AA, Air NZ show serious SMS catching on

SMS applications are growing in popularity, with several new ventures announced at the New Zealand Wireless Data Forum's Convergence 2002 Conference last week.

SMS applications are growing in popularity, with several new ventures announced at the New Zealand Wireless Data Forum’s Convergence 2002 Conference last week.

Wireless application developer DataSquirt says it is working on a deal with the Automobile Association to provide SMS-based services for the AA’s field staff and a venture involving the purchase of film tickets via SMS.

Organiser Luigi Cappel says about 600 people took in the exhibits and seminars at the Auckland event.

“What was significant was that most were businesspeople rather than IT people. I think people are starting to get the message that wireless does exist in New Zealand.”

The conference will become an annual event in Auckland and Wellington, he says.

In another SMS-related development, Air New Zealand is to begin providing flight information via the service, using ExpressCheck and TextExpress applications from Bulletin Wireless.

Bulletin Wireless’s gateway uses XML, says spokesman Paul Treacy.

“Air New Zealand connects to us via XML and we do everything else through to the carrier.”

ExpressCheck and TextExpress will come into operation on November 1, to coincide with the introduction of the airline’s Express Class service.

TextExpress will give notifications via SMS of flight delays and customers will be able to text the airline with requests for flight arrival and departure times.

Treacy says the XML gateway allows Bulletin to handle all aspects of the service beyond the gateway.

“We pass information on to the carrier; for example, the delayed flight notification is paid for by Air New Zealand and the requested flight information costs 50c and we handle the billing component.”

Bulletin and Air New Zealand are working on phase two of the project, which will involve further SMS applications, Treacy says.

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