SMS to e-mail application processing via SMS

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Nelson
New member
Username: Nelson

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 04:17 pm:   

Hi,

I'm working on a system for a client.

I have 6 staff, let’s call them processors, who need to send SMS messages to applicants (applicants are members of the public and there are approximately 2000 applicants per annum). Applicants create and send applications via a browser (at an Internet kiosk). Applications are received by the 6 processors as emails. Each processor needs to reply to each applicant by sending the applicant an email (which “the system” would turn into an SMS). When the applicant receives the corresponding SMS reply he/she needs to be able to reply back, via an SMS, to the corresponding processor (who should receive the reply as an email).

I want to avoid the necessity for applicants to reply to processors by having to insert the corresponding processors email address as the first section of the SMS text. Many applicants will never have used an email system before and they will mess up (and we will lose valuable applicants).

I imagine that each processor would need a separate GSM modem / SIM card / mobile phone number (which I assume means that anybody could send the processor an SMS, which would be received as an email, simply by knowing the “email” mobile phone number of the processor. For example, if I wanted to send Mr E an email, I could simply send a text message to 07777 55555.

Mr A – 07777 11111
Mr B – 07777 22222
Mr C – 07777 33333
Mr D – 07777 44444
Mr E – 07777 55555
Mr F – 07777 66666

We need this system because many applicants do not have Internet access (except via the Internet kiosk which they first use to create their application) – but they do have mobile phones. Applicants insert their mobile phone numbers on their original application.

Can your system support this ?
Bryce Norwood - NowSMS Support
Board Administrator
Username: Bryce

Post Number: 5447
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 05:37 pm:   

Hi Nelson,

Yes, that is workable.

It will be a little easier to configure in the upcoming NowSMS 2006 version, because there won't be a need for a separate mail server. But it is very much possible today.

I'll try to go over the basics of the configuration, with a mind toward some of the differences in how it is done today, and how it will be simplified for NowSMS 2006 in another month.

It does require a unique SIM/modem for each processor in order for it to work seamlessly.

For each of the 6 processors, you're going to have a SIM/modem defined in the SMSC list. (Or you could have an account with an SMS provider that supported 2-way SMS and supported at least 6 unique numbers on a single account.) Define the phone number of the modem in "Properties" after adding each modem to the SMSC list in NowSMS.

You're also going to need to define an "SMS Users" account for each processor. Set the "Forced Sender Address" for each account to map to a particular SIM/modem phone number. (This way, everything that user sends goes out via that SIM/modem/sender address.)

And you'll define a 2-way command for each processor, where "Receive Phone Number" maps to particular SIM/modem phone number, and the "Command to Execute" is a mailto:user@domain.com link that routes the SMS to that processor's mailbox. (This setup will get a little easier in NowSMS 2006, as instead of defining a 2-way command, in the properties for the modem in the SMSC list, you can say that all received SMS messages should be routed to a particular "SMS Users" account.)

The tricky part of all of this is that now you have to tie in a mail server.

In NowSMS 2006, you won't have to tie in a mail server. In NowSMS 2006, the NowSMS server can appear as both an SMTP and a POP3 server. So you configure an e-mail client to login to NowSMS using POP3 to pick up received SMS and/or MMS. And you configure the client to send outgoing SMTP via NowSMS, which NowSMS converts to SMS or MMS (you should use SMTP authentication in the e-mail client so that NowSMS server knows which processor is sending the message).

In current versions, NowSMS only supports the SMTP part of this, which means that you need a separate mail server. When NowSMS receives an SMS, it sends it to an e-mail address on the mail server. The e-mail client connects with POP3 to the mail server to retrieve received messages. The e-mail client can still be configured to connect to NowSMS as its SMTP server, so that any replies are submitted directly to NowSMS to be sent back via SMS or MMS.

It's not really all that difficult to configure all of this in current NowSMS releases. However, there don't seem to be any simple mail servers any more ... mail servers have become incredibly complex. So learning how to configure the mail server part can make this difficult.

The above should cover the basics of your configuration setup. The following thread also has some information on e-mail to SMS and MMS configuration:

http://support.nowsms.com/discus/messages/1/3451.html

-bn

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