Release Note: Messenger 5.3 August 2013

Alas, it's nearly time for a new school year - but fear not as we have a new version of Messenger for you to enjoy to ease you back into the new academic year!  We've listened to what you have had to say and made our Messenger service even better.

Groupcall would like to thank all of you that take the time and effort to feedback to us.

Please see below for a brief description of the major features added into this release.  We hope that you like it and we’d love you to let us know what you think!

eLetters

We have responded to a number of requests to make Groupcall Messenger the centre of your home-school communication arsenal by extending message types to include those contacts that do not have SMS or Email capability -  this is now in the form of printed communication.

The new eLetters functionality* allows Messenger to either:

  • Produce a copy of SMS or Email messages as a printed letter for any contacts without relevant contact details for seamless side-by-side communication.
  • Produce a traditional letter for whole school distribution for those occasions in which a traditional printed approach is more suitable than email etc.
* NB this feature is being rolled out in stages; if you do not have the functionality enabled yet and you need it turning on please let us know.

We have built 'Leader Header Paper' type functionality into  Messenger v5 to allow you to build your own electronic version of school stationery so that printed communication can be verified by recipients as having been sent by the school directly.

GA_Letterhead

Your Letterhead templates can be managed easily from within Messenger v5. To get you started we have included a default template, all you need to do is set your school details and upload a logo  right from the account settings page - if you have admin rights have a look at the new 'Contact Details' area in your account settings view!

Pre-Admissions

This is something we have been asked for on a number of occasions and we are pleased to announce that we can deliver this functionality natively within Messenger v5 (as well as in many other areas affecting our other products - contact us for more information). The reasons behind the delay in enabling this functionality is MIS related - the concept of pre-admissions is not something MISs are used to dealing with; this is changing however. Presently we can only extract pre-admission students from SIMS. Please note this functionality requires a script update that will be released on 29/09.

In real terms, the native concept of pre-admissions within Messenger v5 will allow you to perform a number of tasks.

  • Email new year 7 parents in the summer holidays to communicate important information relating the new academic year seamlessly alongside existing students.
  • Distribute school newsletters at the end of term to new parents so they feel a part of the school community prior to their child joining the school.
  • Advise parents of children transferring mid-year of upcoming events and important information.

 

Units per Message Cap

Based on customer feedback, we've built in a cap of 2 units per message for those on unlimited tariffs. The school name or text header is inclusive in the character count.

  • As you may be aware each year we review the volumes of texts sent by customers on our ‘unlimited’ text package. As I’m sure you appreciate, we do hold the price agreed for the year, regardless of how many texts a school actually sends, and reserve the right to increase the cost of the subscription fee for the following year if the message usage is disproportionately high or not for the intended purpose.
  • The cap provides the school greater control on future budgets to ensure that users do not send unnecessarily long messages.
  • You can request this cap be increased or decreased, but please appreciate that sending long messages may result in higher subscription charges.

Enhancements and Bug Fixes

We have made some improvements to existing features and addressed performance in a number of areas to improve on the service you already receive.

  • The sending of messages, handling of status updates for messages and handling incoming texts are now more efficient.
  • Improvements to the way Cloud Based MISs e.g. e1 or G2, sync data.
  • Fixed MIS groups such as 'All' and 'Students' can no longer be inadvertently deleted.

  • e1 schools in Scotland can now use multi-language translation.
    • A big thanks to Pearson for making this change so quickly for us.
  • Updated the Twitter API to use v1.1 after v1 was retired.

  • Fixed minor bug when doing searches by 'Name'  for users with apostrophes e.g O'Brien.
  • When exporting data from 'History' using filters, that filtered content is correctly exported. Previously the filtering was ignored.