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.

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.

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.

 

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.

6 Reasons to Get a VoIP Solution in Your Office

Voice Over IP (VoIP) solutions deliver your calls using your broadband internet connection. These can improve communication efforts and cut costs, but you need to be careful while choosing the right solution for your business needs.

There is a range of products on the market, but not all of them were designed for business use and can fall short of addressing your needs, security concerns, and requirements. Existing calling apps can have limited functionalities. For example, some applications can make calls only to others who use the same app. When choosing a VoIP solution, you need to make sure that it lets you make calls across platforms, and to any landline or mobile phone number. Keeping this in mind, there is always the option to approach a custom VoIP solutions developer and see if a product can be customized or designed from scratch to your specifications. We’ve looked at the benefits of an SMS Gateway before, but today let’s take a look at what a custom VoIP solution can do for you.

Six Advantages of Getting a Custom VoIP Solution for Your Office:

  • Save money
    It is a well-known fact that VoIP systems are more affordable than services provided by traditional phone companies, especially if your business requires making phone calls to different destinations across the world. With a VoIP solution you will no longer have to maintain separate networks for phone and data, which is another advantage.
  • Enjoy phone number portability
    Legacy telephone systems assigned a phone number with a dedicated line. VoIP solutions provide number mobility: you can use the same number almost everywhere as long as your device is connected to the internet. Many executives use the same phone numbers regardless of their location, which is very handy.
  • Get voicemail transcriptions
    Voicemail transcription is a service that sends you an email with the text version of the voice message you got on your extension. It can be viewed from any device, and contains the contact information of the person who called, which can be useful.
  • Do not disturb
    You can turn on the feature to temporarily stop incoming calls to your phone and redirect them to a different extension. This is useful when you need to focus on other tasks that require your undivided attention or when you are in an important meeting.
  • Scalability and adaptability
    A VoIP solution will let you add a new line when a new employee comes in, and delete or reassign it whenever necessary. Thus you will always have the appropriate amount of lines for your needs and won’t need to pay extra for lines you don’t use.
  • Let your customers listen to your corporate anthem
    Sometimes you need to put the call on hold and then this feature becomes a necessity. Do not subject your callers to elevator music or silence. This feature will allow you to choose what your callers listen to while they wait. It will definitely help you create or enhance your brand awareness.

VoIP solutions are flexible and affordable. With custom features, they will help you increase productivity, and provide more convenience for your customers. Contact us and let’s see if we might be able to help identify a solution to your needs.

PS: Don’t forget about security.
VoIP’s popularity is attracting the attention of cyber criminals, and business owners are concerned that someone may digitally intercept VoIP calls or bring down a company’s VoIP system using denial-of-service attacks. Make sure your network security is thorough and up to date.

OTT Services

OTT Services – Friends or Foes?

Over The Top (OTT) services allow us to send messages, make calls, or stream video over data networks (Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp are relevant examples of such services). Their popularity is a call to action for mobile operators who are suffering from revenue losses.

OTT services have become extremely widespread thanks to lower costs, overall positive user experience (even though sometimes a VoIP connection is far from perfect) and platform independence. According to Statistia, Viber had 711 million users in December of 2015. Whatsapp had reached 1 billion users by February of 2016, and 300 million people used Skype in 2015. No wonder major MNOs are trying to introduce regulations and keep up with the competition.

Even though many studies have shown that restrictions on OTT services are bad for business, back in 2012 AT&T had offered FaceTime only as an added benefit of their data plans in the US. If the customer did not have the data bundle, they could use FaceTime solely over Wi-Fi.

South Africa is another country which is now considering imposing restrictions that would slow down innovation in this field. The two largest South African MNOs have called for regulations for OTT providers such as Skype and Whatsapp. Cell C, the third largest MNO from that country, has chosen to collaborate with OTT operators instead, and is now offering free access to social network services and a range of other websites.

Not so long ago European operators such as Orange and Deutsche Telecom have called for a fair regulatory environment for all services. They pointed that the increased competition from services similar to Viber is a reason for easing up the regulatory burden on operators. The decision regarding the reform will be taken by the European Commission later this year.

According to research conducted by Technotree, mobile operators predict an increase of data usage among subscribers. In order to benefit from this, MNOs need to make sure that data remains in their network, therefore they need to introduce new services. Thus, far-sighted MNOs are either establishing partnerships with OTT providers or are launching their own OTT services.

Over in The UAE, Etisalat launched its own eLife on app, allowing customers to watch more than 200 TV channels, movies and series on the go. The Spanish Telefonica launched a Tu Go app in the O2 UK network. The application allows customers to make calls from one’s desktop and be charged by O2 on the same bill as the cell subscription. This elegantly solves the problem of having too many invoices for using communication services.

Nevertheless, the approach of creating OTT services in-house has some disadvantages. Here are some of them:

  • Usually the apps are available only for existing subscribers, thus it creates no opportunities for acquiring new customers. In other words, to increase the amount of users operators have to work on increasing their subscriber base.
  • Considering the bureaucracy within MNOs,it takes  longer to develop, design, launch and market the product
  • It is virtually impossible to convince a Viber user to switch to a new application with the same functionality.

