One of the most powerful tools that businesses, governments and other organizations have to communicate with human beings is SMS. You are probably quite familiar with the most common form of SMS, text messaging. SMS text messaging can have great benefits over many other forms of communication and be used for an array of different purposes.
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What Is SMS?
SMS is an acronym that stands for short message service. When people think of SMS, their memories probably only go back 20 years or so. SMS actually has an earlier origin, being first developed by a German engineer named Friedhelm Hillebrand in 1984. This system was developed to send messages composed of text directly through the phone system, and it went on to evolve into what we know as text messaging today.
In most cases, SMS still refers to those standard messages we know as text messages. However, there are now additional variants, such as MMS. This stands for multimedia message service. It refers to SMS messages that can also include media such as images, video or audio in addition to text.
What Is an SMS API?
API stands for an application programming interface. This is an interface that works with software to facilitate communication between multiple pieces of software. In terms of SMS, an SMS API is a software interface that allows a user to send out SMS messages to recipients. It is the API that allows text messages, or media messages in the case of MMS, to make the journey from the telecommunications carrier, usually a cell phone company, to the wider internet and ultimately to the end recipient.
This is often accomplished through something known as an SMS gateway. The SMS gateway is what is used by a device, such as a smartphone, to receive and send text messages. In fact, a standard personal computer can also receive text messages from sources such as mobile phones through the use of an SMS gateway. The gateway is what is needed to translate the information sent into a format that can be read as either an SMS text message or an MMS media message.
SMS APIs have certain applications for clients of different types. For one, you should be aware of how powerful an API actually is. You can use one to send out thousands of text messages to thousands of clients within mere seconds, and you can do so in a completely automated fashion. The amount of bang for your buck in regards to the marketing dollar spent is extremely significant, especially when compared to other more traditional advertisements in nearly any medium. All it takes essentially is one person and one API to alert thousands of customers of a new promotion. It’s cost-effective across the board.
The number of industries that can benefit from such an API is quite vast. This includes examples such as:
- Food service
- Real estate
- Shipping and logistics
Overall, SMS can be utilized in nearly any industry in which quick, efficient and concise communication between the company and its customers is desired. It is excellent for marketing purposes but can also be used for other things like scheduling notices, appointment reminders, billing and much more. The possibilities are almost endless.
What API Features Should You Look For?
If you are interested in harnessing the power of an API for SMS, there are different features you should look for when you compare shops between different vendors. One feature that should absolutely be demanded is automation. Without automation, many SMS features must be performed manually. That can be extremely time-consuming when the customer base in question is in the thousands or more. With the right API, the sending of SMS can be automated in response to customer action. For example, if a customer makes a purchase on a company app, a receipt can be automatically generated by the API and sent out to that customer’s phone.
Another feature you should look out for is an SMS network with significant reach. If you want your SMS to be sent out to customers in different nations that may use very different phone services, you better ensure that the SMS network in question reaches into those countries and those specific providers. Encrypted security is another must, especially if you wish to avoid issues like being targeted by hackers and cybercriminals that could leave your company at risk for lawsuits or worse.
Overall, SMS is an incredibly powerful tool that is utilized by businesses in almost every industry on earth. If you want the means to quickly and efficiently communicate with customers or users in a cost effective and automated manner, SMS is an excellent chose. Consider different plans from different providers and compare their features to find the best choice for you and your company.