FrontlineSMS, MMS and Offline Ushahidi Hooks

The FrontlineSMS model?
FrontlineSMS has long been a part of the Ushahidi ecosystem. When we rebuilt Ushahidi in the summer of 2008 at a free and open source platform, we built hooks into it so that anyone who used FrontlineSMS could easily sync that information to the Ushahidi maps. At that same time, FrontlineSMS open sourced their code, and we tried to learn as much as we could about how to better help users who were running their own SMS gateway through FrontlineSMS so that the system could truly be run by anyone, anywhere.
It’s a simple as this:
Ushahidi plus FrontlineSMS
Today FrontlineSMS is adding MMS to their repertoire!
That’s a big deal. It means that we can now figure out how to include more than just text messages, but also images, video and audio. Incoming MMS messages can trigger an SMS auto-reply, or an external command, etc. It’s a great blending of SMS/MMS in one system, and shows how holistically their team has thought about the user interaction with simple messaging.
We’re thinking of implementations of this, and we’d love some feedback from you on how it could be done an what would be useful. Leave some comments below with your thoughts.
Taking the maps offline through FrontlineSMS
We’re working on even better integration into this longstanding keystone of the open mobile space. Right now we (“we” being Dale Zak, Emmanuel Kala and Brian Muita) are working closely with Ken Banks and his team of wizards to do a couple of cool things. First is the completing of the very exciting offline mapping tab which is probably about 70% done at the moment. Second, there’s also talk of adding functionality to allow Ushahidi users to post reports directly from FrontlineForms, and this could prove very useful in a wider capacity where people want to get structured data from end-users via SMS which is then posted online.
Many great things lie ahead for the two teams, and we expect more and better integration as we work on different features and functionality together.
[full press release: FrontlineSMS + MMS press release (PDF)]
Download FrontlineSMS v1.6.16 here.