Alternative Networks for Engaging Smartphone Users

Michael Vizard

While there's a tremendous amount of interest in building mobile applications that run on smartphones, managing them on an ongoing basis can be complex and costly.

Businesses essentially want to communicate with customers who have a smartphone using a secure, reliable system that offers more than an SMS message.

Urban Airship, which this week announced that it has lined up another million dollars in funding, has created a push notification service that companies can use to send messages or entire applications out to smartphone users.

According to company CEO Scott Kveton, the Urban Airship service is less costly than relying on SMS because the system relies on a data network to deliver messages and applications. The module needed to process those messages is dropped into the smartphone application, which then using a REST API redirects the application to a data subscription service managed by Urban Airship that runs on top of the Amazon EC2 cloud computing platform.

Whether Urban Airship can effectively compete with carriers remains to be seen. The company boasts that it has1,500 customers using its service to send messages to 10 million devices. Companies want to engage with users of smartphones in the most cost effective way. And if that means exploring alternative networks, then so be it.

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