Billing Platform

Integration with JeraSoft Billing Platform

DAS Solutions is excited to announce that our SMS Gateway has been extensively integrated with JeraSoft Billing Platform for telecom providers. Now users are encouraged to take an advantage of using connected solutions aimed to successfully implement messaging services.

DAS Solutions SMS Gateway is a carrier grade, in-house developed platform that gives telecom carriers and service providers the capability to offer their customers the entire range of messaging services. The platform has an impressively high throughput and the ability to manage SMPP and SS7 interconnections. The SMS Gateway performs intelligent algorithm routing management and comes with origin and content based routing capabilities. DAS Solutions is continuously working on upgrading the platform in line with the latest technologies and market trends.

About DAS Solutions

DAS Solutions is a software development company focusing on providing top quality services for businesses in a wide range of industries such as telecom, banking, insurance, E-health. Through its team of experts, DAS Solutions’ goal is to meet the existing and future requirements of the most demanding international companies. For more information about DAS Solutions please visit the website.

About JeraSoft

JeraSoft is the leading developer and integrator of high-quality billing solutions for Telecom (Retail Services, Mobile VoIP, Business Telephony, OTT, Wholesale VoIP and SMS) and IoT/M2M providers around the world. Since 2005 JeraSoft has been putting together key insight and successful billing management practices, combining them with state-of-the-art web and telecom technologies. The result is a powerful platform the Telecom and IoT providers can use to streamline billing processes and add value to their business.

For more details about DAS Solutions SMS Gateway configuration for JeraSoft Billing Platform, please look through our Integration Manual here.

Become an SMS aggregator

Three Ways to Become an SMS Aggregator

Setting up your own business as an SMS aggregator is a great and at he same time challenging project. This profitable business creates value for telecom companies, entrepreneurs from other industries, and, ultimately, end-users. You can go for one of these three options if you decide to become an SMS aggregator:

  • Become an owner of an SMS Gateway (Acquisition mode)
  • Rent an SMS Gateway (Cloud mode)
  • Become a white-labelled reseller of an existing platform (Reseller mode)

The first option is recommended for those who have already been in touch with the telecom industry. Otherwise, renting or reselling are good alternatives to risky investments, because these options will give you the time to understand how the industry works. Eventually, you can decide if you want to switch from renting an SMS gateway to owning it.

In this blog post, we’ve highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of the three options.

If You Acquire a Custom SMS Gateway Software

Advantages Disadvantages
Profit is not affected by OPEX Experience in the industry is required
Control over the connectivity & hardware Higher implementation cost and CAPEX
Features flexibility An infrastructure is required
The system can be provider independent Practical know-how in signing beneficial contracts with MNOs and carriers
Control over costs and capacity as per demand At least one employee is needed to perform technical support tasks

If You Rent an SMS Gateway

Advantages Disadvantages
Reduced CAPEX and time to market Experience in the industry is a plus
Control over connectivity Increased OPEX (Monthly recurrent renting costs)
Upgrades assured by the provider Stable connectivity with a strong back-up is required
Level 3 support assured by the provider Practical know-how in signing beneficial contracts with MNOs and carriers
Control over costs and capacity as per demand At least one employee is needed to perform technical support tasks

If You Become an SMS Aggregator by Reselling an Existing Platform

Advantages Disadvantages
No need to be an expert in the industry Smaller profit net margin
It’s easier to become a reseller No control over connectivity options
No need for an infrastructure Smaller price flexibility
Technical issues are resolved by an external tech support Limited features
Requires smaller initial investments The system may be lacking scalability
Short time to market No influence over updates

 

These lists cannot be perceived lopsidedly. Someone can consider the expertise in the bulk SMS industry a huge advantage. The other will be satisfied by the limited number of features because those completely suffice current business needs. The perception of the lists is subjective and depends on the final goal.

