Founded in 1889, the IPU is the world organisation of parliaments, providing 140 countries with a platform for dialogue about global issues. The IPU works for peace, the cooperation between peoples, and the firm establishment of representative democracy. It also supports and closely cooperates with the United Nations whose objectives it shares. Each year’s event is hosted in a different country. Last year, the host country was Switzerland. In 2006 it was Indonesia. This year, in a historical event, the South African parliament was one of the first countries in the Southern African Development Community region to host the assembly.
Under the theme, “Pushing back the frontiers of poverty”, the Cape Town International Convention Centre was abuzz with a multitude of languages and nationalities as issues from climate change to maternal and new born child health are put under the spotlight.
Clickatell’s messaging service helped the South African parliament deliver timely notifications to these delegates, providing them with important information, reminders and alerts about the latest happenings at the conference. “Since the start of the conference, over 1,000 delegates descended on Cape Town. With most delegates using their overseas cell phones and roaming on the South African network, SMS presented the easiest, fastest and most cost effective way to stay in touch with each other,” says Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell.
An important need for the SA parliament was to deliver real-time messages in a reliable manner to each delegate on a wide variety of cell phone networks and devices. Clickatell’s extensive global messaging network provided them with the ability to ensure that all the cell phones, from across the globe, would be covered and no messages would get lost during and after the event. Clickatell was also able to deliver the service quickly – getting the service up and running in under two weeks.
Delegates could sign-up to receive SMS notifications as part of the registration process for the event. Based on which categories they opted into, organizers were able to send delegates reminders on upcoming events and networking sessions, newsworthy items, photo opportunity notifications, etc. making this a safer and more informed IPU event.
The feedback the SA parliament has received from delegates is that this has been one of the most successful IPU events they have attended logistically. This is the first year the South African Parliament has made use of SMS for an event of this size. Judging by the success, they will continue making use of this service in future.