Frontline SMS is a free open source software that can work without an internet connection. Frontline SMS only requires a computer and cell phone. By using the cell phone and local phone number as a modem, the Frontline SMS software allows SMS messages to be managed without Internet.
This software was originally created by Ken Banks in 2005 in South Africa to help conservationists keep in touch with communities within Kruger National Park. The software became available online in 2007 and was released as open source in 2008. In 2009, the Frontline SMS founder hired the first employee of a team that has since grown to 15 members. During the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Frontline SMS worked with Ushahidi, CrowdFlower and Samasource to create Mission 4636 that we discussed in class on Wednesday. Frontline SMS has assisted in other disaster situations since then, including the Pakistan floods in 2011.
Frontline SMS has been useful for more than just disaster humanitarian response. Frontline SMS has been used in the medical community to track outbreaks of diseases, saving hospitals thousands of dollars. The coolest new improvement to Frontline SMS is Medic Mobile, a new aspect of Frontline SMS. They are developing technology that will include a $15 cell phone addition that will allow people (like hospitals in rural areas) to put a blood sample into the back of the phone under an LED light and take a holographic image that can be sent via MMS. A diagnosis would be sent back within 10 seconds and would be able to diagnose malaria, some STDs and potentially HIV. This technology will be invaluable once finalized.