There are situations where businesses need to have an interactive dialog with the user over SMS (Short Messaging Service). For example, a bus reservation company wants to provide a service where the user can query for available routes over SMS and do a booking. The user can send the source and destination and the system will respond with the available buses for that route, the user can then select a route and proceed to do the booking. This kind of functionality is particular useful in growth markets like India, China, Brazil where businesses still rely on SMS technology to reach out to population with low end phones. But SMS is a store and forward technology. It does not maintain the state information.
The SMS technology available for download as a technology preview from IBM provides this kind of functionality where the business can have a dialog with the user over SMS. The link to download is
SMS enabler is the key component which is a web application.The state/session information is maintained by this component.Behind the scenes, there is a xml file, we call it dialog.xml which contains the dialog flow and can be fetched dynamically from the user web application.You may already have a web applications built with technologies like PHP, JSP's for your user interface. You can reuse the business logic and provide the SMS enabler with the dialog xml dynamically in order to have a dialog/menu-based interaction with the user. Here is the high level picture.
The SMS enabler also provides other SMS based services like notification, bulk notification and request and response. Here is a blog that helps you get bootstrapped.