USSD: The Third Universal App

Perrier, Trevor and DeRenzi, Brian and Anderson, Richard (2015) USSD: The Third Universal App, Proceedings of ACM DEV '15, 1 December 2015, 13-21.

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In this paper we argue for the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) as a platform for universal cell phone applications. We examine over a decade of ICT4D research, analyzing how USSD can extend and complement current uses of IVR and SMS for data collection, messaging, information access, social networking and complex user initiated transactions. Based on these findings we identify situations when a mobile based project should consider using USSD with increasingly common third party gateways over other mediums. This analysis also motivates the design and implementation of an open source library for rapid development of USSD applications. Finally, we explore three USSD use cases, demonstrating how USSD opens up a design space not available with IVR or SMS.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: ict4d, m4d, magriculture, mbanking, mhealth, sms, ussd
Alternate Locations:,
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:32

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