Programmable SMS API – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on November 8, 2022

Text messages are a fast and efficient way for businesses to get in touch with their users. With an open rate of 98% and response rates reaching 45%, SMS communication is a leader in getting consumers’ attention. A programmable SMS API can streamline text messaging integration into your client or company’s software. It can simplify quick implementation into an app or CRM and is an ideal choice for reliable, fast, and successful business communications.

Here we’ll explore how a Programmable SMS API can deliver a streamlined text messaging service for your client or company’s software. Our blog will guide you through usage, implementation, and the time-saving benefits of using an SMS API from a telecommunication platform instead of coding the API on your own. We will also help you determine if a telecommunications platform is worth partnering with for your API.

How a Programmable SMS API Can Streamline Text Messaging Integration Into Software

A programmable SMS API offers several benefits over coding the text messaging API yourself. It provides access to enterprise features on a carrier-grade network without significant investment and can be implemented into your client or company’s existing software quickly and easily.

How Does an Organization Use an SMS API?

A programmable SMS API provides your client or company with text messaging integration into their app, CRM, or software. Users can seamlessly interact with the API to send or request messages. For instance, when a customer requests a two-factor authentication (2FA) message from a financial institution, they will receive a one-time password (OTP) to verify the authenticity of their login. A feature like authentication requires fast, reliable, and consistent delivery 24/7. Typically a financial institution or authenticator will send the message using a verified shortcode number.

There are three types of SMS numbers. Depending on the application, a sender can choose from the following:

  • Shortcode: A number for application-to-person (A2P) traffic that allows an application to send a message to a user. The sender must be verified as a commercial entity to receive a shortcode number, but it will permit them to send high volumes of messages without being marked as spam by carriers. Shortcode SMS numbers can be customized for vanity and send traffic with preferential speed and reliability. Applications that benefit from shortcode numbers include those that send 2FA, alerts, notifications, confirmations, and promotional advertising. User replies are limited to preprogrammed keywords, such as an opt-out keyword.
  • 10-Digit-Long Code (10DLC): A number for peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic that allows a user from an organization and a customer to converse through SMS. A 10DLC number risks being marked as spam by carriers if a large volume of messages are detected from the number, but it allows for longer-form messages in a local geographic area at a lower cost per message than toll-free and shortcode messaging. Organizations use 10DLC to reach customers when they expect a two-way conversation, such as for sales and recruitment purposes.
  • Toll-Free: A number for commercial use that can send A2P and receive peer-to-application (P2A) messages. They are ideal for having a two-way conversation with users locally and nationally. Toll-free numbers cost more per message than 10DLC, but they allow for more cost-efficient texting outside of local geography and can be customized with a recognizable 800 number. Organizations can use the numbers for low and high-volume messaging, which is ideal for nationwide customer service applications.

Many organizations are looking to add A2P messaging to their application to automate application functions like 2FA and send users notifications and promotions. In fact, the A2P SMS market was over $64 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow by nearly $20 billion by 2029.

Organizations can use the SMS API with a voice API to unify communications within the software under a single number or set of numbers. MMS can also be included to allow users to send videos and photos, an excellent feature for organizations requiring photo confirmation of a product or service receipt, such as e-commerce. If the provider is cloud-based, unification comes at a low cost and provides carrier-grade features and reliability. A programmable SMS API can also provide message detail records (MDRs) that your client or company can use to track if the message was received and opened by the recipient.

Implementing a Programmable SMS API

A programmable SMS API can be integrated into new or existing software quickly and easily, granting your client or company access to the valuable features they desire. You will only need to enter a few lines of code to be up and running, and your company or client can make adjustments to the SMS users and numbers from a simple control panel. The ideal SMS API platform will offer resources to help you get started in your preferred programming language, including Ruby, PHP, and .NET, simplifying the implementation of the API and getting optimal value from the software. 

