Philippine operator Smart Communications has deployed a service it calls Smart Infocast service in the Municipality of Clarin in Bohol. The web-based SMS broadcast platform is designed to enable the municipality to send weather updates, advisories, and other important information. The Smart Infocast service is expected to be of particular use to farmers; 85 percent of Clarin’s land area is agricultural. Through Infocast, information about agricultural methods and announcements relevant to farming can now be shared with those who need them.
Amid all the talk about the data revolution and next-generation network development, it should be borne in mind that in many markets, the lowest mobile tech is often the most effective, at least at certain tasks.
In the Philippines, Smart is smart to recognize that the humble SMS, while on the decline in some place, is an excellent way to quickly and inexpensively communicate information to a rural population, many or most of whom may not have smartphones. Deploying the solution in a limited area could serve as a trial balloon of sorts, to see whether Infocast could have wider appeal.
While Infocast is not likely to be a major revenue driver for the operator, we believe that such public-minded services are useful to operators in that they increase goodwill and also raise the profile of the operator. Those among the target populations who are looking for a new MNO or looking to join a mobile network for the first time will be likely to think first of the operator that is offering the service.