Infobip – A Global Perspective of A2P SMS

You come up to an ATM, slip in your card, punch in your PIN and seconds later, even before you finish counting the cash, your mobile device pings; you’ve received an SMS stating the amount withdrawn from the particular ATM kiosk ,stating the name of the particular kiosk and the time.

A2P (application –to-person) SMS is one of the most popular and efficient mobile communication channels available today. It serves as a perfect tool for companies to engage with clients owing to the fact that A2P messaging is direct, personal and popular with mobile users. Add this to the high read rates (estimated 90 percent of SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes), it is no wonder that Ovum predicts that the next few years “will mark a golden age for A2P SMS,” with the number of worldwide A2P messages increasing to 2.19 trillion by 2018. Although it looks bright and sunny, leveraging A2P SMS has proven challenging for carriers. The technology has long been plagued by spam, and some network operators have responded by discouraging or even blocking traffic in an effort to reduce call-center costs and other outlays. As a result, carriers are increasingly seeking out partners that specialize in identifying questionable traffic and blocking unsolicited messaging traffic, and are on the lookout to form effective partnerships with aggregators that can help them identify and block traffic from the “grey routes” often used to disseminate spam. Moreover, factors like consistent and reliable delivery, global coverage, exemplary customer experience and an added multilingual support all comes to the table while looking for a promising vendor.

Infobip is one of the leading A2P SMS providers in the world and a reliable partner of the leading mobile operator groups

Headquartered in UK with regional offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, Infobip is one of the leading A2P SMS providers in the world and a reliable partner of the leading mobile operator groups. One of Infobip’s top services is Number Lookup; a solution that helps clients to identify the status of a particular number. Number Lookup identifies phone numbers irrespective of whether they are roaming, ported, switched off, inexistent, landline or mobile. Infobip understands that clients consider this information crucial so as to optimize messaging, increase consumer experience and reduce excess outages. For instance, a mobile user trying to install an app requires the user’s mobile number. The user inputs in the wrong number by mistake that cancels the installation. This results in app-loss for the user as well as a potential revenue loss for the app maker. However, this situation can easily be reversed if the app checks the number as soon as it is entered, upon which it will realize that the number is erroneous. The user is alerted in the same instant, who then inputs the right number to successfully complete the installation. Similarly, Number Lookup helps VoIP providers to identify the number status and route the call in the most optimal fashion possible. “Number portability is a great feature for mobile users, but can complicate things in professional SMS messaging. Number Lookup identifies the number and its status, and allows Infobip to route the message properly and reduce messaging costs,” says Matija Razem, VP Business Development Infobip.

Enabling Professional A2P SMS via mGate

mGate, Infobip’s crown jewel has been designed to automate consumer communication using the available communication channels. Although initially designed for A2P SMS communication with mobile users, mGate has since been upgraded for omni-channel engagement, harnessing SMS, push notifications and email. mGate uses database integration that allows the product to trigger communication with the mobile user whenever an actionable event occurs such as a bank account deposit, ATM withdrawal, due date or birthday. For instance, assuming that SMS is the default setting for a client consumer, mGate triggers an SMS message to the user’s mobile phone. Essentially, depending on the message and the user’s preferences, the client can choose another channel, but maintains the SMS channel as fallback. To ensure maximum security, mGate uses VPNs for transmitting data from client’s system into Infobip’s own, thus ensuring that no third parties have access in the process at any point. Moreover, Infobip possesses ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS certificates testifying to the outmost security of Infobip’s services.
“Banks and financial institutions are the key mGate clients and security is of the paramount concern. Ensuring that every angle is covered to protect the business and the private data of mobile users is of utmost importance,” adds Mr Razem.
2-Factor Authentication for Online and Mobile

As an additional layer of protection, Infobip offers 2-Factor Authentication. 2-Factor Authentication requires clients to input in a security code in addition to a standard username/password combo in order to complete the login, an installation of a smart phone app or any action. Infobip delivers this code via SMS, although delivery via voice services is also available. Infobip provides a full suite of 2-Factor Authentication tools, from basic SMS API integration, to an entire one-time PIN generation engine with a custom logic for each client. Infobip’s global network coverage gives online and mobile apps the global reach they need, and reduces the costs normally associated with procuring, delivering and maintaining hardware tokens.

Additionally, the company’s Text-to-Speech service is enabled to perform 2-Factor Authentication of users in two ways, using a PIN code, or a response code. In the case of the PIN code, after the call has been connected, the mobile user hears the pre-recorded voice message of the content, who then enters the PIN number in the corresponding verification box in the app or online. A response code on the other hand works differently. After the call has been connected, the mobile user hears the message, “To verify your phone number please press 1”, and then presses the corresponding number in the dial pad during the call. The phone number is then immediately verified. Similarly, the 2FA SMS messages that have not been delivered are automatically transferred to Voice service and delivered via a call. This increases the delivery and the conversion rates.

Effectively Managing Client Campaigns

Another innovative mobile engagement tool from Infobip, the 2-Way SMS allows mobile users to directly reach out to brands in exchange for loyalty rewards, coupons, discounts and other free stuff. TLC Marketing from South Africa stands to be a successful testimonial for 2-Way SMS, where Infobip provided SMS capabilities for several campaigns that were run on behalf of some of the world’s largest brands. Most of the campaigns centered on a call to action to consumers – inviting them to text in a code and potentially win a prize. Displayed in newspapers, retail outlets or billboards, the call to action stressed the “text to” aspect of the campaign and advertised the number to send SMS messages to. The campaigns were an overwhelming success, increasing sales and contributing to the overall image and reach of each particular brand. This case serves as a perfect illustration of how 2-Way SMS allows businesses to engage mobile users and drive sales using the SMS marketing channel. As a means to providing exceptional services to clients around the globe, Infobip provides Virtual long numbers (VLNs). Enabling P2A SMS communication, VLNs provide international accessibility and can be used across country borders, using the same number in multiple countries, and for multiple campaigns. The fact that Infobip enjoys a global coverage makes it easier to procure all the necessary elements from a single provider and thus reduce time to launch and improve efficiency. “From the technical standpoint, VLNs are deployed and managed using Infobip’s API, where a single integration with our API enables worldwide coverage for 1-way SMS and access to over 50 countries covered with 2-Way SMS,” informs Mr Razem.

An A2P SMS specialist

A2P SMS has been at the heart of Infobip ever since their first project, and since then the company have grown to over 40 offices in 36 countries, and 800 employees of which nearly 300 in development and related technical roles. Since its inception in 2006, Infobip have connected to over 800 operators and have served some of the world’s largest mobile, online and tech brands. But rather than gloating over their laurels, Infobip chose to continuously innovate and evolve so as to stay on the cutting edge of mobile technology. In addition to India, the company considers Asia and Latin America as its key growth markets for the next five years. Having expanded into new frontiers like China, Brazil, and local offices across Asia and Latin America, Infobip is excited about opening a research and development office in Pune while hiring local talent and integrating it to the existing developer force to keep innovating and leading the A2P SMS and Telco industry forward. Confident about the potential of the A2P SMS market, Infobip continues to innovate and bring new solutions in this dynamic tech market throughout the world.