Exporting Technology To Africa To Save Lives

A chance phone call from the Clinton Foundation in Mozambique has changed ours and their lives dramatically. It shows the power of creating appropriate and well constructed websites describing a companys services and products.

What was the problem and then the solution:
Delayed test results have often meant that HIV patients in Mozambique have failed to get timely treatment, particularly for preventing Mother to Child transfer (MTCT) of HIV on birth. However, having introduced and developed our new SMS printer technology with the Clinton Foundation and the Mozambique Ministry of Health the need to send tests to far away laboratories has reduced and has dramatically speeded up test results and HIV treatment for Mothers, Mothers-to-be and their newly born. After a successful 2009 pilot Mozambique has nationally rolled out our SMS printer technology and gateway, with Clinton Foundations help. This GSM network based printer and gateway technology transmits the results of mother and infant HIV tests electronically from two central reference laboratories in Maputo and the northern provincial capital, Nampula, to more than 275 health centres across the country. Previously, test samples and results took, on average, three weeks and up to several months to be transported to and from clinics via various means in remote parts of the country.

How did Sequoia and Clinton Foundation meet?
Because of this serious delay in test results the Clinton Foundation in Mozambique looked around for a technology based solution. They ended up contacting us in Reading having seen our website and enquired about using our SMS printer technology for sending health test data over the GSM network to speed up the time taken. After hearing what the program was about and the disastrous pass through rate from Mother to child for HIV we, at Sequoia, could only say yes to help with the program. Two years of concentrated work with the Clinton Foundation on the hardware and the required gateway software produced a successful pilot program. Subsequent research conducted by the Ministry of Health of Mozambique and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), after our SMS printer technology and gateway had been installed, showed that the time it took for clinics to receive test results from reference labs had dropped from an average of about three weeks to about three days after the printers were introduced. Research presented by the Ministry of Health and CHAI at the International AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria, showed that this, in turn, reduced the time it took to start infants (and /or mothers to be) on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment by about 4 months. This is now part of the national prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) HIV transmission service within Mozambique. The number of infants starting treatment also increased by 60 percent.

How the SMS printer technology and gateway works:
Clinics across the country collect dried blood spot samples from infants and / or mothers to be and transport them to the nearest reference lab, where lab technicians conduct the HIV tests. Results are entered into the SMS printer database at the reference lab and then uploaded onto the Sequoia Technology online server (in Reading UK). The Sequoia gateway then uses the local MCEL GSM phone network to transmit results back to the appropriate clinic. Each clinic has a small thermal paper, GPRS enabled printer that receives the patient test data and prints out the HIV test results alongside a patient identification number. With interruptions in electricity and wireless network signal, the system has been designed to ensure 100 of the data is received by the appropriate printer completely intact – if printers are offline, results are safeguarded in an online gateway queue until the printer is available. The Sequoia Technology gateway shows the status of every printer whether on or not and the number of messages sent or in a queue waiting to be printed. The printer’s small size also makes storage easy in space-constrained clinics, which must also ensure that the printer is kept in a secure room to guarantee patient confidentiality.

Greater efficiency The introduction of SMS printers to clinics has not only meant that babies who test HIV-positive can be started on ARVs sooner – a potentially life-saving intervention – but has also reduced the numbers of new mothers who disappear from the clinics PMTCT program during the, previously, long wait times or after having spent time and money on multiple clinic visits to check for results. According to Mozambiques 2010 report to the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS), about 30 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers contract the virus, but only about 14 percent of these babies are tested for HIV before the age of 18 months. Without treatment one-third of HIV-positive babies will die in their first year of life, and almost half by the age of two. With our SMS printer technology in place now the clinics are being able to get to and test mothers-to-be ?for HIV and be able to prescribe AVR drugs in enough time to reduce the likelihood of mother to child transfer of HIV. Additionally further testing after childbirth can check the mothers viral load to ensure the right drugs are given when the mother is breastfeeding an additional way of MTCT of HIV. With our technology in place now, throughout Mozambique, the 30-40 or less if the pre and post birth testing and drug application takes place.

