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6 benefits of using Bulk SMS for your business

Using Bulk SMS for client communication and from promotional material to notifications. Bulk SMS is a good way to stay in constant contact with customers/ clients – all you need is their mobile phone numbers. 2. Inexpensive: notifying customers of special promotions through text messages are unbelievably cheap in comparison to other types of advertising. You won’t pay nearly as much for Bulk SMS as you will do for an advert on a billboard, television or in a magazine. 3. Effortless: composing one default message and sending it to multiple recipients not only saves you money, but also requires less hassle and effort. The software is usually easy to use and if you need any assistance, Integrat will be there to provide expert guidance. Messages can be automated to go out at a specific date and time ahead of your planned campaign. Also, you can keep track on anything you send or receive so you will be able to view the history of your SMS campaign at any time. 4. Easy reach: most people own cell phones and all mobile devices are capable of displaying text messages. You don’t have to worry about whether your clients will be able to receive your messages or not. They can save the message for later reading or forward it to a friend. Bulk SMS can reach people regardless if they are at home, work or in another province – even another country, depending on your SMS Gateway provider. 5. Wide appeal: anyone who owns a mobile phone knows how to read or compose text messages. As long as your content is easy...

What is MMS?

A MMS is a Multimedia Messaging Service. Unlike a SMS that only contains text; a MMS can accommodate videos, graphics, audio etc. How is a MMS sent? Multimedia Messages aren’t delivered in the same (straightforward) way as a SMS. In a nutshell, it works like this: 1. The sending device encodes the multimedia content in a fashion similar to sending a MIME e-mail. 2. The message is forwarded to the carrier’s MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Centre). 3. If the receiver is on another carrier, the relay forwards the message to the recipient’s carrier using the Internet. 4. Once the MMSC has received a message, it first determines whether the receiver’s handset is “MMS capable” – in other words supports the standards for receiving MMS. 5. If yes: the content is extracted and sent to a temporary storage server. 6. An SMS “control message” containing .mov – video/mov • .avi – video/avi • .mpg – video/mpg • .flv – video/x-flv • .divx – video/divx • .movie – video/movie • .qti – video/qti • .qtif – video/qtif • .r3t – video/r3t • .r1m – video/rlm • .rec – video/rec • .rpm – video/rpm • .ogm – video/x-ogm Audio: • .3gp – audio/3gp • .aac – audio/aac • .wav – audio/wav • .mp3 – audio/mp3 • .amr – audio/amr • .mid – audio/mid Picture: • .gif – image/gif • .jpg – image/jpeg • .png – image/png • .tif – image/tiff • .bmp – image/bmp • .wbmp – image/vnd.wap.wbmp Text: • txt – text/plain • html – text/html • wml – text/vnd.wap.wml Integrat provides quality MMS services to businesses who wish to see...

Is there a mobile billing tsunami coming?

Experts reckon that mobile billing and transactions will soon be a way of to bring about convenience. Lately the focus has shifted to mobile shopping as companies have seen a rising trend amongst their customers – the transgression from desktop to cell phone. But at the same time, merchants are wondering why the conversion rates are not as robust as they would like. As enthusiastic as most consumers seem to be at the prospect of leading a wallet-less life, some industry leaders are posing the question if the world is truly ready for mobile billing and payments. Braintree’s GM of Mobile Aunkur Arya said that the emphasis should be more on the enablement of commerce and less on the payments and transactions themselves. “Mobile is the primary computing device, but there is still a ton of friction when people have to take out their credit card and put that information in,” he said. “The drop-off rates are as high as 75 percent. The merchants who are winning are those who can create magic, like Uber, HotelTonight, and Postmates.” One the general issues people have is that of security. A mobile user can be the victim of theft or lose/ misplace their phone (containing all their payment history or transaction info) at any given time. Or if someone gets hold of the user’s info another way, all they will need is the user’s phone and they can shop away. On the other hand, a wallet can just as easily be stolen or a credit card holder can become the victim of fraud. As the CEO of PocketChange, Ari Mir, remarked:...

