Masłów Commune’s Journey to Improve Citizen Communications with SMSEagle
- Poland’s Masłów Commune deploys SMSEagle Hardware SMS Gateway to improve communications between citizens and the Commune Office
- SMSEagle enables sending of updates, alerts, and information on matters such as garbage collection, power outages, meetings, tax deadlines, and various local events
- The new communications system continues to receive very positive feedback from residents and has registered until now more than 1000 subscribers
Masłów Commune, a rural municipality in south-central Poland, oversees the local administration of over 11000 residents across 13 different villages and settlements. It provides a range of essential services, including waste management, power supply regulation, and community event organization, and seeks to communicate matters relating to these activities with residents, such as waste collection deadlines, power supply shutdowns, village meetings, and council sessions. The Commune also keeps residents informed about traffic issues, public consultation invitations, and administrative disruptions. It conducts preferential coal sales and hosts cultural events, fostering engagement and connection within the community.
Problem: Inefficient communication with citizens
As the local government, the Commune Office faced difficulties in coordinating digital communications with its citizens. It used to depend on its website, the Public Information Bulletin, and its Facebook profile to share information, but these channels often failed to deliver important updates in time and to everyone.
At the same time, not every resident in the Maslow Commune community had the technical skills to access the communication platforms being used. This resulted in a digital divide, where some residents found it challenging to stay informed of crucial announcements, deadlines, and events. The Commune required a more inclusive and efficient communications approach that ensured essential information would reach all residents promptly.
Thomas Haba, IT specialist of the Masłów Commune Office
“As the local government, we faced difficulties in coordinating digital communications with our citizens. We used to depend on our website, the Commune’s Public Information Bulletin, and our Facebook profile to share information, but these channels often failed to deliver important updates in time and to everyone.” Haba explains, “Not every resident in our community has the technical skills to access the communication platforms we were using. This resulted in a digital divide, where some residents found it challenging to stay informed of crucial announcements, deadlines, and events. The Commune required a more inclusive and efficient communications approach that ensured essential information would reach all residents promptly.”
In search of a solution: Keeping it simple and accessible to everyone
Together with the Department of Promotion and Development of the Masłów Commune, Haba sought a communications solution that was simple, accessible, and hassle-free. Opting for SMS messaging over a dedicated smartphone app, the Commune chose SMSEagle SMS/MMS Gateway as the foundation for its citizen communications infrastructure.
Easy-to-use, the SMSEagle gateway eliminated the need for additional devices, applications, and complex configurations. From teenagers to elders, virtually anyone with a mobile phone could receive messages sent via SMS. As for administrators, additional features such as recipient groups, message scheduling and personalization make communication activities effective and effortless. No sending costs for each SMS also played important role in choosing the solution.
Effortless deployment of the new communication channel
Masłów Commune discovered SMSEagle Hardware SMS Gateway through a simple Internet search. They chose the single-modem NXS-9700-4G model. The purchase was positively evaluated and financed by the EU Digital Commune’s Grant Competition, under Measure 5.1, which supports digital development of local government units and strengthening digital resistance to threats.
The deployment took place in June last year, and required little-to-no configuration. The launch of the Masłów Commune’s new communications channel was conveyed to all residents across the administrative region. The information was announced on the Commune’s website and Facebook profile, posters on noticeboards and the local “Kurier Masłowski” press. Interested residents could simply send an SMS, specifying their village name, to the number of the SMSEagle gateway, and the system would automatically add them to both a general group and a village-specific group. Unsubscribing was just as easy, as all users had to do was send a STOP text to the gateway number.
SMSEagle SMS/MMS Gateway’s versatile features and capabilities
The Masłów Commune is using the SMSEagle gateway functions to improve communication with residents in many different fields. The types of information currently sent include:
- dates of selective waste collection
- planned power outages
- village meetings
- dates of meetings and committees of the Masłów Commune Council
- variable deadlines for payment of local taxes
- street repairs and traffic emergencies
- invitations to participate in public consultations
- restrictions on the operation of the office (e.g., a day off, closed cashier desk, limited service in the department)
- cultural events
The system also sends individual messages informing, for example, about payment arrears.
Tomasz Lato, Mayor of Masłów Commune
“The SMSEagle gateway has effectively addressed the Commune’s communication challenges. The number of residents calling the Department of Agriculture, Municipal Economy and Environmental Protection to inquire about waste collection dates has significantly decreased. The need for telephone calls to provide brief updates has also reduced, greatly alleviating our administrative burden.”
Haba adds, “As the SMSEagle device is situated in the Commune Office’s server room, we have taken the opportunity to use it to monitor and report on the temperature and humidity of our IT infrastructure too. The built-in sensors can send alarms via SMS to our IT teams when limits are exceeded.”
SMSEagle Gateway revolutionizes local administrative communications
With close to 1000 residents registered to date, Masłów Commune’s new SMS system continues to see a growing number of subscribers and has received much positive feedback from residents. “The support we’ve received from SMSEagle has been outstanding”, says Haba, “featuring rapid helpdesk responses, personalised attention to our needs, and effective problem-solving. We’re looking forward to expanding our use of the SMSEagle gateway, including its Email-to-SMS functionality”.
The Commune Mayor adds: “Masłów Commune is also advocating for its use in communications with candidates and members of the Ward Electoral Commission, during the upcoming elections. Having effectively addressed our existing communication challenges, we look forward to using SMSEagle SMS/MMS Gateway to take our communication and administrative activities to the next level.”