SharePoint can TXT while it drives – Configure SMS Text Messaging for SharePoint 2010

While for us, in some States, to TXT when driving is to break the law, SharePoint 2010 can do it while it drives and behind the scenes legally.

See, in addition to sending Alerts via Outbound Email Servers using the SMTP protocol, SharePoint 2010 can send you TXT messages using Short Message Service or SMS. This is one of the many new features in SharePoint 2010 that means so much to this generation Smile. Did you say SharePoint can TXT me now! Wow. Now, that’s something. A while back I wrote a post on how SharePoint is adapting to our social behavior; well, this one is an example.

Let’s get to it. To configure this new feature, access the Central Administration site and click on the System Settings group hyperlink. On that page, you’ll see a Configure Mobile Account link. This configuration page is also available from the Application Management page and can be applied per web application.

SMS-Feature

Now before we go ahead and configure this feature, you will first need to create an account with one of the SMS Service Providers out there. I can’t say any provider will do, because I really don’t know much about them or what exactly they offer. The most important piece of information you need is their SMS Service URL and if it is serviced over SSL or not. Depending on where you live and your mobile phone provider is, you may have a different URL for the service. It turns out that the URL used to configure this must be based off of Microsoft’s own Office Mobile Service protocol. This protocol is explain in more details here on MSDN.

Step-01 – Create an Account

Click on the Configure Mobile Account link. You will see in the description a link to a page leading to some of the Service Providers in your area. You’ll have to choose your Country and your mobile phone network provider.

SMS-Feature01

I initially created an account with MessageMedia. They offer several APIs for their service. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Before I found out I need a OMS URL, I figured it may be a simple REST or ASMX service, but that didn’t go. So I went ahead and registered for SMS Officer. SMS Officer sent me a confirmation email message with an OMS URL in it. This is what we want. In addition, SMS Officer will send you a confirmation code via SMS to your phone.

SMS-Feature02

Record the Service Provider URL, the User ID and the Password. These values is what we’ll use to configure the SMS feature.

How did I know that I need an OMS URL? When a did a quick BING on the subject, I landed on this training video from TechNet. At the same time, I found this article as well.

Step-02 – Download and Install the SSL Certificate

Now, go ahead and access the URL provided to you. Notice, its serviced over SSL. Go ahead and download the SSL Certificate. There are at least a couple of ways to do that.

SMSOfficer-Test-06

You can save the certificate on your machine and name it as you wish.

SMSOfficer-Test-05

Now that you’ve downloaded the certificate, we will need to install it on our SharePoint 2010 server. We’ll use PowerShell to do that. The key here is to use the Root Certificate Path as the name. PowerShell commands and explanation on them can be found here on TechNet.

SMSOfficer-Test-04

After you run the above PowerShell commands, you should see something like this.

USERTrust Certifacte Info Message

Step-03 – Configure the SMS Messaging feature

Now, lets configure. Go ahead and enter the URL, your User ID and Password into the Configure Mobile Account page. Click on Test Service button to validate your configuration.

SMSOfficer-Test-02

And after validating your settings, you should see something like this.

SMSOfficer-Test-03

Step 04 – Configure Alerts

Now,  you’re ready to configure your own Alerts if you like and get ready to receive them via SMS. To configure Alerts, at least for testing, choose any of your SharePoint lists or libraries and access its default page (Usually, the default View ASPX page). Under List/Library Tools, Click on the Alert Me Ribbon Action. You’ll see a checkbox there to enable SMS Messages. Include your mobile phone number and check the box and hit OK. I forgot to take a screen of that page, sorry. My server is shutdown for the night Smile

Now, that you’ve configured an Alert. Go ahead and create a new Item or Upload a Document if you’re on a library. Cross your fingers and wait for the TXT message to appear. For me it was quick.

SMSOfficer-Test-01

Step 05 – Receive your SMS Alert

I received my SMS TXT right away here. I took a picture of my BlackBerry Storm screen showing the Alert.

SDC11496

SDC11498

Finally, overall, the entire experience took about an hour to complete. I’m a bit slow some may say Smile

That’s it for now.

Take it easy!

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About jharbieh

I'm an IW Solutions Architect with background in requirements gathering, planning, design, architecture, and development (not necessarily in the right order). Currently, my focus is on the Microsoft Productivity and Collaboration space. Hope you enjoy what I write about here. Thanks for visiting. Johnny Harbieh
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