How does mobile billing and payments work?

Different methods exist for mobile billing and payments. We can expect to see an increase in the number of complicated (and simplified) ways for paying for virtual goods in the future. But for now, these are the methods we are all familiar with. The “grandfather” of mobile billing is the SMS text. It is the oldest and simplest way of charging customers for goodies. The customer sends a text and asks to have the product charged to his mobile bill. As soon as the payment is received, the merchant gets a notification and he releases the product to the consumer. The problem with this kind of billing is that it takes a bit of time and there is always the risk of info/ notifications getting lost or delayed. If you are in a hurry to obtain your product, this method can cause much frustration. To help solve this problem, direct mobile billing was introduced. It is faster, more secure and customers don’t need a credit card, nor do they have to register on another site beforehand. This allows merchants to reach people anywhere in the world. When customers want an online product, all they have to do is choose the mobile payment option and then enter a pin and/or password into their mobile phone. The charge will then be added to their phone bill. It is also possible to make mobile billing and payments via the internet. It is the exact same process as doing it from a computer, but it has the added advantage of the “anytime, anywhere” approach – you aren’t restricted to your chair behind the...

2 Things you don’t want for your SMS Gateway

Does your SMS Gateway service provider know what they’re doing? Are you using the correct software? Let’s have a look at two of the things you don’t want for your gateway. 1. Incompetent support service When you first start off, you might not know much about the provider’s products or services and will need their assistance a number of times. Also, anything can happen down the line and when you need a quick solution, they should jump into superhero mode and come save you. Providers will promise you the moon and stars on their website, but the moment your contract is signed, you experience something less than satisfying. Before you put pen to paper and enter into an agreement – put the provider to the test. Send one or more emails to the company’s support team and ask questions about their services or products. Then take note of the following: The time they took to respond – did they consider you “important enough” to answer timely? If the SMS Gateway provider can’t answer a simple question fast, imagine what will happen when you have a real crisis! The quality of their response – do they know what they are talking about? Do they sound knowledgeable and competent? If they can’t provide you with a clear, expert answer, you are probably looking at a bunch of amateurs. A company that responds quickly but can’t help you, or one that can help you but takes forever to respond, will seriously harm test out first. It is a very wise decision to sign up for the trail version of a program before...

Mobile billing and privacy concerns

The mobile environment has created a few privacy and security concerns, especially when it comes to mobile billing and payments. How can you as a service provider give your clientele peace of mind when it comes to their financial relationship with you? Your clientele needs to know that their personal information won’t become public knowledge. You might think this information is limited to their banking details, phone numbers and address, but it pertains to anything that can make the individual’s identity apparent. For example: photographs, an IP address, voice print and facial recognitions etc. When it comes to mobile billing, your privacy policy should be ethical and strict. It needs to outline exactly what your policies are and what steps customers can take if they feel their privacy have been violated. This policy should be given in print (as part of the contract) when a client enlists your services, and should also be available on your website for public view. Design your services in a way that any information is protected from the moment of collection to use and storage. As mobile services gain more attention, it is inevitable that privacy and security policies of application providers and developers will regularly be reviewed and placed under close scrutiny. It only takes a handful of bad user experiences before the relevant authorities step in and demand anything from changes to your application to fines or compensation for breach of contract. The good news is that user privacy in mobile billing and transactions can be one of your greatest marketing tools. According to the Australian government’s website (oaic.gov.au), a 2012 survey...

