SMSpics , Pay for pictures via SMS

2009 March 31
by Ismail Dhorat

SMS pics is a new startup, out of South Africa who have developed a simple device that integrates a camera, photo printer and a premium rated SMS short code.

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How does it work?
A user, stands in front of the camera, sends an SMS to a number and a picture is taken. The picture is then printed out for the user.

Where can it be used?
The technology could be used in those traditional photo booths you find at malls, and at places like Magic world. Instead of cash, this could be another means of payment.

Will it work?
Right, now the demo device just prints a normal picture. There are no software features that allows you to add effects to images that you would find in normal photo booths. With the prevalence of camera phones, and digital camera’s why would anyone want to use the device?

Also, using a premium rated number means there is a Revenue share with the operator. Most likely 50% of the SMS value. i.e If a company that currently has a Photo booth wants to switch to the SMS based payment, they would have to double their prices just to make the same amount of revenue.

Basically, it does not make business sense to move to SMS based payment.

Users may also be wary of using the service due to privacy issues:
From the website

“Accumulate Mobile Numbers and related Photo’s in backend Database”

What else can be done?
I think SMS pics, need to actually look at this from a financial sense, does it actually make sense for me as a buyer of the device vs other photo boot devices? They need to come up with a workable model, that makes sense to both parties, Either that or apply the technology to other areas.

There is a market for integrating SMS with other devices. Examples include: Sending an SMS to a number, which then gets displayed live on a screen. This is useful for trade events and conventions. However there are a number of companies already providing solutions like this.

Update
Nic, Suggested below it could also be used at concerts and parties, and an option to MMS would be useful.

I think, a solution for parties and events that would be useful would be:
Photographers that move around and take pics. If you want a copy of the picture, you send an SMS and the system responds back with a code. Which you can then use to either download your pictures or have it printed at a separate printing device.

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