Our SMS printer technology and gateway is then a fast and accurate way of transmitting confidential health data to any remote location but crucially can be used for any disease Malaria, TB, HIV in fact anything that needs to be diagnosed in a lab. This technology forms a low cost and serious platform for countries to transmit diagnostic information quickly and accurately. Additionally, the gateway consolidates all information and therefore gives statistical data about disease spread and location and the quality of the health care across a complete country. Sequoia engineers took 2 years to perfect the gateway software with CHAI and MCEL to produce 100 full data quality and with printer / server buffering and handshaking to ensure the quality of data. Extensive testing took place in pilot phase of this project. Any authorized person can log on to the SMS2printer.co.uk website and retrieve the full data and visual map of where each printer is and the stats of how many messages have been sent / received / pending at each location.

Partnership – We continue to develop more capable GPRS enabled printers and are now working with CHAI in Kenya for potentially deploying a similar system in other African countries for the same health diagnostic transmission platform. Our association with the Clinton team in Mozambique continues and has become more of a partnership and further roll outs are planned as a result of the success so far.

Txtlocal MD Darren Daws says SMS leads the way for mobile marketing

As the mobile industry comes of age and becomes more sophisticated, it is widely predicted that more companies are choosing to spend a larger percentage of their marketing budget on mobile advertising and applications. The benefits of SMS becomes clear; campaigns need to capitalise on using SMS to support their overall marketing strategies and use messaging as the main force driving customers to the Internet.

This view was echoed by some of the worlds biggest brands at the latest MMA forum. Gavin Mehrotra, Director of International Media for the Coca Cola Company, started his presentation stating categorically that “SMS is the number 1 priority at Coca Cola in mobile” and that you need it to reach just about every person on the planet.

We also know that SMS gives a campaign the added power to communicate with your target customer and build on the relationship you have with them based on permission and trust. Adding SMS to a campaign allows consumers to text for more information so the follow-up is able to become more targeted; we have seen this work in every sector. In the Arts we have worked with English National Opera who used an SMS campaign to increase ticket sales for late availability, an investment of 500 in SMS marketing brought a return on investment of an amazing 8000 in ticket sales. Papa Johns Pizza use SMS to market special offers at times that they want to build sales, in fact across all sectors we are experiencing a growth in ROI as campaigns are measurable in a way they havent been until now.

Combine this with the growth in the use of Smartphone technology and its clear why campaigns are benefiting from improved targeting with SMS. No longer are you limited to 160 characters of text, the use of Smartphone technology and the public acceptance of tiny URLs on social media platforms, means that SMS can be used as tool to link to a bigger picture. SMS can now be used as the hook needed to direct the reader to where they need to be online, faster than if they were left to their own devices. Links to apps, videos and web pages are easily incorporated into an SMS message, making SMS a vital tool working hand in hand with other mobile marketing tools to achieve greater ROI for every mobile campaign.
At Txtlocal, we work with clients of all sizes and shapes from English National Opera, Malmaison Hotels and Liverpool University to much smaller owner operated brands like Shelleys Restaurant in Warrington, we can create campaigns that generate a real response – quickly. Any tool which allows a business owner to grow their customer data and intelligence, and then allow you to communicate targeted messages to them directly is powerful, and its right there in your hand the humble mobile phone.

Its safe to say that if the world’s undisputed number one advertising brand, Coca Cola says categorically, SMS is priority number 1, then surely other businesses large or small need to operate with the same view.

The Threat to Privacy by GSM Technology

The technology used in mobile phones is increasingly finding its way into eavesdropping devices. The use of bugs based on mobile phone technology (GSM) allows spies to monitor private conversations from anywhere in the world.

What is GSM?

GSM (Global System for Mobile) communications is an open, digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services. In very simple terms, GSM technology works by searching GSM networks to find nearby mobile phone masts to transfer voice, data and SMS between mobile phones.

GSM technology was originally created in 1982 by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), who designed the Groupe Spcial Mobile (GSM) with the aim of creating a pan-European mobile phone technology.