4 Things to avoid in a SMS Gateway service provider

Choosing a SMS gateway provider is no easy task. You want the best, but how can you be sure a provider isn’t all smoke and mirrors? Here are four things you should steer clear of if you want quality wireless services. One-man shows If a company is so small that it only has one or two employees – pause a moment and think. Mobile aggregation and wireless communication aren’t the kind of things that a person can manage single-handedly – even if the person is extremely talented. Such a SMS service provider might be able to service one client effectively, but what if he signs up more clients? Will he still be able to provide you with emergency technical support at two o’clock in the morning? Suspicious terms of payment Don’t fall into the “hidden cost” trap. Make very sure you know what you are paying for and why you are paying for it. Don’t just sign up with the first provider you meet and be careful when giving out your personal info and banking details. Also have a look at the company’s banking details – do they look legit? Insist on proof that your payment was received and processed every single time can always be up-to-date. Open source programs might be nice to have as a temporary solution, but don’t count on it for future projects. Don’t be fooled by SMS gateway providers who only pretend to have excellent services and products. Avoid one-man shows, suspicious terms of payment, one-sided and open source...

How SMS Gateway connections work

Are you wondering how SMS Gateway connections work? In this post we will explain the basics of understanding what lurks behind the send and receive of wireless communication. A SMS Gateway functions as a relay between SMS Centres (SMSC). The software are developed and maintained by service providers and network operators – this can be done in-house or outsourced, depending on the operator. Two SMS centres cannot communicate with each other if they don’t work with a common SMCS protocol. And as with all service providers, being unique isn’t only limited to their products and brand but they also code in different languages or ways. This is where a SMS Gateway comes in. It is placed in between the connections to transmit information and translates the protocols. Not only wireless carriers employ SMS gateways, but also content providers and SMS application developers as well. For instance, if an SMS text messaging application developer wishes to deliver SMS messages through a server, then the way to directly connect to an SMSC is through an SMS gateway. The gateway to be used should support many types of SMSC-specific protocols. SMS Gateways also make a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem, connected to the computer. These devices are able to connect to the PC by various methods, like Bluetooth, data cable, or USB cable. Although not as speedy as direct internet connection, it is cheaper if used for lightweight messaging. If you are interested in Integrat’s SMS Gateway services, get in contact with us today and open up a brand new communication platform for your...

What aspects of mobile billing do mobile operators need to consider?

Mobile billing and payments come with their own set of difficulties for mobile operators. What factors do you as a mobile operator need to consider when offering this as a service? Rapid change in environment: you will have to keep up with the rapid change in technology and user demands. Customers are quick to seek out the competition if they can provide something better or more advanced. As an operator you need to be flexible and stay on top of the latest trends. Business models and prices: mobile billing and payment platforms have to adapt to all current and emerging models. These will include, but will not be limited to, in-app-based billing, one-off purchases, subscriptions, and the provision of credit. Customers want to be able to choose their payment methods (credit card/ direct operator billing/ Paypal) which means you have to be able to support most (if not all) of them. Dealing with third parties: a mobile operator isn’t a billing should be automated to ensure effectiveness. Your services don’t stop when your staff goes home for the day. Solid infrastructure: deployment, upgrades, integration and customization has to happen with minimal problems and without disturbing existing billing systems. Do not let these factors deter you from entering into the world of mobile billing and payments. Progress is made daily to streamline, optimize and simplify these processes for ease of...

Why are SMS gateway services so popular?

Every time new technology hits the market, people love to proclaim that it is the “best thing since sliced bread.” SMS gateway services aren’t the next best thing, but rather the leader of a new technological aggregation era. If you are thinking you have never used a SMS gateway before, think again. Have you ever sent a text message from your computer to someone’s phone? It is pretty convenient, especially if you’re out of air time or you left your cell phone at home. Some mobile operators allow you to send a number of free messages from your computer to a mobile phone daily. Every time you send a message in this fashion, your text is routed through a gateway that is controlled by a SMS gateway provider. The mobile device can’t just automatically receive the communication in the correct way – it needs to be “tweaked” so the device can understand what it’s receiving. What is a SMS? A SMS is a short text message which can be sent over the wireless channel using certain standardized communication methods. The GSM 7-bit alphabet encoding scheme limits the maximum payload length to 160 characters. Companies love making use of texting to keep up with the fast paced world their clientele lives in. People are growing more technologically savvy and never seem to have enough time to get through the day. Mobile communication makes it worth spending money on mobile aggregators and staff to drive and control their wireless communication. With continued innovation in the field of technology, the divide between all sorts of communication devices are shrinking. This helps marketing...