If the goal is to sell big SMS packages to others or to offer a feature that other SMS aggregators don’t have, then you should explore the option of acquiring or renting a custom SMS gateway software. Alternatively, if the aim is to sell smaller SMS batches to clients that don’t use SMS extensively, then it makes more sense to become a reseller of an existing platform.

ROI, competition, pricing and client support are among business challenges you will have to face. You need to be prepared to deal with them.

ROI

This is the most important challenge. The ROI you will get is influenced by a set factors such as a well-developed strategy, the ability to grow volumes, networking, control over OPEX, CAPEX investments. Professionalism and level of your and team’s commitment will also influence your profits.

Competition

Good clients are not attracted only by the lowest price on the market. The level of support should be high for the customers to stay with you. Sign, and most importantly, stick to a detailed SLA with your customers to gain credibility and outrun your competition. In addition to that, follow industry trends to identify areas for innovation.

Pricing

Offering the lowest or the highest price without any strategy behind is not viable. Always aim for a price that is in line with market trends and your service quality.

Client Support

As mentioned above, professional support is a must for an SMS aggregator. If you decided to become an SMS aggregator by using a custom SMS gateway software, make sure that you train your customer-facing team members sufficiently because these people are the face of the company to a customer. Existing customers need to be so impressed that they will recommend your team to their business connections. If you enter the bulk SMS business as a white-labelled reseller, then make sure you choose a platform that has an experienced and responsive support team.

In case you decide to become an SMS aggregator, develop a detailed business plan that you can refer to when needed. Besides that, hire a strong team of professionals with a problem-solving mindset. And last but not least, as in any other business, be prepared for a lot of work that requires commitment and creativity.

Moving Forward,
DAS Solutions Team. 

Two-Factor Authentication Best Practices

A second layer of data protection is always a good idea, especially when you want to keep your customers safe from intruders. Authentication mechanisms that require only a username and a password are no longer intrusion-proof, as can be seen by recent experience at some internet giants who shall remain nameless. Your users will be safer if you implement a two-factor authentication system using an SMS gateway, and send customers one-time passwords (OTP) to enter your system.

Typically, one-time passwords are four- to eight-digit numerical codes that are valid for a short period of time, and only for one interaction, session, or transaction. They make authentication safer, because they are sent directly to the customer’s mobile phone. Authentication via OTP gained popularity across industries because it’s a cheap, easy to implement, and ubiquitous way to communicate with customers. The user does not have to install a third-party application to receive the one-time passwords, so it is also a very user-friendly option.

To set up OTPs, you will need an SMS gateway that supports this authentication method. It is configured to generate and send one-time passwords for the user via text. Some OTPs are generated based on time-synchronization, while others use mathematical algorithms.

Text-messages can be delivered in two ways: (1) you can attach a GSM modem to your server with a data cable, or (2) you can send messages through an SMS service provider. If you decide to go for the latter option, text-messages will first be sent to the short message service center (SMSC) of the service provider, and from there, based on connections with other SMSCs, the text-messages get sent to your recipients. For security reasons, setting up a VPN channel between the SMS Gateway and the SMSC of the service provider is always a good precaution. The first option is usually more secure because it is integrated in your infrastructure and does not require an internet connection. The second SMS delivery option is a good choice if you need to send a high volume of text-messages.


SMS-based OTPs are an Option if You Operate in One of these Industries

Everyone understands text messages. Thus implementing two-factor authentication using SMS will not introduce a steep learning curve for your customers. SMS-based OTPs can be implemented regardless of your industry. Here is an extensive list of industries already using this type of authentication successfully!

  1. Education and Training
  2. Food industry
  3. Retail
  4. Travel and Tourism
  5. Healthcare and Hospitality
  6. Web Design
  7. IT and ITeS
  8. Oil and Gas
  9. Real Estate
  10. Media and Advertising

Two-Factor Authentication Use Cases

  • Registration

Ask for a user’s phone number during the first registration attempt. Display a message where it is clearly explained that their phone numbers will be used only for verification procedures. Afterwards, send a one-time password that will allow the user to access their new account.

