The 2010 BulkSMS Messaging Awards were won by Shoreangling.co.za, coming out ahead of hundreds of other worthy entries from commercial and non-commercial organisations that use SMS messaging for innovative services or their day-to-day communications.
The BulkSMS Messaging Awards were run during March of this year as part of BulkSMS.com’s tenth year anniversary celebrations. Clients were invited to submit entries detailing their innovative use of SMS messaging and the top three finalists were awarded with cash and SMS credits as prizes.
The winners were announced on 20 May after a judging panel had reviewed all shortlisted submissions. The panel of judges consisted of Jenny McKinnell, the executive director of the Cape IT Initiative, Mary-Anne Flanagan, who runs the business incubator MambaVen, and Dr Pieter Streicher, a founder and managing director of BulkSMS.com
The first prize winner, Shoreangling.co.za, run by Caranx Angling, is a virtual service that brings together SMS messaging and marine conservation to record fish catches as well as educates sport anglers about protected fish and shark species. Shoreangling.co.za operates with the understanding that due to dwindling fish catches the oceans are certainly not inexhaustible and that there is an important need to create sustainable angling practices.
Shoreangling.co.za does this by providing a way for anglers to record the length and weight of their catches by SMS. By using a premium rated and automated SMS reply service anglers receive fish catch information that indicate whether the catch is within regulated size and bag limits and the closed season for the species. Anglers are also able to request official South African catch records via SMS so as to compare their catch. In addition, the service has made tide and moon phases information available through the SMS channel.
“Thank you very much for the great prize and the great service you are offering,” says Pieter Wilcocks, who implemented the automated SMS messaging service for Shoreangling.co.za. “When Chris de Vries, my business partner, contacted me to make his years worth of research available to other anglers, I really couldn't find a better solution other than what BulkSMS.com is providing. Your support on the services you provide has really been great over the past few years.”
The other finalists were CPD Solutions in second place, and Abrie van Wyk, in third place.
CPD Solutions has SMS-enabled aspects of its personal development services for medical, paramedical, veterinary and other professions. According to CPD Solutions’ Riaan Bezuidenhout, “BulkSMS.com is a core component of the CPD Solutions System and it works so efficiently that I often forget its there in the background somewhere. I think from a developer's point of view that is the ultimate compliment.”
Abrie van Wyk, a cerebral palsy sufferer, demonstrated in his entry how BulkSMS.com’s application-to-person messaging service has enabled him to conduct his personal and business communications via SMS. “As I cannot use my hands properly, I therefore find it very difficult to use a cellphone with its small keys, and because I speak with difficulty people cannot understand what I am saying on a regular telephone. When I got BulkSMS.com a new world opened for me! Now I can communicate with family and friends via SMS from my computer. I also run a small business and I use the SMS messaging system to notify my clients when their goods are ready to be fetched.”
Several other entries came close to a final placing and received special mention from the judging panel. iTrack Live, Strictly Tickets, Urban DVD, Middleburg Ferrochrome, SAMusic.co.za all demonstrated innovative commercial applications of SMS services and communications. The Linbro Park Community Policing Forum, Bakwena Ba Mabiletsa Clan, Kalusta Karjiker Educational Society and Siyakhula Education Foundation each provided excellent examples of how public benefit organisations providing non-profit or community services have made SMS messaging central to how they communicated and interact with their beneficiaries.
“The entries we received for the BulkSMS Messaging Awards are testimony to the uptake of SMS messaging within commercial and non-commercial sectors in South Africa and shows that SMS is here to stay. We are very encouraged to see how many of our clients who entered the awards showed how they have been able to build upon our messaging platform to SMS-enable their organisations’ services or communications,” say Dr Streicher.