Mobile aggregators: how is information collected?

Solutions proposed for information collection in non-mobile environments do not perform well when applied to mobile environments. How do mobile aggregators cope with data collection in this ever changing environment? Qi Han and Nalini Venkatasubramanian from the University of California-Irvine wrote a cons to...

Mobile billing and gambling: a good idea or not?

Mobile gambling along with games were some of the first entertainment based applications to see the light. Now thanks to mobile aggregation, you can pay for your gambling through data surpasses every other available payment option – especially credit cards, where the conversion rates can be as low as 7%. Simple usage makes direct billing conversion rates so high. This way, players don’t need to fill in any additional forms or leave additional personal data that can discourage them from completing the payment.” Mobile billing for gambling apps seems to have quite a few advantages. It is however advisable to still have more than one payment option available to your clientele so they have the ability to...

How to take advantage of mobile aggregation services

It is evident that the mobile phone isn’t going anywhere. As people’s demands for greater and better mobile experiences grow, so will the creativity and efficiency of mobile aggregation services. Take advantage of this growing trend and give your clientele more than your competitors can. With mobile aggregation services, you will be able to do the following successfully. Stay in touch with your clients: even if your clientele is interested in what is happening at your company, they aren’t going to break a sweat searching for your latest and greatest. You can keep them in the loop about company news or their latest monthly statement by sending timely text messages to their cellphones. Run and drive promotions: you can send messages to your clientele informing them of special offers and promotions. They in turn can spread the messages to their friends and family thereby creating awareness of your products and services. Advertise via an effective mobile channel: your company’s ultimate goal is to make money. By using mobile aggregation services, you can generate sales leads, drive traffic to your website or get more feet in your shop to increase your revenue. All for less than the cost of an advertisement on television or a glitzy outdoor billboard. Maintain competitive advantage: reach your clientele before your rivals do. If your competitors mainly advertise in mediums that require clients to stop everything they do to watch or listen, or if customers have to wait until they get home from work to absorb the info, you can be sure mobile aggregation services will give you a competitive edge. Create, build, or maintain a positive image: compose...

A deeper look at mobile billing

Did you know there are currently two forms of mobile billing? It is identified as “direct operator mobile billing” and “direct-to-bill” payments. While both are simply referred to as mobile billing, they actually work very differently. What is direct operator mobile billing? According to billingviews.com, direct operator billing was highlighted in September last year when Facebook announced it would work with Bango to enable its users to charge their Facebook purchases directly to their mobile bills. It is a virtual way of paying for digital goods and services that are often (but not always) related to the mobile device. Dr Windsor Holden observed the following in his white paper, Mobile Payments in the App Store Economy: Winning Strategies for Telcos: “For the operator, the storefront and the developer, Direct Carrier Billing is an increasingly attractive option. Storefronts and developers can monetise demographics which either do not possess credit cards or are unwilling to give out card details online; the operator can retain and enhance its role in the content value chain.” Direct operator mobile billing can be used to buy digital goods like a paid app to virtual currency in a Facebook-based game. What are direct-to-bill payments? The alternative to credit and debit cards, direct-to-mobile payments is used to purchase retail or hard goods. “The first phase of this would be, for example, paying for purchases from a web retailer like Amazon with a mobile direct-to-bill charge. But the next step happens in the real world, where people begin using mobile payment technology to utilize direct-to-bill charging as a form of payment in lieu of credit and especially debit...

