How do I get started?
There are a couple of steps that you need to take.
Obtain a short code
If your brand is going to expand into SMS access with Siri, you'll have to get an SMS short code. There are two types of short codes. Most companies, like Laundry Locker, use a shared short code that is used by multiple businesses. To identify the inbound messages that are intended for your account, you set up a shared keyword for subscribers to include in their text messages. In Laundry Locker's case, it uses the word "laundry" at the beginning of the message.
You can also request a private short code. If you choose to get a private short code, you lease it from the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA). Leasing a private short code is expensive, but while you lease it, only you are allowed to use it. You must have a private short code in order to send outgoing SMS messages. (With a shared short code, you can only respond to SMS messages that subscribers send to you.)
You need to find some strategic way to have people add your address to their iPhone address books with that short code in it. That way, when people ask Siri to do something with you, she can send the message to the right short code.
There is not at this time an easy way for people to do this if they are surfing on their iPhone instead of their desktop. This is because Apple does not seem to have an iPhone Safari URL schema to do this. They have map links for launching of the maps app from a mobile webpage, phone links for easy dialing of a phone number, text links for easy messaging, mail links for easy emailing, YouTube links for easy watching of video, and iTunes links for facilitating downloading an app from the app store. But surprisingly, there is no address book schema to add an address contact by clicking a link in Safari on an iPhone. Why? I have no idea. However, there are those who have written about how to circumvent this limitation by having contact information sent in an email that can be easily added.
On the desktop, this is much easier to accomplish. I use microformats to enable an easy addition to their address book. Just click here to add my contact information to your address book. Usually most people who have an iPhone use iCloud or Google, both of which sync your address book on your iPhone.
You must have a way to interpret the SMS you are receiving and construct a way to deconstruct natural language into responses (as I mentioned in my FTD example). Twilio has a great API for SMS that can interface with your applications. If you are going to start anywhere, Twilio probably offers the most flexibility and tools to get you up and running.
Search is not going to die. It will just morph into computational knowledge engines like Wolfram Alpha, Google Maps, and Yelp that will be accessible by Siri. Keep experimenting with new technologies like Siri in order to discover which ones will be relevant to you in the future. Often early movers get a multiple on their marketing investment through increased exposure when implementing something innovative.
Sean X Cummings is founder and difference maker at SXC Marketing.
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