there are nearly 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, and most of them are capable of SMS.  Text messages do not rely on an internet connection, meaning your customers or audience do not need to be connected to the web or use the same app to send or receive a text message.

Growth in SMS 2FA and Password Security

Two Factor Authentication has become the most preferred method for companies to provide security to its customers.

The reason it’s so popular is because people keep their phones within arm’s reach, and texting is far more convenient and much cheaper than a phone call.

SMS performs well

SMS has far better engagement rates compared with other modes of communication including email:

1. 97 percent of mobile subscribers will read an SMS message within 15 minutes of receiving it (Nielsen Mobile)
2. 84 percent will respond within 1 hour (Nielsen Mobile)
3. 98% of text messages are read, compared to 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts (Frost & Sullivan, Slick Text)

SMS is Compatible With A2P, OTT and M2M Messaging Services

It is somewhat ironic the astronomical rise of OTT services that put the handbrake on SMS growth, is now fueling the popularity of SMS, thanks to the requirement for a reliable, ubiquitous method of communication.

Traditionally App to Person (A2P), which is used for a variety of purposes such as payment confirmations, appointment reminders and travel updates, was rather cumbersome and expensive to deploy.

These days, a new generation of cloud-based platforms such as Modica’s web-based platform Omni, provides an enhanced level of connectivity including delivery receipts, cross carrier short codes, premium rate messaging and reply paths.

As a trusted telco partner with many global network connections, we can help you reach your customers wherever they are in the world through a simple connection to our Mobile Gateway API.  Depending on the range of  services required, our experienced team can get them up and running within 2-8 weeks.

Any questions?  Want to find out more about our messaging services? Contact us, we’re always happy to help.

Important News for .nz domain names

domainzDo you hold a .nz domain name? Have you registered or reserved that domain name directly at the second level?

Most people with existing .nz names – such as .co.nz, .org.nz and net.nz have preferential registration or reservation (PRR) and are able to register or reserve their name direct at .nz before anybody else gets the opportunity.

But people with preferential rights wanting to register or reserve, only have until 1pm today, 30 March 2015 to do so. If you don’t take action before then, the name will become available for general registration.

Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan said more than 50,000 shorter .nz names have so far been registered or reserved.

“However, there are tens of thousands of people entitled to get the shorter version of their name first who are yet to take action,” Monahan said.

Registering one of the new, shorter .nz names is done through any .nz domain name registrar. Reserving is a free service and can only be done at a dedicated website set up by the Domain Name Commission – anyname.nz.

Some people may find the shorter .nz version of their name is ‘conflicted’, meaning it has been registered in at least two ‘second levels’ – for example, one person may hold the .co.nz version, while another may hold the .org.nz version.

If you have a conflicted domain name, don’t worry, you will still be able to use the same domain name you’ve always had.

There is a process for dealing with conflicted domain names – click here for more information, or talk to us, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Increased Coverage and New Partnerships

New Zealand software as a service (SaaS) company Modica Group is pleased to announce a new partnership in Trinidad and Tobago.

Modica founder Stuart Wilson says the partnership with Concepts and Services is part of Modica’s strategy to find more local partners in emerging markets around the world.

“With an existing customer base and local presence, Concepts and Services is just the type of high quality company that is a logical partner to represent Modica.” Concepts and Services which is a provider of engineering, project management and technical services was a good fit with Modica, Stuart says.

While Trinidad and Tobago has a small population with about 1.5 million mobile subscribers, the broader Caribbean region presents a significant opportunity for Modica to aggregate high quality access to mobile operators in the region.

“This relationship builds on our strong presence in the Dominican Republic and allows us to expand further in the region, particularly as no one else has really established there yet.”

Modica is continuing to actively look for more partners in emerging markets in Central and South America, South East Asia and Africa by providing its white label platform to local companies on a joint venture basis.

Over the past few years, Modica has nailed down deals with telcos around the world to increase its coverage, and can now deliver messages via 1400 mobile networks worldwide.

This increased reach enables Modica to offer a superior messaging service to more people and places – including the robust, cost-effective two-way messaging services in the US.

message apps key to SMS growth

With the astronomical rise of data messaging such a iMessage and Google Hangouts, it’s no surprise person-to-person (P2P) SMS is fading – but that’s only half the story.

Studies around the world have identified vast opportunities in Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, and less widely documented is the potential for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Over the Air (OTA), also known as Over the Top (OTT) messaging.

In this recent article in the Blouin News Blog Bart Vandekerckhove, Head of Mobile Messaging at International wholesale telecoms carrier BICS notes that even as OTT messaging businesses continue to enjoy international success, SMS will act as a consistent and useful technology.

“[SMS growth] will be driven by the growth in A2P messaging and enterprises’ need for a reliable, ubiquitous technology to communicate with their customers wherever they are in the world.”

Think back 10-15 years ago when text messaging started gaining momentum.  You’re sitting on the couch watching your favourite current affairs show on television.

The presenters hold a survey on a particular issue, asking viewers to text their vote to a designated shortcode – costing the user anywhere from 20c-80c – essentially ruling out a large portion of the population, skewing the vote.

Fast track to today when the vast majority of the world’s population of 7 billion own a mobile phone.  More than half own a smartphone and communicate via a huge range of platforms – in particular via free OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber.  Suddenly there’s much more opportunity for companies and brands to connect with customers and users.

Now thanks to easy-to-set up applications that allow fast notification and alerts through SMS, such as Modica’s cloud-based platform that can collect data from a variety of sources in one place, people can weigh in on public debate, vote, donate money or enter competitions and subscriptions, from a variety of channels.

While Modica has been providing A2P messaging services for more than 10 years now, over the past two years we’ve partnered with OTT message providers around the world, allowing us to cover multiple channels and ensuring our customers near-ubiquitous coverage.

M2M is another area with huge potential we’re working in as well.

Think of machinery in remote locations such as weather stations, irrigation pumps, water reservoirs, wind turbines and solar powered stations.

With no internet connection and poor mobile coverage, M2M messaging is ideal for collecting bulk data from a multitude of machines in a vast area, and putting it all in one place, giving the user easy access to the data from anywhere in the world.

Capacity Magazine’s recently released report SMS Wholesale Special: The A-to-Z of A2P, pinpoints five specific industries to watch if the growth in A2P SMS revenues reaches expectations: Transport and Logistics, Healthcare, Banking and Finance, Retail and Hospitality and – ironically – OTT players.

Modica provides a range of mobile messaging services via their cloud-based enterprise platform, and with more than 10 year’s experience, are just the folk to talk to about the best and most efficient way for you to connect with your users.