  • Password Reset

Fraudsters get into user accounts by phishing email addresses, so verifying new passwords by via text OTPs add an extra layer of security.

  • New Device

If the user logs in from a different device, a new IP address, or even a new country, you can add extra verification steps like SMS OTP or by answering qualifying secret questions.

  • Unusual Behavior

Usual behavior such as making a lot of purchases in a short amount of time, or in different timezones can serve as red flags. Prevent fraudulent activities by verifying whether the actions were performed by the user.

  • Changing Account Information or Settings

Set up additional verification steps when the user requests certain changes that could put their information at risk, such as changing the account name, or phone number. You could encourage users to opt in to extra verification steps by rewarding them for choosing to add the second security layer (some companies offer discounts if their users protect themselves in this way).

When Is It Better to Use Multi-Factor Authentication Technology?

With the rise of fraud attacks such as Emmental that affected banks in Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Japan, banks are looking for alternatives to OTPs through SMS. During Emmental operation, millions were stolen from both consumer and commercial bank accounts.

Cybercrooks mislead people into installing fake applications on their devices. There were cases where such apps waited for text-messages from banks that contained session tokens, and silently hijacked communication, forwarding the info to attackers’ servers. Cybercriminals are keen on finding ways to undermine SMS OTPs, but this is still an infinitely safer alternative to the ID and password-only option.

SMS two-factor authentication verifies a user’s identity in a fast, easy, and non-disruptive way. It is relevant for a range of industries, it is cost effective, easy to implement and works on a global scale. Reach out to a telecom consultant and discuss your two-factor authentication needs.

 

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Crucial Features of an SMS Gateway Dashboard

There are many options when it comes to choosing a piece of software for your new SMS aggregation business. Some have been on the market for many years, and have established themselves as leaders on the market. Others have been developed more recently with the goal of seizing portions of this large market. The latter are generally more eager to impress, and have the ability to make their products much more tailored around their clients to earn their trust and become more visible. But regardless of how long a product has been on the market or how prestigious the company behind it, there are certain features that we are used to seeing in a robust SMS gateway dashboard. If these are missing, make sure to ask the developer how much effort it would take to implement them within their existing solution.

Having access to good SMS campaign features, comprehensive reporting, and role-based access are just a few things that make an SMS Gateway dashboard powerful. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of features that will impress even the most exigent SMS business owner.

Flexible SMS Campaigns

Sending SMS campaigns is the main role of an SMS Gateway. A robust product will have the ability to send and receive text messages in a myriad of formats and protocols, such as SMPP, SS7, SIGTRAN, SIP, or HTTP. But its interface is critical to being able to maneuver these powerful features of a good SMS product. Thus it is a good sign when a gateway’s interface has such options as:

  • Data uploads in different formats (think about your customers’ phone numbers)

When users have a variety of formats in which they can upload the information into the system, it gives them more flexibility. If the system is capable of reading CSV, Excel, Google Sheets, and vCards files, human error is minimized.

  • Rules-based segmentation

Your subscribers may be at different stages in the sales funnel, therefore the ability to send specific messages to groups of people is important. Ensuring that your users can segment your audience in an easy and logical way will make your SMS business more successful.

  • Automatic action-based SMS campaigns

Interact with customers who clicked on your SMS offer but did not convert. Send them a reminder that the discount is about to expire or follow-up with a different time-based offer. Make sure your SMS gateway can do this automatically in order to maximize your SMS impact.

  • Campaign scheduling

SMS campaign scheduling is a must for any SMS business. It is even better when you can schedule campaigns for different time zones in which your text will be delivered. This option will send your message at the most optimized time, ensuring a higher engagement rate.

  • SMS campaign drafts and templates

Drafts and templates can be used to save your users’ time. They can also be a source of inspiration for your clients’ marketing team, as templates can be created for them based on certain needs and events.

