info4africa use USSD to bring their directory of health, wellbeing and development-related service providers to those that really need it in South Africa.
The process is interesting: The searcher dials the number and indicates which provider type they are seeking. For example: Hospice, Rape Counselling, HIV Testing etc.
We then end the USSD session, conduct an LBS look-up on the users position, and with the returned co-ordinates run a match against the database of Geo-Coded Providers.
We then SMS the user the name and contact details of the nearest Providers to their current location.
To try it out, dial *130*448# from your mobile phone (Free on all networks, barring Vodacom. Vodacom users dial *120*448#)
We chose USSD and SMS for info4africa as they are technologies that work on all mobile handsets and all networks.
This avoids the need for the user to have a mobile internet connection, or to have an App installed.
The 160 character restriction with USSD and SMS helps more than hinders, as it keeps the menu and information retrieval process simple and intuitive.
We also offer the user a choice of languages, and this selection is remembered by the system in future interactions.