Mobile Marketing with Android Swift SMS2Web

Mobile VAS has come a long way in India proving to be an indispensable channel to maintain competitive ARPU among mobile operators. The emergence of multiple media as well as increasing awareness in the general consumer has ensured that value added Services have become a part of life for many people. VAS has an additional benefit for marketers alike, to increase their outreach capability to segments which was hard to reach. Such channels consist of Short Codes Service, Long Code Service besides many others.

We at NextStag, felt the need to decouple the capability of providing SMS codes from operators and harness the power of Android to provide the LongCodes Service to marketers. With this aim in mind, we are glad to offer World’s First Commercial Virtual ShortCode Application running on Android “Swift SMS2Web”.

“The application gives your the power to advertise your SwiftSms2Web enabled Android phone number to consumers at large inviting inquiries and forward them to your CRM or Any Web page or to our Cloud Service, which will store the details of the message for you.With the application running on Android, you have in your hands the power to accept SMS on the handset and forward it to your server or SwiftSMS2Web cloud service. The opportunities are many: you might be inviting public to send inquiries on your number and forward these lead details to your CRM, or open a contest and accept response on SMS, Mobile Marketing.” – says Mrs. Karuna, Product Manager.

In additional to forwarding all messages to web, the application also has the capability to operate on SMS containing on particular keywords only; for eg-for a real estate marketer providing projects, customers will need to send SMS “HOME” to the android phone (having the application running), and the customers number can be captured in the system for later perusal. With the option to auto-reply from the application itself, it enriches the user-experience. For businesses not having their own server and IT-expertise, there is option to forward the SMS to swiftsms2web.com cloud service. Using the cloud service enables you to have a performance review of different keywords and customer leads also.

More Information about the application http://www.swiftsms2web.com/ . The application is also available for providers at Marketplace on https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mobisnow.swiftsms2web

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My Journey with android development so far..

Coming from a Symbian world, stepping into the vast system of Android was stunning at first. But, as days rolled on, the real charm of the Android ecosystem caught on with me, and I was another Android Fan out here. Unlike Symbian, in which one had to track feature compatibility with a multiple capability matrix consisting of Version, Feature Pack and Family, android has fewer capability determinations to pass.
These days when mobiles are getting smarter, mobile industry is getting competitive and  warmer than ever before. And in such a scenario, Android is taking lead in the market by its versatility and open philosophy.  Android does many things for the convenience of its users.  It provides users a way to share and communicate through applications.

A number of key applications come with the purchase of an off-the-shelf android device. Google market is a very aggregator and platform for quality applications.
Possibilities with the smartphones are widely extensible, from managing your daily routine tasks to creating and handling important documents, mailing via Gmail, navigating with the Maps,  social interactivity by tweeting and posting,  having hands-on exciting utilities, addictive games, diving into the web and much more.

Unlimited needs of the users  lead to android custom programming for applications, which inspires and motivates developers to create more powerful apps with better performance. Android’s focus has been to create a right mix of rich-user experience mixed with optimum device drainage. This is reflected in the granular settings level which enable a user to toggle status of each functionality of device as per his lifestyle and device-usage.

Thread based messaging, keeping things as Favorites, scheduling tasks, synchronizing useful data, and making best use of Widgets makes life simple and saves a lot of the time. Its sensible responsive features like Auto-complete text, calling, navigating and google search through voice are truly remarkable.

Its wireless service is impressively strong. Web pages load faster and refreshing rate is pretty good to give a high-speed Internet connection. In my view, Android rendering of Flash content has been the best among phones till now. Light-speed browser with a fast scrolling through the web pages lets you go flawless.

Android’s unified notification infrastructure is an another reason to dump any other OS. You are always in the know about things going on in your system via the notification tray. The notification system lets you stay on top of the things you care about without making the process overly cumbersome.

Being a developer its an amazing and exciting experience of learning and creating apps on Android. Android is really a playground with millions of applications to develop and  use. All the Java and mobile lovers surely like to be a part of this technology and be imaginative to any extent with it.

Android intends to motivate the creation of more innovative and creative applications for mobiles offering greater control to the users. More of its strength lies in its open source framework, extensibility, featuring powerful SDK and its collaborative approach of programming that keeps all resources separate while using each other.

With the availability of Android’s online full-fledged documentation guide for developers with number of examples makes it quite easy to start with your own First Android App. You just need to have Java Development Kit (JDK), Android SDK, Eclipse, Android Virtual Device (AVD) as a plugin inside the eclipse added with your imaginations, creativity….and you are ready to go!

