It has been thought by many in the telecom industry that SMS is a technology that has become a commodity and is past its prime. But Telestax believes this could not be further from the truth. The rise of Real Time Communications has not only placed a new level of importance on SMS technology it has actually placed it at the core of most, if not all, real time communications applications. Simply put, SMS is becoming the lingua franca of real time communications.
The Decline of the Service Provider Business Model
The increased emphasis on SMS is great news for service providers because it has invigorated their business with new real time applications needing to communicate by way of mobile devices through messaging. Although business for the service provider should be booming with the increase in network traffic, a new technology has inserted itself into the picture. With the emergence of the Communication Platform as a service (CPaaS) technology providers, service providers are actually seeing their margins shrinking. The CPaaS providers have wedged themselves in-between the service provider their customers, shaving a lot of profit from what should otherwise have been a very lucrative opportunity. CPaaS providers like Twilio and to a lesser extent, Nexmo and Plivo, are now taking an amazing amount of the SMS-based profit by charging the end customer transaction rates for sending and receiving SMS messages. Before CPaaS technology, this revenue would have gone straight to the service provider. Unfortunately, today, service providers find themselves negotiating significantly lower SMS pass-through rates with providers of this new middleman technology.
It is critical for service providers to find new and creative ways to avoid falling victim to the CPaaS “business grab” by offering their customers equal or better CPaaS capabilities – at a lower rate. In other words, service providers must become a CPaaS provider themselves or risk irrelevancy over time.
Service Providers – Heal Thyselves
Telestax® is the company behind Restcomm™, the leading Open Source Real Time Communications application development and deployment platform. RestcommONE, Telestax is able to CPaaS enable service providers in 8 weeks or less. Your road to CPaaS with Telestax is significantly shorter than building one in house. And the technology features with your RestcommONE CPaaS enabled platform is highly competitive to any provider in the market today. A little known fact: most of the leading CPaaS technology vendors utilize one or more key components of the RestcommONE platform. RestcommONE includes a carrier-grade, robust telephony stack. The platform offers service providers all of the features and capabilities offered by the leading CPaaS providers – at a significantly reduced cost, And RestcommONE has already been deployed by service providers worldwide.
RestcommONE Marketplace Opens up a Much Bigger Opportunity
Once CPaaS enabled, service providers gain access to the RestcommONE Marketplace™ where in-demand real-time voice, video and messaging business applications and services are available for them to sell. Pricing for these applications has been pre-negotiated between the vendor and Telestax so there is no further discussions required by service providers. Besides ready-made real-time applications, the benefit of belonging to the RestcommONE Marketplace is its generous revenue sharing model. In this model service providers share in the revenue that is brought in from business customers utilizing applications that require sending traffic over the network. For example, applications lift the value of SMS significantly, making each message that is sent or received far more lucrative to all three parties than simply moving SMS traffic on behalf of a CPaaS provider. With RestcommONE, service providers now take back control and make money off of all traffic that travels on their network.
Future of SMS – Bigger and Better
New technologies entering the market are having a dramatic effect on the importance of SMS position in real time communications. When integrated, SMS becomes the super highway for new real communications applications and services in virtually every market and geography. Service Providers that have implemented a RestcommONE CPaaS offering are poised to quickly leverage these new SMS-based services and applications and offer them to their installed base.
SMS in the Call Center
Because it is now possible to SMS enable the PSTN, any 800 phone number can now be included in the registry and mapped to a traditional phone number to provide an improved user experience.
An example where this capability would be high value is customer service and support. Most customers dread calling an 800 number for issue resolution. Instead, texting has become the desired method of communication. By SMS enabling an 800 number, customers avoid working their way through an IVR to get to where they need to be for quick resolution. Voice can be enabled at any time, in real time, when needed.
Blending text with voice offers the best of both worlds. Customers can carry on a text conversation with the call center until the problem is clearly defined. Once defined, the text can be sent to a call center professional who finalizes the call. Maintaining conversation context prevents the caller from having to repeat information that has already been provided. Call Centers have a relationship in place with a service provider so they are SMS ready. SMS enabling existing call center infrastructure is a straightforward process that opens up new opportunities for service providers that have built a CPaaS offering.
