Datasquirt looks for builders of web services

Exo-net founder Mark Loveys is courting web services developers to create applications that can be run over mobile phones.

Exo-net founder Mark Loveys is courting web services developers to create applications that can be run over mobile phones.

Since last June Loveys has been working for Datasquirt, a start-up that has built a software application called Wireless Application Messaging Engine (WAM-E) through which developers can route SMS (short message service) notes via mobile phones.

Datasquirt has developed an application for the service called Textcode, which allows mobile phone users to buy products advertised with a Textcode number using their SMS-capable mobile phone. Datasquirt’s website says a number of Textcode-enabled merchants are piloting the system.

Apart from providing email and web page interfaces to the SMS engine, Datasquirt has used web services standards such as SOAP and XML to integrate the engine with SMS applications.

SOAP is a way for a program running in one operating system to communicate with a program in the same or another operating system by using the web’s HTTP and XML protocols.

Loveys says by going through the Datasquirt engine application developers can ensure users have access to as many other people as possible, and using XML and SOAP has made it easier for developers to write applications that can use the engine.

“SOAP ... short circuits a lot of the work needed to connect to someone else’s system.” Datasquirt used Borland Delphi 6 in the development, which has full support for web services, he says.

Datasquirt claims interconnection agreements with Telecom and Vodafone and is negotiating with other telecommunications carriers in New Zealand, he says. It also has agreements with telcos in Australia and Europe.

“Basically we take a text message and decide on the best route by which to send it. We have easy software interfaces that take away all the headaches of connecting to different telephone networks.”

Datasquirt is also talking to companies about adding SMS interfaces to their generic web sites and has custom-built SMS applications for QV (Quotable Value) Online and the Auckland Regional Council, which are already using WAM-E.

The QV Online application enables real estate agents to inquire about a property’s value by text message. The agent types in the message, sends it to QV Online’s telephone number and QV Online sends back the answer.

The ARC application delivers bus route and timetable information. A person tells it where they are and their destination and the ARC sends back information on the best bus route to get there.

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