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ActiveXperts provides automated SMS system to help earthquake victims in Haiti

Press Release - February 8, 2010

February 8, 2010 (Press Release) -- ActiveXperts Software B.V., a leader in Network Monitoring and SMS software, provides an automated SMS system to help people in Haiti after the earthquake.

After the earthquake on January 12 2010, ActiveXperts Software (Hengelo, NL, and Votident (an ActiveXperts partner since the elections in Haiti in 2009) setup an SMS-based system within 24 hours to register people through SMS short-code '200'. People were asked to send the status of a relative or friend to this SMS number. Names are matched against the database of all Haitians, as it was used by ActiveXperts during the elections in 2009. ActiveXperts and Votident were already subscribed to the major Haitian mobile telecom operators through SMPP as a result of an election-related SMS project they did together in 2009.

On January 15 2010, short-code '4636' was launched. We spread word through Haitian media that people could text in their 'need and location' which also registered them for an information service. Also, short-code '200' was more and more used for emergency purposes instead of registration purposes, and other parties joined; the first-ever EIS (Emergency Information Service) was born. In the meantime, a new SMS short-code was introduced: '4636', intended to be used for emergency purposes; the '200' short code remained as the primary registration number.

In the first week of February 2010, the system is mainly used as a aid service for the Haitian people. They can ask when and where to find medicines, water, food, blankets and other stuff. The information is translated (semi)-automatically from Creole to English by many volunteers (coordinated by Ushahidi). The volunteers also categorize and map the information sent by the Haitian people. The system is used by Aid organizations like Red Cross, US Coast Guard, Google People Finder and others.

The majority of the '4636' and '200' short-code SMS messages are collected at ActiveXperts' application/data servers in Hengelo, Netherlands. InSTEDD's Nuntium community is responsible for the software development (web applications, web service). The software is hosted on the ActiveXperts servers in the Hengelo data-center. From there, it is accessible for various aid-organizations including Red Cross, UN, US Coast Guard and Google People Finder.

The following organizations joined to establish the technical parts:

  • Haitian Telecom providers: Digicel (70%), Comcel (20%), Haitel (10%)
  • Software vendors: ActiveXperts Software and Votident;
  • Open Source communities: InSTEDD (through their Nuntium project), Ushahidi