  • Contact groups

If you can create groups within your list of subscribers based on their interests, industries, or lead source, your clients will be very happy. Generally the more customized the text message, the more impactful the SMS campaign will be.

  • Editing subscriber lists

Your clients will need to make occasional changes to their list of subscribers via your SMS gateway dashboard. Subscribers’ contact information changes, so being able to keep their information up-to-date is important.

Comprehensive Reports Inside the SMS Gateway Dashboard

Your clients will need the ability to gauge how well their SMS campaigns are doing. Therefore providing relevant, insightful, and intuitive data directly from your SMS gateway’s dashboard will make them very happy.

Reports on performance, in terms of open-rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates will give managers the knowledge they need to make adjustments and plan their SMS marketing activities.

Note that certain protocols are better at providing accurate information on delivery than others. So ensure that the product you choose is versatile when it comes to various combinations of protocols such as SS7 to SMPP, SS7 to SS7, and many others. Carrier grade SMS products will support all possible ones.

Inbox folder function

An inbox folder is a good feature to have in an SMS gateway dashboard. It acts like a regular email inbox, but in a centralized location, so that operators and agents can respond to clients’ inquiries in a timely manner, without exiting the dashboard.

This feature can be improved even further if it has the ability to store “canned” responses that are basically templates to address clients’ most frequently asked questions. This will speed up the communication process and increase loyalty and retention rates.

Role-based access control

Make sure that your SMS gateway allows setting different user roles for your operators. This will ensure that the level of access to sensitive information is appropriate for all employees.  Look for sophisticated role-based access control in the SMS dashboard, and ensure that only senior staff can access aggregate client lists, routing details, and other sensitive data from a security point of view.

The SMS gateway dashboard is a crucial element which makes the platform convenient for your clients operators and employees. That’s why it is important to choose a user-friendly interface with a set of useful features. Share your thoughts and ideas about what else can make the dashboard more convenient for an SMS business.

Moving forward,
DAS Solutions Team. 

How to use an SMS Gateway in the Most Efficient Way?

Let’s imagine that you already own an SMS Gateway. Now you can communicate with your clients via text-messaging. But what are you going to do with the tool that you just got? How do you use the SMS Gateway in a way that increases customers’ loyalty? Our explicit tips will help you create SMS campaigns that drive revenue.

  • Customize text-messages

SMS campaigns teach you to get straight to the point. That is why it is a good idea to start your message with an attention grabber. A good attention grabber will make your customer want to read your message until the end. Usually, attention grabbers are spelled with capital letters, for example: ‘GOOD NEWS’, ‘UPDATE’, ‘GREAT OFFER’, etc. After you got your subscribers’ attention, use a clear call to action.

When sending a message, customize it. Use your client’s name or geographical (if known). This will help build a closer relationship with your customer. Don’t hesitate to congratulate your customers with birthdays, offer them discounts on anniversaries or other important days. Don’t use SMS only as a promotional channel, but rather as a communication channel that consists of various messages on different topics.

An example of a message you can send:

“Stephanie, your order is getting close to 123 Main Street. If you are not home, please call 350-598-2926 or reply to this text so we can make arrangements. Thanks!”

  • Use Emojis

The way people perceive advertisement has changed, and this is especially relevant for Millennials. According to a report cited by the Times, 4 out of 10 Millennials report that they’d rather engage with pictures than text, so there is no need to always be serious. Sometimes it is effective to be more creative and less official? ? ?. Add emotions to your messages by using emojis. They will grab readers’ attention, make the message funnier, and more memorable.

  • Insert shortened links

Don’t use the SMS gateway only for promotional messages. Embed SMS communication into your digital marketing strategy. If you have a promotion and you have a landing page for your offer, insert a clickable and shortened link in the text-message (remember, you have a limited amount of characters to spare). The link will redirect the recipient to your landing page.

At the same time, you wish to provide your clients with a pleasant customer journey, that’s why make sure that your website has a responsive design. Also keep in mind that the easier it is for users to engage with your content, the more likely they will complete the steps you want them to take.