The second option is to start partnerships with OTT providers which is a far-reaching strategy. MNOs can benefit from collaboration by using OTT brands to sell more data bundles, charging for subscriptions or advertising their services and initiatives.

OTT providers don’t own any infrastructure. Operators have invested heavily in building the infrastructure and they own one of the most valuable assets – customers’ mobile phone numbers, which are needed for seamless communication between the telecom network and the internet. In other words, OTT providers and telecoms both have a lot to gain from a productive collaboration.

Operators must be responsive and adaptable to market changes in order to keep creating value. Partnering with a small and agile tech startup could be the perfect boost for any MNO or MVNO that is looking for a fresh take on offering their clients a valuable OTT service.

SMS gateway

An SMS Gateway that Gets Your Business Going

The average smartphone user might think that SMS communication is either outdated or dead. It may seem that way taking into account the plethora of apps that bombard us with notifications, messages, updates on a daily basis. But this is not the case when it comes to communication between businesses and customers. SMS has proven to be the most effective and most resilient tool for B2C and B2B marketing. In fact, customers are much more likely to read a text message than an update from an app. One major reason is that it is really hard to ignore an SMS message as it comes straight on your screen (as opposed to becoming a ubiquitous notification in the corner of an app). Keeping this in mind, an SMS gateway platform is a solution that allows one to send thousands of messages per second to your customer base.

An SMS gateway platform is suitable for a range of operational tasks and it will help your business stand above the crowd. A couple of advantages of an SMS gateway:

  • An SMS gateway can be used for advertisement campaigns, reminders, updates, verification procedures.
  • Mobile originated SMS are used for subscriber responses to advertising, radio/tv broadcasts, contests, confirmations.
  • You can schedule SMS campaigns to be sent during the time that will drive more engagement.
  • You can personalize messages so that they look more relevant to the recipient.

Marketing your services and products with the help of an SMS gateway platform is going to bring your communication with customers to a more personal level. Also it is going to show you real-time results, because the platform will give you the opportunity to analyze:

  • How many people received your message;
  • How many subscribers responded to your campaign;
  • What the responses were;
  • What kind of campaigns work best and what sort of campaigns don’t work that well;
  • How many recipients unsubscribed; among others.

SMS marketing can help create engaging campaigns, reinitiate relationships with old customers, and drive traffic to your website and social media pages.

An SMS gateway platform can be easily integrated with your marketing and notification activities. It offers you the possibility to get your message across in a world where customer’s attention span has drastically decreased. If you are not using SMS to reach your customers, you are losing a simple and effective tool to increase sales and your brand’s exposure. Contact us today to discuss our SMS gateway and solution for your business.

Mobile apps and VAS

Can Mobile Apps and VAS Get Along?

Mobile apps and VAS (Value Added Services) are competitors in the race for subscribers. According to research conducted by J’Son&Partners Consulting, MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) are making less profit from voice, SMS and MMS traffic. This happens because:

  1. The competition between MNOs is very high;
  2. The consumption model of communication services by subscribers has changed.

In order to diversify, mobile network operators use mobile apps and VAS. However, application markets have been winning the game so far.

Mobile apps help solve various problems in everyday life.

Thousands of applications are launched in app markets such as the App Store and Google Play daily. As a result, MNOs that previously distributed content via VAS need to integrate in the new model of content distribution via apps.

In a white paper published by a consultancy, N. Dobberstein and Soon Ghee Chua argue that MNOs should be “smart enablers”. The key to MNOs’ success is in the encouragement of collaboration between different multimedia market players and in provision of insights of customers’ behavior as well as in offering tailored solutions and recommendations to customers. MNOs have to incorporate mobile apps in their offerings to strengthen the relationship with subscribers.

VAS will always be more expensive than mobile apps. Alan Knott-Craig says that this happens because “mobile operators will always take too much revenue share. In SA [South Africa], MTN keeps about 40%, Cell C about 30%, and Vodacom about 20%.” On the other hand, he also mentions that Visa and MasterCard take from 1%-7% of the revenue share when people buy applications from stores. Another thing that makes the VAS model more expensive is that it relies on costly advertising, such as TV ads.

VAS are not as intuitive as mobile apps and are hard to discover. In order to use the service, the subscriber has to know the exact short code of the service.

The shift toward mobile apps is beneficial for end-users because data is cheaper than SMS, MMS or voice. At the same time the trend is favorable for developers who do not depend on MNOs and can market their services globally without any integration with carrier billing. This allows applications to reach more people than ever before.

Mobile apps and VAS continue their battle for the ARPU (average revenue per user) and it is far from over.

At DAS Solutions we follow the standard Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to develop various mobile applications. We develop for Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. The choice of picking one platform or technology over the other depends on the customer’s specific requirements.