Text Messaging (SMS) Gateways
SMS stands for Short Message Service. In 2008, 4.1 trillion SMS text messages were sent. SMS has become a massive commercial industry, worth over 81 billion dollars globally. There are several ways to send text messages. You can get a SMS short code from http://usshortcodes.com (the only current site for codes). This costs $3,000 every 3 months or more for special “vanity” numbers. The provisioning process takes from 1 month to several months as each carrier needs to approve the short code.
Some carriers require the user to “subscribe” to the short code before getting the message. SMS gateway providers can be classified as aggregators or SS7 providers. The aggregator model is based on multiple agreements with mobile carriers to exchange two-way SMS traffic known as MT (Mobile Terminated) and MO (Mobile Originated). Aggregators lack direct access into the SS7 protocol, which is the protocol where the SMS messages are exchanged. SMS messages are delivered to the carriers network, but not the subscriber's handset.
Another drawback is that most carriers allow individual subscribers to disable email to text messaging (for SPAM reasons). Also if sending the same message to more than one number with the same carrier it may be detected as SPAM.
The last and most cost effective way to send text messages is by leveraging a shared short code that has already been approved and provisioned by all carriers. We provider simple web-service URLs that can be called from any programming language. Once you have a license key you can send to any phone regardless of carrier. Note most emails to text messaging gateways are limited to 130 or less characters but SMS can send up to 160 characters. The underlying protocol for SMS is often SMPP or Short Message Peer-to-Peer. This is similar to another protocol that can be used to send text messages to pages: SNPP or Simple Network Paging Protocol.
IVR WHITE PAPER
What is IVR? Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computers to interact with humans through the use of voice and keypad inputs. These keypad inputs are tone based and called DTMF for Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling. AT&T pioneered this technology on their telephone network and called it Touch-Tone.
For those old enough to remember rotary phones, prior to the development of DTMF, telephone systems employed pulse dialing. Interestingly the AT&T engineers had envisioned phones being used to access computers way back in the 1960s, and even surveyed a number of major companies to see what they would need for this role. This led to the addition of the # sign key and asterisk or "star" (*) key but it was over 30 years until they became widely used for services such as *67 to suppress caller ID. Visionaries indeed! Almost all banks now allow the input of account numbers followed by pound as a terminator. This has made it easier for smaller businesses to utilize this technology as large portions of the populations are already growing accustomed to these types of IVR systems and the costs keep dropping.
At TelephoneAlert.net we provide APIs to send voice calls with sound files (.WAV extension) or convert text-tospeech for “on-the-fly” calls. When the system calls you the system is generally referred to as an auto-dialer. There are many reasons an organization may want to use an auto-dialer whether it is cloud-based or premise based. Premise based just means it is hosted locally on the premises. Cloud based usually means you do not have to know or worry about where it is hosted and the system is maintained and monitored for you.
Here's a quick example for a small business. This same example couple also apply to larger organizations. Both the traditional brick-and-morter businesses as well as more virtual or spread out organizations can benefit greatly with IVR solutions. Let's say Bob's dried meats is only located in Denver Colorado but would like to expand. Bob hires sales agents to call potential distributors and get the word out about his yummy meats. But they have to make all the calls manually and do everything by hand. This would include not just dialing the numbers but taking notes on the conversations and remembering to follow-up. All of this leads to mistakes or data entry errors and potential clients slipping through the cracks. This often leads to frustrations and poor customer service. Now consider the wait time in this scenario. Anyone who has had a calling tree of 20 numbers can attest it takes much longer than you would expect. You have to wait for answering machines, call-backs happen when you are on the phone and some folks just like to talk a lot. Now compare this to an automated system where sales agents are still involved but can follow-up on the important leads vs. making all the calls. They can focus on what they are good at and let the computers automate what they are good at.
Products and Solutions
- Enterprise Architecture (EA)
- Mass Notification No No's
- Healthcare / Hospitals
- Military Certifications
- Campus Alerts
- Premised Based Solutions
- SaaS Solutions
- Message-Oriented Middleware