  • Send SMS Reminders

Engage with your customers by reminding that they had abandoned a shopping cart on your website. Let them know that they still did not buy that teddy bear for their daughter’s birthday, or a piece of jewelry for their special day with their significant other. Give your customers an option to respond to this text-message reminder, so that you can call them back and complete the order for them. You never know what stopped your client from buying on your website, which is why it is important to be proactive.

  • Choose the best timing and frequency

Analyze the responses you receive from your target groups. Find the time and frequency that works best for your clients. If you send too many messages, there will inevitably be complaints and opt-outs. On the other hand, if you send messages infrequently, your clients may feel that your messages are out of place.

  • Place your contact info

Whenever it is relevant and possible, mention your company’s contact information in the SMS. Make it easy for the client to get in touch with you. It is much easier when the phone number is provided right in the text. They click it, and their phone does the rest of the job. When they call, make sure they don’t wait long before someone picks-up. So make sure the customer service team is always ready to take calls and be in the know about the text messaging marketing strategy.

  • Give an unsubscribe option

If you mainly use an SMS gateway for promotional messages, give your clients an option to unsubscribe. Make sure you provide them with clear instructions how they can stop receiving messages from you. This can be a word that they need to send in response to your campaign or a link to your website they have to access.

  • Use a customized sender name

You don’t want your clients to remember you as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. They should know right away that they are getting messages from you, not from a random phone number, and definitely not your competitors. Make sure that you have customized your sender name, and that your customers see where those messages are coming from.

  • Measure results and adjust

Your SMS campaigns won’t be effective if you don’t measure the results and adjust to make them even better. Create A/B testing campaigns for your target groups, and go with the ones that work best. Analyze your results and stay open to changes in your content and strategy.

If you follow these tips, you will have a good chance to turn your SMS gateway investment into a continuous revenue-driving mechanism. Next week we are going to analyze the important features of a user-friendly SMS gateway interface.

 

What is an SMS Gateway? A Rediscovered Treasure for Companies

The length of SMS, or text messages is limited to 160 characters from the GSM alphabet. However, the shortage of characters does not stop text messaging from being one of the most successful communication channels, because SMS is enabled on virtually 100% of mobile and smart phones. That is why SMS marketing is being used by such companies as American Express, PayPal, Lufthansa, BMW, and many other well-known brands. To send millions of text messages, these companies needed a powerful tool that could get their message across. This is where SMS Gateways come into play.

What is an SMS Gateway and how can it increase my revenue?

In a nutshell, SMS Gateway is a web-based app (basically a website), which allows users to send text messages to their customers’ phone numbers (naturally, with their permission). At the same time, an SMS Gateway has the capacity to receive messages from users, which makes communication interactive. The SMS Gateway can be used for transactional and promotional purposes.

    Transactional messages include:     Promotional messages include:
  • Appointment reminders
  • Location-based promotions
  • Call notifications
  • Discount notifications
  • One time passwords
  • Promotion alerts
  • Transaction alerts
  • Information services
  • Payment reminders
  • Booking confirmations
  • Account updates

The variety of messages that can be sent using an SMS Gateway gives the platform the possibility to become a useful tool for any business from any industry that wishes to stay competitive. A powerful SMS Gateway should do more than just send text messages, it will make sure that your message gets delivered. When choosing an SMS Gateway, look for an intelligent message sending feature. The platform will try to send the message several times, in case the message wasn’t delivered, you will get a notification. It will give you the possibility to check the phone number and see what can be fixed to deliver the message to the recipient.

Another feature to look for is for optimal real-time routing. The platform will support an intelligent algorithm that will manage flexible and dynamic routing. Flexible routing allows to create different rules for each destination one wishes to send messages to, and at the same time, to route a certain set of messages through different outbound routes or carriers to one destination. Dynamic routing allows to change routing on the fly with no need to restart the system. Routing ensures your messages are delivered as quickly as possible – without compromising security or reliability in the process.

