How smart contract can talk with external party

Hi, buddies,

I am very new to ethereum, just start to learn it and smart contract running on top of it, and very curious about how it can interact with external, pls forgive me if it is a naive question...

My basic understanding is that:
1. If external party wants to send data into Ethereum, it can trigger a transaction through RPC (not experiment it yet, just see there are related APIs)
2. But how about a smart contract wants to talk to an external party? For example, a smart contract needs to trigger an alert (like an SMS) to its owner, how to do it? I did not find any API to trigger an external service, either WebService, or REST, and I think it is not allowed due to its computation model. Then how to meet such requirements, I believe there must be a way, but have no idea now..

Thanks very much! :)

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