In one example, he said that people with limited credit in many emerging markets use their cell phones to top off their pre-paid air cards by sending an SMS message. Thosecustomers will typically have an account at a remote bank that they visit rarely. The SMS message would go to the user's carrier to add more minutes to the air card, and the carrier would in turn electronically bill the user's bank account.
SMS is already used by many banks in the U.S. to help customers track their accounts, de Villiers noted. A customer can use SMS to check a balance or to receive a bank SMS notification that a checking account has fallen below a pre-set balance, all without the need to open a browser or launch an app.
"SMS is simple connectivity to anything in the cloud, and that includes tracking a package or reaching an account," de Villiers said. "It's super cool that you can use 160 characters to fetch anything in the back-end system."
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com .
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