A user-friendly graphical interface is very important when it comes to user experience. No one is willing to spend an hour trying to figure out how a message can be sent. In addition to that, look for a reporting tool in the SMS gateway platform that will be easy to manage and understand. Your non-techie employees don’t have to struggle while working with the platform.

What is an SMS gateway? It is a tool that will take you closer to your customers and will increase your customer conversion rates if used wisely. In our next blog post, we will share tips on the most beneficial ways in which an SMS Gateway can be used. Stay tuned!

Telecom Solutions

You Need to Know about These Innovative Telecom Solutions

Telecom network operators have always relied on technology but have often taken a conservative approach, valuing stability from established systems above improvements through innovation. Faced with a rising tide of user expectations from the flood of OTT services, MNOs have now shifted their priority to streamlining their operations, improving the customer experience with real-time, agile telecom solutions.

To stay competitive, network owners and not only, will look beyond their traditional technology suppliers and seek out innovation.

Here are some innovative telecom solutions and technologies you need to be aware of:

SDN Solutions

SDN (software-defined networking) is a new architecture for data networks in which the emphasis is shifted from hardware to software. Being able to control networks through software allows for the streamlining of many IT tasks. Speed and automation are thus relevant for the development of IoT and cloud networks.

According to CM Research, SDN technology is disruptive, because the network can be controlled by more players than ever before.

A closer look at SDN solutions reveals that there are open source as well as commercial solutions available on the market. NOX, POX, OpenDaylight are free, while Big Data Fabric, Virtual Application Network, and Contrail can be purchased.

5G networks

The emergence of 5G (fifth generation mobile networks) is around the corner. 5G will provide faster speeds, greater coverage, as well as less latency in comparison with 4G networks. This is essential for the connected things of the future, such as VR, holograms, driverless cars, or drones.

Even though the industry consensus holds that 5G technologies will become publicly available by 2020, companies such as Verizon and Ericsson have announced that field trials will be run in 2016.

SK Telecom (the first to roll out 4G) has completed a successful 5G system field test this April. Park Jin-hyo, who is the senior vice president and head of SK Telecom’s network tech, said that the company plans to lead the development of 5G technologies and services and be the first one to commercialize it.

Huawei is not far behind. This May they have completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as a part of field trials.

Solutions for smart cities

New opportunities for growth can be found in the development of solutions for smart cities. There is a municipal demand to operate cities more effectively by implementing platforms that allow to manage and monitor city lighting or video surveillance systems.

Citizens wish to have technologies that make their lives easier at their fingertips. As consumers, they inspire companies to create innovative telecom solutions that, for example, allow payment for parking or public transportation using one’s smartphone.

A UK based company offers an app that lets its users pay for the parking and it also allows to extend the parking duration remotely.

An innovative telecom solution allows commuters in Singapore to pay for the bus and train tickets with their phone. The technology enables data transmission between a mobile device and a contactless card reader.

To enjoy the service, customers have to purchase NFC (Near Field Communication) SIM cards and turn on their devices’ NFC function to make payments or top-ups.

This telecom solution allows to get rid of both cash and travel cards when paying for the transportation.

Mobile Money telecom solutions

GMCS (Global Mobile Consumer Survey) has demonstrated that from 2014 to 2015 mPayment (mobile payment) technology has increased in 4 times. eMarketer estimated that the total value of mobile payment transactions will grow 210% in the US in 2016. This happens thanks to the support from customers, governments and central banks.

Mobile money telecom solutions can be used by operators for a range of mobile money services, such as money transfers, international remittances and mobile payments.  Business of all types, from coffee shops to digital stores are implementing point-of-sale systems that allow customers to pay using mobile devices, therefore it is anticipated that the mPayment method will soon be adopted by many users around the world.

Innovative telecom solutions are going to predetermine the direction of the development of the entire industry. Companies that invest in the capabilities, technologies and relationships to foster changes now, will have an advantage for many years to come.