Some of the developer resources include reference documentation for the APIs the platform offers, quickstart for microservices contained in Docker containers, and articles exploring some of the implementations and high-level features provided in the API. For instance, if a company or client wants you to implement an automated appointment reminder solution or two-factor authentication, you can read about the features and implementation in the quickstart and clone the repository from Github to ensure fast and seamless integration.

Related: Programmable Voice 101 – Learn Everything You Need To Know

Coding Your Own SMS API

While you can build your own SMS API to integrate into a client or your company’s software, several challenges exist. Typically, buying and integrating a programmable text messaging API is more cost and time effective. When you code your API from scratch, it can take hours of coding to produce the most basic API for text message integration into a piece of software. While you build the API from scratch, your attention and time are taken from tasks at your organization or jobs for other clients.

When you code an SMS API from scratch, your client or company will need to invest in the technology for the product’s lifecycle—changes to the software and API, maintenance, security, and infrastructure to support text messaging communication. The company will need to pay for IT resources to build, deploy, and maintain the hardware and infrastructure. If the organization needs to scale up its communications, it must purchase or rent more hardware and infrastructure from a third party, like a cloud-based provider. The investment may not make a return if the company needs to scale text messaging down.

Related: Build vs. Buy: Essential Considerations When Choosing To Build or Buy an API To Integrate SMS into an App

Save Time with a Reliable SMS API from a Telecommunications Platform

A programmable SMS API purchased from a communications platform can save you hours of coding and your client or company expenses in the long-term. The API is ready for implementation in a few lines of code, reducing your coding time from hours to minutes. An SMS API platform provides the following benefits:

  • The provider maintains the API code for the lifecycle of the product.
  • Cloud-based SMS API platforms offer a solution that can meet the scope of nearly any project.
  • Your client or company can scale up the number of users and phone numbers and quickly scale down from a convenient web portal.
  • The platform hosts the carrier-grade infrastructure and hardware your company or client needs to provide a polished and professional SMS service.
  • Your client or company can access 10DLC long code and toll-free numbers to converse with users or shortcode A2P numbers to send fast and reliable messages from the app or software.

What to Look for in a Programmable SMS API Platform

There are numerous choices when purchasing a programmable SMS API from a telecommunication platform. Finding the right platform will simplify integrating the API into your client or company’s software and provide a quality solution that saves them money. 

A reputable cloud-based telecommunications platform delivers enterprise-level features over a reliable carrier-grade network. Your client or company can unify its voice and text communications without extensive on-site equipment and bring its existing mobile phones, SMS desktop phones, and private branch exchange (PBX). It also helps companies avoid the cost of maintaining, scaling, and securing telecommunications equipment and infrastructure on-site.

Cloud-based providers can avoid aggregators and grey routes that may cause carriers to mark the traffic as spam. With an extensive network, they can provide your client with reliable communication throughout their geographic area of operation. 

Platforms typically charge a metered per-message fee or a monthly flat rate. A metered charge is advantageous for organizations that intend to scale their communications. It makes it effortless for the company to scale up during promotions and campaigns, then scale back down, paying only for the increased usage.

As mentioned above, an excellent platform will provide you with development resources to implement the API seamlessly. A representational state transfer (REST) API is ideal for implementation in almost any programming language. It is stateless—requiring no server session, and works with various data formats, including XML and JSON. The REST API reduces bandwidth usage and operates using standard HTTP methodologies, such as DELETE, POST, and GET. Developers prefer the compatibility and simplicity REST offers for microservices and cloud computing.

Implement a Programmable SMS API That Delivers Value

A programmable SMS API from Flowroute is a simple solution for integrating text messaging into an application. Flowroute offers the reliability of the Flowroute HyperNetwork™ for 99.999% uptime and zero grey routes and aggregators. It only takes minutes to get the service up and running, and we provide developer resources for API implementation in the leading programming languages. We ensure quick and reliable delivery of SMS traffic for your client or company. Get started today.

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