Many of the Google APIs makes life easier and give us opportunity to become more innovative by implementing and modifying these APIs to any extent making many new things possible in mobile technology.

Android market place motivates developers to publish their smallest to biggest applications at one single place. Millions of applications can be found placed well in their categories. Synchronizing reviews and updates with the developers and sending regular update alerts to the users is managed efficiently by the store itself.

Publishing FREE applications is pretty *SIMPLE* and takes maximum of 24 hours, depending on the application to be displayed at the Market Place. So as per my experience with Android so far, it is not only interesting and inspiring but also experimental and full of fun too. It’s fascinating to play around such an interesting and open mobile technology.

The Android developer reference is also replete with full assistance to someone who is totally new to the domain. Develops should especially keep a watch on new API levels and new SDKS and components being added to the ecosystem on a regular basis.

This is the reason Android is emerging as a favorite of mobile app developers. Life should be made easy by technology, and Android can be the real platform to achieve this dream.

NextStag Launches HelpDesk Portal

NextStag has announced the availability of NextStag Helpdesk for its customers to enable them to track their submitted requests. The new helpdesk system is one more channel by NextStag to let.
NextStag Help-desk enable customers to use multiple conventional medium like Email or a dedicated portal to submit a request. The portal also enables them to view a ticket’s history and the resolution status. More options, like Escalation Management and Service Level Agreement enforcement are built into the system to assure customers of a guaranteed service delivery.
Besides simple and fast communication, the other benefits of NextStag Helpdesk are Transparency, and direct support.

The emphasis on direct support from NextStag cannot be emphasized enough by Mr. Pushpendra, Head of Delivery & Customer Services, who says “A direct communication with NextStag for resolution ensures that you will be served by our well endowed engineering team which knows our platform in and out. Rather than outsourcing our resolution process to a third party, we believe in handling services ourselves so as to fulfill the same guarantee and trust which our customers impose in us while starting a relation with us”.

The helpdesk enables customers to login from anywhere 24X7 and submit a request from any web-enabled device, or via any email client. Besides acknowledging receipt of your request, you have the peace of mind that a team of dedicated engineers has got on task to resolve your issue as earliest as possible, with quality. A resolved ticket is marked as “Resolved” by customer only, and not by our team, to ensure that you are satisfied with the resolution.

General Security Practices in VoIP and NextStag Platform

As with any emerging and popular technology, one of the demerits associated with it the attention from rogue elements which is generated. It becomes not an option, but a necessity to be on toes to adopt best practices to prevent your infrastructure being compromised.

Apart from implementing good security practices, we regularly advise our patrons on good security practices, most important among which are the following:

  1. User Level Security.
  2. Operations Level Interfaces password should be strong and more than 8 characters. A strong password is  combination of digits, characters and special characters.
  3. Username and Passwords should not be same.
  4. Password should not be like date of birth, your name.
  5. Make it a habit to keep changing your passwords regularly.
  6. Password should not be shared or scribbled anywhere it can be seen by anyone. Even if you have to scribble it, make sure only you have access to it.
  7. Although NextStag platform has in-built fraud detection pattern built-in, still we advise to keep checking your call-logs periodically for abusive patterns.
  8. There should be one administrative user account. If there is need to have more than one, then Access Control List should be applied on more account.
  9. Do not save the password on the browser in case of Public PC.
  10. Keep a regular check on your payments and refills using the “Refills” module. Use the option of “Refill alert” to notify you via Email/SMS when a refill is made on any account above a threshold amount.

Security Practices by NextStag

At system or server level we use following:

  1. We do not use the default port of applications.
  2. Unneeded services and applications are stopped from automatic starting. This aids in system performance too.
  3. We have a firewall policy of “deny allow,allow selected” on packet level.
  4. Additionally, our platform had provision for automatic detection of flooding and brute-force on accounts. Furthermore, the originating IP address of such requests are automatically added to “drop” list.
  5. The system has periodic scan for weak and easy-sounding username and password pairs for SIP access (Eg:111,222 etc.)
  6. Starting this month, the web-access for platform has been changed by defaults to HTTPS over HTTP.
  7. Whole platform is Sql-injection proof and XSS proof.
  8. We have ICMP disabled on systems for port scanning.
  9. We do not use database default user and password.
Apart from the above basic practices, there a many others we have in kitty which aid us in keeping us and our customers data and facilities safe and secure.

Since we have our customers trust riding on us, we also design system for failures: i.e, we have systems and processes in place to mitigate risks and losses when system must go down. These include periodic backup, hot-failover of SIP links to geographically different datacenters.