Thanks to GSM’s international roaming capabilities, it is now the most widely used mobile phone technology. According to the GSMA (the GSM Association), terrestrial GSM networks now cover more than 80% of the world’s population. That’s more than 6 billion people across more than 218 countries.

The GSM bugging threat

With the advantages brought by the wide coverage GSM technology offers, comes a growing threat to privacy. The same GSM technology used to service mobile phones is also used in the world of covert surveillance and spying to eavesdrop on private conversations from anywhere in the world.

This is possible through using GSM audio bugging devices that use specially adapted mobile phone technology to listen in and transmit conversations taking place in one location to another. These devices work in the same way as mobile phones and can be used anywhere you can use a mobile phone.

Once hidden in the target location, the GSM bug waits silently in standby mode until the eavesdropper calls the SIM card number being used in the device. At this time the call is silently answered and the microphone activated, allowing the caller to listen in to conversations taking place in the nearby vicinity. When the conversation has ended the bug is then switched back to standby (passive) mode. Other more advanced devices have the facility for sound, vibration and motion activation whilst others can be manually or remotely set by SMS commands.

These bugging devices are small and discreet and are normally concealed within innocent looking items that are frequently found around the home or office. Because they use GSM technology they can even pick up audio whilst on the move, just like mobile phones, so are not limited to static locations. This makes them ideal for picking up conversations in cars, or they can even be slipped inside a pocket or handbag to ensure a target is constantly monitored wherever they are.

How to spot GSM bugging devices?

Not only are GSM devices getting smaller and more sophisticated, making them hard to detect, but their signals are often lost amongst legitimate GSM and mobile phone communications. This is a particular problem when being operated in urban areas, which where most eavesdropping targets tend to be located.

It is for this reason that using professional counter surveillance services is the only practical option for effectively detecting and dealing with these bugs. Counter surveillance specialists have the training, experience and equipment needed to detect, locate and deal with the presence of GSM bugs. In particular, these experts are able to find both active and passive GSM bugs in order to provide a 100% secure environment.

Call Pakistan Avail Voip Technology To Enjoy Free Calls

The first thing which comes in mind while making international calls is the ‘money’ involved in it. Individuals always complete their calls in a very short period of time due to the expensive cost that made them unsatisfied. This unsatisfactory element has made people frustrated of not making calls for a longer time to their beloved ones because of high price and that is why Internet phone service has been introduced to eliminate all the barriers of long distance communication be it cost or obstacles. Technology has developed VoIP calls all over the world, the user can easily access its services siting at any corner of world including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. This latest revolution in telecommunication world has changed the way the world communicates.

No matter where the user is, he can easily forward the call to any destination as per his wish. For instance, the user can make cheap VoIP calls to Pakistan without affecting their pockets. Now, the users enjoy PC to PC calls or PC to phone calls at low rates in a hassle free manner. This facility allows users to be in touch with relatives and friends who are staying in Pakistan or at any part of the world. The availability of internet has made it possible for people to make calls to Pakistan at any time in a cost effective manner. The user can also send SMS to multiple friends along with making cheap VoIP calls to Pakistan. The best part VoIP calls is that users will never have to bother about bad voice reception. It is one of the trust worthy service of making international calls.

The user can grab distinct cheap calling plans for making international calls, be it for Pakistan or India. There are many calling plans available in the market. The user can select the plan as per his budget. The consumer can enjoy calling plans to Pakistan by paying very less amount of money.

This highly advanced VoIP technology has given lots of benefit to users along with umpteen calling options like caller id, call divert, call conference etc. The users can easily stay connected to close ones without even thinking about the phone bills. The PC phone calls being doable in nature because of huge contribution of technology. In order to make cheap PC to phone calls, the user just need an Internet connection and a phone. The same with mobile calls, the user need a handset along with a broadband connection. The international calling becomes much easier after the introduction of internet phone service. Moreover, VoIP call rates are very reasonable that anyone can easily afford it. So lets join VoIP family to avail the wonderful calling services.