Clickatell will be in the thick of the action today as it powers the global delivery of speech highlights via SMS during President Barack Obama’s address in Cairo, Egypt.
“This is a mobile town hall without borders,” says Chuck Drake, executive vice president of marketing for Clickatell, based in Redwood City, Calif. “This is truly unprecedented.”
But if you’re in the United States, forget about it. The service is available only to people residing outside the United States. U.S. residents, organizers say, already have access to many news outlets; the program is aimed at getting the word out to the rest of the world.
Clickatell says it’s the first time excerpts from a leader’s speech will be delivered with SMS to millions around the world, giving everyone a chance to comment by hitting reply on their mobile phone. The U.S. Department of State, which selected Clickatell, will post selected comments from citizens online at www.america.gov/sms-comments.html.
The Obama campaign became well-known for being tech-savvy, using SMS to communicate with voters before the election. But now the administration is taking it to a global scale. As one can imagine, the complexities become “enormous,” Drake says, but he adds that Clickatell is up to the task.
Drake didn’t say how many people had signed up for the service as awareness efforts got into full swing yesterday, but Clickatell already saw registrations from citizens in 115 countries, and the site just went up that morning.
Languages supported are English, Arabic, Urdu and Persian. International/non-U.S. citizens interested in receiving President Obama’s Cairo speech highlights via SMS are invited to enroll at www.america.gov/sms.html.