How you can win with mobile aggregation services

Using mobile aggregation services to create your marketing strategy can open doors for your company that have otherwise been closed. In this article we will sneak a peek at how your business can truly win with mobile marketing. According to Tim Reis, leader of Google’s mobile and social solution team in America, mobile holistically impacts your business. “With mobile, we are no longer seeing consumers taking linear e-commerce paths that begin and end on the store through focused mobile sales pitches, special offers and rewards. Your ability to reach your clientele fast and effectively can make or break your business. There isn’t a faster way to do this than via mobile. And as this is a very new marketing playground, it is easy to come up with creative ways to enthral your clientele. At the moment, going mobile is already half the battle won. Just imagine what it would mean for your business if your strategy sets of an international trend! The mobile market is very hunger – grab this opportunity and exploit it to the fullest. Make use of Integrat mobile aggregation services and give your business the...

How supportive is your SMS Gateway service provider?

If you are paying good money for exemplary service/ products, you need to know that you will get your money’s worth.  And when the product and its use is largely unfamiliar territory, you really need to know that your SMS Gateway service provider has your back. Is there any way you can know this before you sign up with a service provider? Unfortunately there is no magic recipe for spotting a “bad” service provider. But, if you take a look at a few basic things, you will get an idea if the relationship will either be a rewarding or a disappointing one. 1. “Getting in contact with us is a breeze” Is it? Does the SMS Gateway provider have a (visible) range of contact options? The more ways you can get in contact with the service provider, the better. They should have a landline and /or cellphone numbers, an email address and physical address. These aren’t only good indicators that the company actually exists, but it also means you can get in contact with them in a way that suits you best. Always verify if the contact details are legitimate – it is easy to fake such details online. 2. “Put us to the test” The words that any client wants to hear! Not all SMS Gateway service providers will jump to the chance to provide test messages, but you can still do it yourself for very little money. Know what the product is capable of before you commit. Test whether you can successfully send and receive messages to and from your targets. 3. “We know what we are...

Bright future looms for mobile aggregation services

It is no secret – mobile communication is taking over the world. Even small children have cellphones these days, whether they actually use it or not. As the world is enthusiastically embracing wireless communication, the future for mobile aggregation services is looking bright. Analysts reckon that the developing world will see a big boom in smartphone sales. Canalys predicts that 837 million smartphones will be shipped globally this year, while for the developed world markets Zenith Optimedia forecasts that smartphone penetration in the world’s top 19 digital markets will double from 35.5% last year to an average of 71.7% by 2015. Mobile aggregation services can find fertile ground in the developing world markets. According to an article on Bango.com, there tends to be a high proportion of unbanked consumers, low credit card penetration and large numbers of prepaid consumers. “For such users, their operator connection may be their sole credit-based or pre-paid agreement.” In the develop world, wireless application service providers can focus on their growing relationships with existing customers. As people are becoming aware of the lengths said service providers go to in order to protect their mobile transactions, they will gain confidence in making use of mobile aggregation services. The bigger the demand, the better and more sophisticated these services will get. Users are also very likely to be won over by the sheer convenience and ease of use when it comes to mobile options as opposed to companies offering only traditional forms of billing. It is safe to say that mobile aggregation services have only one place to go, and that is forward into the future....

Payment options offered by SMS Gateway service providers

SMS gateway service providers all offer different payment plans and options, depending on the product or service you are interested in. In general, SMS messages and credits are purchased from a website, so naturally, most gateway providers support online credit card payment, PayPal, check payment, direct deposit, or a wire transfer. Cash payments will most likely not be accepted as electronic transfers are more secure and comes with a clear proof of payment. Most SMS gateway service providers offer a web-based account management system where you can manage your entire SMS campaign from one central location. The ease of use will differ and some will have features that others don’t. For instance, you can get features like IP locking, low credits/ SMS messages alerts, detailed reports, sub user management and SMS routing options. SMS routing options might have a direct effect on your payment options. The reason being: sometimes you may not want to allow your staff members to send SMS messages to destinations that cost too many credits. If your company sets up an SMS messaging system for staff members to contact clients in South Africa, you may want to disable the sending of SMS messages to other countries. Also, some networks are cheaper but not so reliable, while others are expensive but much more dependable. Keep in mind that the and reliability as the costs of SMS services and...

