The sophistication and complexity of your intervention program will also determine your SMS functional requirements. For example, a project limited to reminders or educational information may only require simple, unidirectional texting. In contrast, an intervention that includes replies to incoming responses will require bidirectional texting. For bidirectional texting, you will need to determine if the incoming responses will be closed ended (choice of 1,2,3) or open ended responses written by the end user, which require reading of each response. If more than one message will be sent, the ability to automate a schedule or trigger for sending messages is required.
Additionally, outgoing responses may be customized with conditional branching logic for tailored messages. This branching capability allows you to send an automatic, customized response to different types of closed-ended responses (e.g. If "yes" send outgoing response "Keep up the good work"; if "no" send "Try to get 30 minutes of exercise tomorrow.
Most SMS software has the capability to track data such as the number of messages that are sent, delivered, opened, or undeliverable. Bidirectional systems also track responses. These programs typically interface with most computer systems, database, and spreadsheet applications. However, it is important to know what data you will need to collect and how you want to store it, so you can verify a platform’s compatibility with your needs. Learn more about messaging features in the SMS System Feature Checklist and Guide.