BYO Mobile Device
Texting has become the highly desired method for B2B and B2C communications. Professionals tend to keep their business contacts on their mobile device because it is with them and available 24×7. But organizations have become concerned about SMS as a method of communication because it is happening outside of the company network. Even worse than SMS, OTT messaging applications not only takes place outside of the company network – they leave the service provider’s network as well. Further, when a professional leaves the company, with him goes all of his business contacts and conversations.
Offering the ability to add a business number to an employee’s mobile device makes it possible to separate work from private life. Professionals now use their business client for all business calls and text. The employer, not the employee, pays for fees associated with sending business SMS messages and the service provider stays connected to the organization. Further, the service provider can offer their customers the ability to customize the application with a branded look-and-feel along with added value services
Integrating Chatbots – Let Real Time Communication Begin!
Chatbots have hit the scene by storm, generating a lot of industry excitement and speculation over value. When integrated with SMS, chat bots bring SMS to a whole new level. Chatbots have the ability to carry on a conversation via SMS message on a specific topic. When tied to toll free numbers, a Chatbot can guide a conversation with a customer to uncover the problem at the very specific level they are experiencing. Once uncovered, the bot can either solve the customer’s problem or transfer the caller to a specialist for quick resolution.
Dumb Bots versus Smart Bots
Both Dumb and Smart bot technology offers a new capability to move SMS to new and amazing levels of functionality. To understand the difference between dumb and smart bots, consider the personal assistant bot:
The Dumb Bot intercepts a message conversation request while a professional is offline. Similar to voicemail, the bot answers the incoming conversation with a personalized message like “Hello Jeff, I am Nancy’s personal assistant. Nancy is unavailable at this time but she will get back to you as soon as she is available. This historically has been a voicemail only capability. The bot now extends this capability to SMS messages as well.
The Smart Bot is able to become a full AI personal assistant. The smart bot is able to know and understand an individual’s calendar. Further, it can read email and documents and it learns from experience. Using the dumb bot example, the smart bot will not only answer a text message as a voicemail, it will actually interact with the individual to schedule a conversation on the recipient’s calendar. Now, the conversation could be “Hello Jeff, I am Nancy’s personal bot assistant, how may I help you? Yes, I can schedule a meeting on behalf of Nancy, would Wednesday at 2:00 pm work for you?”
This smart bot continues the conversation until an acceptable day and time is found on the schedules for both parties. The business benefit from a Chatbot of this type is increased productivity by reducing human latency within business communication processes.
The Challenge – How and Where to Start?
It is one thing to understand the problem and solution, and entirely another thing to make it happen. SMS enablement is an initial step towards becoming a CPaaS provider. Implementing a full CPaaS offering requires a fair amount of knowledge and engineering skills in areas like SIP, SMPP, SS7, etc., which are arguably complex technologies. But the answer is straightforward – why not take advantage of the platform that is utilized today by most CPaaS players. RestcommONE is a comprehensive platform for building and deploying a robust and high performing CPaaS solution that will become the basis for building these new SMS revenue generating services.
With over 5.3 million lines of code and 176% growth in community contribution over the previous year, the RestcommONE platform is mature and well established
- A wide range of rest APIs that provide easy access to Restcomm Telecom functions
- Mobile WebRTC SDKs for both IOS and Android
- Visual design tool that automate much of the coding when building real-time messaging (SMS & USSD) and voice applications
- All of the telecommunications technology needed to build a world-class CPaaS platform
- Carrier grade, scalable, fault tolerant
- Voice, Video, Message (WebRTC) in a single platform
- On premise, in the cloud, hybrid deployment
- Integrations with the major OTT messaging applications like WhatsApp, WeChat
- and Viber and social networking services like Facebook and Twitter
The CPaaS marketing is exploding. For every dollar that is earned by a CPaaS provider is a dollar that is lost by a service provider. And this trend is not stopping. It is critical for service providers to get ahead of this trend by becoming a CPaaS themselves. Service providers must offer their business customers the applications and services they need to grow their business or their customers will switch to a provider that can. Telestax is the partner for protecting and growing service provider revenues. With RestcommONE, becoming CPaaS enabled has never been easier. And the benefits of joining the RestcommONE Marketplace cannot be disputed.
The bottom line: By removing the current CPaaS providers from the picture, service providers are now back in control of their destiny.