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SMS and the Internet of Things: Text Messaging Between Connected Devices

Posted by on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 with 6 Comments

With the cost of oil over $100 a barrel, every ounce of the precious liquid is valuable. For oil producers and distributors, an accurate accounting of how much oil inventory they have on hand to sell is important. With demand outpacing supply in many areas, every barrel that can be sold means important revenue gains for a business. So it is quite surprising to learn that most oil and gas measurement systems still rely on hand-tools to measure how much oil is in each tank. For an industry so flush with revenue and cash-flow, measurement technology has lagged far behind.

Until now. New equipment is being manufactured that uses advanced technology to measure oil tank volumes down to the inch. Even better, this equipment has built-in satellite and broadband connectivity that allows data points to be sent across a network to the same distributors, producers, and salespeople that count on accurate data every day. And with that data, workflows and processes are put in place that keep the tanks full and the orders flowing.

Oil tanker truck refills a tank.

SMS technology can no help monitor oil tank levels.
Image courtesy of Peak Oil

One such process involves sending text messages to oil-tanker drivers so they know where to go and how much oil to put in each tank. Using text messages instead of emails or phone calls allows data to be tracked and transmitted quickly and in a way where the driver is most certain to see it.

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Five Tips for Marketing with SMS: Text Messaging and Customer Engagement

Posted by on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 with 1 Comments

“As promised, we’re giving away two VIP passes to the Austin City Limits festival next weekend… This event is sold-out and these passes give you access to the VIP tent and VIP parking… If you still want to go to ACL then this is the way to do it in style… I’ll take the ninety-third person to text ‘ACL’ to 29297… Now, here’s a track from the Rolling Stones on 93.7, KLBJ!!!!!!”

The marketing and promotions team at Ennis Communications in Austin, Texas, recognized early that their audience was often listening to their stations when they were away from traditional phone lines, or in offices and locations where making a call to a prize line simply wasn’t possible. As text messaging became the preferred method of communication between young people, call volumes for prizes began decreasing. In fact, some contests at odd hours might feature the same three people dialing in over and over in an attempt to win while the rest of the lines remained unfilled.

A feature phone with a received text message

Feature phones and smart phones alike can send and receive text messages, making it and especially effective means of marketing with SMS.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Radio stations, like many other brands and markets eager to engage with an audience, sought out new avenues of communication that not only reinforced brand loyalty, but also gave listeners an easier way to interact with the station itself. Through prizes and newsletters, many radio stations have increased listener engagement in a meaningful way. Using SMS communication as part of a larger social media marketing strategy means real-time, actionable, and trackable interaction with fans and listeners.

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Bits and Bytes: Understanding Enterprise Network Speeds

Posted by on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 with 3 Comments

Gigabit ethernet is all the rage. Companies from Google to AT&T are promoting the fastest home internet speeds available ever! Availability is limited, so sign up now! Your home could be in the next neighborhood to receive this amazing technology. Your office could be in the next metropolis to receive gigabit connectivity!  

Most people think gigabit ethernet is fifty times faster than the twenty megabyte speeds they already have. And twenty megabytes seems plenty fast, right? The problem is that a gigabit is 1,000 bits, not bytes. And since there are eight bits in a byte, gigabit ethernet is actually 125 megabytes per second and not 1,000 megabytes per second. Make no mistake: gigabit ethernet is wildly fast, but it is not fifty times faster than a robust twenty Mbps connection. But this type of misunderstanding about the nomenclature and naming convention associated with broadband connectivity illustrates just how little most people understand about bandwidth and connectivity as a whole.

an ethernet jack and cable

How much bandwidth is enough for your business?
Image courtesy of Flickr user Razor512

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Disaster Recovery Solutions: The St. Louis Blues and Data Loss in the Modern Enterprise

Posted by on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 with 1 Comments

With nearly ten terabytes of stored data and 12 mission critical servers, the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues featured a robust IT infrastructure common in professional sports. The largest datasets and applications hosted in house were key to the business of running a professional sports team: ticketing. The Blues’ counted on their network to do everything from processing payments to managing the logistics of how many fans might be in their arena at any given time. The historical data on hand was substantial, the business intelligence software robust, and payment processing infrastructure massive. A loss of either data or application uptime would be catastrophic, and with games to be played and tickets to be sold, there was no room for error.

ice hockey face off

An NHL team narrowly avoided disaster. Are you prepared?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, in early 2013, a disaster indeed occurred. A server crashed and the organization’s entire data set, including financial information of the team and its customers, was lost.

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The Hybrid Cloud: What It Means for the Future of the Enterprise

Posted by on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 with 4 Comments

“Colby, we’ve decided to contract with your company for a virtual desktop solution.”

“Wow, Mark. I’m glad to hear that. We are excited to get started with you!”

“One caveat, however. We’ll be keeping a couple servers in-house for better administration and easier collaboration. I hope that won’t be a problem.”

“I’m sure we can work something out.”

The hybrid cloud is coming and providing businesses of all sizes a powerful, tailor-made suite of solutions that leverage the best of both cloud services and in-house IT assets. What does it mean for your business today and in the future?

server room

Combining in-house servers with cloud services gives organizations custom solutions.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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