SystemObjects Gets The Word Out On Mobile Messaging
April 27, 2015 Dan Burger
A mobile messaging app that can automatically receive information from applications or utilities running on IBM i or Windows servers could change the way you think about mobile computing and business objectives. SystemObjects, the French software company that specializes in Web and mobile solutions for IBM midrange computer users, is rolling out a new utility that it believes is the best way to get the attention of business-oriented mobile device users.
The utility is called Push4Servers. It works by sending push messages using a simple API call inserted into any number of user programs. Push4Servers consists of three parts: a cloud-based Message Management module; a server-based Connector module; and the free Push4Servers mobile app, available from iOS and Android stores, which is used to receive push notifications. (If you plan to use only SMS text messages and/or email messages, the mobile app is not necessary.)
Push4Servers was designed to run on IBM i (release 6.1 and higher) and all Windows Server versions. When running on IBM i, it can use the Automatic Log Analyzer to filters messages from the QSYSOPR and relay them according to the rules defined in the Message Management module–without any programming effort. For Windows–and for IBM i applications that do not write to QSYSOPR–the integration is achieved via a simple call to an API that is installed with Push4Servers’ Server Connector module.
The cloud-based implementation eases implementation and eliminates server side software maintenance and its associated costs. And the subscription-based pricing begins with a base subscription costing $50 per month, which allows 20 users and two servers.
There is also a free subscription community edition that could be used like a free trial download with a never-ending termination period if you can live with only 10 users on a single server. Some small companies could live with that limitation very easily. Larger companies could use this like a free test environment and get acquainted with the product before making a purchase.
Access to a system without being logged onto the server is another benefit for mobile workforces.
“If you have a mobile device, you shouldn’t have to be logged into your system all the time to know if anything important is happening. Or worse, rely on crisis calls,” says Serge Charbit, CTO and president of SystemObjects. “Push4Servers will broadcast important information–as soon as it’s available–to the people who need it. You can use it for anything that generates a message to QSYSOPR. One example is to notify field support when a customer is waiting for onsite service. Another example would be to update sales managers when contracts close.”
Push4Servers is a new version of SP4i Push, a utility introduced in the fall of 2014. Push4Servers will eventually replace SP4iPush, Charbit says, when SP4iPush customers have moved to Push4Servers. Push4Servers supports Windows in addition to IBM i, which is one reason SP4iPush users may upgrade. Every IBM i shops has at least one Windows server, making the two-server, 20-person contract a cross-platform opportunity.
When you buy the base two-server package, one server could be IBM i and the other could be Windows, as an example. They could both be for IBM i servers or both could be for Windows servers. Multiple partitions are considered the same as multiple servers in terms of the pricing.
Another distinction between Push4Servers and its earlier iteration SP4iPush, in addition to the newly arrived support for Windows, is the capability to send SMS text messages along with email and push messages.
Charbit uses Push4Server on his own mobile phone. When someone opens an account SystemObjects, or asks for a quote, push notifications are automatically generated and sent to Charbit.
The utility installs on the IBM i or Windows Server and is configured so that only authorized personnel receives the messages. The messages can be sent to one user, many users, or to predefined groups of users. All users must be registered on the server from which the messages are sent.
When the Push4Servers app is installed on a mobile device, the device is registered and it establishes a unique ID that is known by the system administrator. The person assigned to that device is entered into the database. The i and Windows server will only send messages to registered users. And the device can only receive messages from the i and Windows server to which it is registered. If multiple partitions or multiple i or Windows servers are involved, users need to be registered on each partition and each i or Windows server.
SystemObjects offers two ways to buy Push4Servers subscriptions: credit card or wire transfer. No contract is required. The subscription can be terminated at any point in time without a penalty and additional users and servers can be added at any time. The subscription can be set up to be automatically paid monthly using a credit card withdrawment method.
In addition to the cost of the subscription, there are charges to send SMS text messages that are levied by the telecom companies. Credits can be purchased on the Push4Servers website in 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 increments. Users are alerted when 90 percent of their credits have been used. There is no penalty for buying extra credits.
The website includes information on buying credits. The cost per credit varies by country. In the United States and United Kingdom, it costs $180 for 1,000 credits that are valid for 1 year. Each text consumes .9 credits.