SMS Compression

A team here at eHealth Africa built a custom data collection app for disease surveillance communicates with DHIS2. They included SMS submission, and they told me that the single biggest improvement they made was to add compression. They found that this reduced the number of SMSs per form submission from 6-7 down to 1-2. This meant that the submission success rate increased dramatically, since there were fewer possible points of failure (the app is used in Sierra Leone, where cellular connectivity is pretty unreliable, especially at remote health facilities).

We've just open sourced the library we developed to do that, so maybe it could be the basis for an ODK-specific implementation?

(Documentation will be improved in the next week or so, I hope!)

The recent changes by Google to app permission affect this feature idea?

I guess they will at least put it on hold pending granting of an exception from the Play Store.

Hi. I was just looking into using SMS for data collection in CAR. I was in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia when they used SMS to send information during the Ebola outbreak and it was an adventure seeing it all unfold with fits and starts. In the end, paper became a more reliable source of information. We published an article on the use of mobile tech to fight ebola. But getting back to my question. I never use SMS in ODK and I see that you have experience in this area. so 1) is it now a via option and 2) if not what have you done to find a woraround? thanks

Bienvenu Hyacinthe. Où est-ce que vous utiliser ODK? Est-ce que vous utilisez le mode SMS?

Bonjour Oliver ! Je n'ai pas bien saisi votre question, pouvez vous la reformuler svp ? Vous parlez de ODK Forum ou de ODK collecte ?

Oui je parlais de ODK.

Hi @bridgestopeace, an apologies for taking so long to reply!

Unfortunately SMS submission had to be removed from ODK Collect because Google tightened their restrictions around what Android apps are allowed to do. It's easy to see how sending an SMS in the background is not something that should be acceptable behaviour for most apps, but it's sad that Collect was collateral damage in this decision :frowning:

I work for an organisation called eHealth Africa, and we did multiple data collection projects in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia during the Ebola outbreak, both with and without SMS. Would it be possible to get a link to the article you mention? I'd love to read it.

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Hi Adam

Yes. It's called fighting Ebola with Information.

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Bonsoir Fatou, vous trouverez ci-joint mon CV, bonne réception

cvOlma.pdf (207 KB)