Are SMS gateway services providers protocol/interface specific?

SMS gateway services providers usually only support certain protocols and interfaces. This might place a limit on the what, how and where of their products and services. What protocols and interfaces do these service providers typically use? HTTP: This is very simple to use and the most commonly supported protocol for sending and receiving text messages. However, it is not very secure. When logging in to an online portal where you have to submit sensitive personal information like your bank account details, service providers will use HTTPS (HTTP + SSL encryption) to ensure your safety. HTTPS encrypts data so your information can’t be stolen online. XML over HTTP / HTTPS: A SMS gateway services provider will use XML over HTTP / HTTPS for sending bulk SMS messages because it enables the submission of a large amount of SMS messages in a single HTTP request. SMTP: For sending email to SMS / or SMS to email messages. FTP: One or more SMS messages are put in a text file and uploaded to the SMS gateway provider’s FTP server. Like XML over HTTP / HTTPS, FTP is a better choice than HTTP / HTTPS for sending bulk SMS messages since it enables the submission of a large amount of SMS messages in a single upload. SMPP: The SMPP protocol is – Standard operator GSM interface. If you are unsure if a SMS gateway services provider has the means to develop and support your intended product, you can ask for more information on the protocols and interfaces they...

Make mobile aggregation services work for you

When is the last time you were excited about interacting with your clients? If client communication conjures up pictures of blood, sweat and tears, you will be relieved to know that mobile aggregation services can turn your marketing strategies completely around – without breaking your back or your bank. Send your clientele informative, educational and promotional material via wireless applications. They can receive these messages directly on their phone (e.g. a SMS or MMS) or you can they can follow a link from their phone to a website or online portal where they can subscribe to your products or services. Your marketing strategy will determine what you use and when / how you implement everything. Mobile aggregation services are managed by qualified and competent service providers, so it is not like you have to work out an elaborate plan on how to get things done. This also makes mobile marketing a better choice than email marketing as you can leave everything to the professionals and don’t need to struggle with unnecessary hassles like email servers and the likes. Stay in touch with your clients and maintain competitive advantage. Your text message can reach your clientele before they see the advertisement of your competitor in a newspaper. And because your messages are text based, it is easy for your customer to forward it to their friends and family and spread the word. Mobile aggregation services can also boost your company’s reputation and increase your “visibility”. Clients are reminded more often of your existence, so when they are in need of the kind of services or products you offer; your company...

Do SMS Gateway services providers have hidden costs?

When signing up for any kind of service, you always need to have a clear the water” first and determine the effectiveness of an SMS campaign amongst your clientele, it will be in your best interest to choose a service provider that doesn’t have minimum purchase requirements. This way you can experiment and add or subtract from your SMS campaign. Another important question concerns time limits. Do you have to use your SMS purchase within a specific timeframe, or does it roll over to the next month? If your credit expires quicker than you can use it, you might want to look at a SMS gateway services provider with more leeway when it comes to message expiration. Protect your interest. Ask for all costs pertaining to SMS gateway services to be explained in detail before you accept a contract from a...

Why the fuss about mobile aggregation services?

It is believed that mobile traffic will exceed web traffic within two to three years. With the focus of corporate communication shifting more and more towards wireless products, there is a need in the market for decent mobile aggregation services. If you think all the fuss is unnecessary or that this is just a passing craze – think again. Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta, the cofounders of tablet times per day • 4 out of 5 minutes on a smartphone are spent on mobile applications. • Users spend more time on Facebook & Twitter through their phone than they do on their desktops Ken Doctor, news industry analyst, describes the mobile aggregation services craze like this: “Mobile is the greenest field around. We – news consumers –are flocking there. The speed of our migration is breath-taking. Tablet usage, as early adopters are joined by legions of others, keeps growing, and smartphones (which just officially passed dumb phones) are markedly increasing news audience consumption worldwide.” Contact Integrat for your mobile aggregation service...
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