By Darach Beirne M any companies around the world transitioned to remote or hybrid opera- tions at rapid speed in the last year. To support cloud adoption and telecom transitions, companies often turned to managed service providers (MSPs) because of the tailored packages and flexible servic- es they offer. MSPs were uniquely positioned to effectively take on the responsibility of managing telecom resources and helping businesses scale solutions up or down as needed. As we journey into the new year, businesses are continu- ing to look to MSPs to help them deliver IT and communications services that will help them better attract and engage with their customers. Messaging services (i.e., SMS, MMS, web chat, chat bots, etc.) have proven to be a staple of modern customer commu- nications given the widespread availabil- ity and use of these tools. On average, 82 percent of text messages are read within five minutes of receipt, accord - ing to figures from Forrester Research. Meanwhile, surveys by Flowroute also show that 58 percent of consumers view businesses more positively if they offer messaging as a communication option. SMS and MMS are arguably the most accessible channel for customer communication, and web chat and chat bots are easily utilized by customers when they’re on a company’s website. One major reason businesses are seeking messaging tools is because they enhance real-time communications with consumers. By texting or messag- ing online, businesses and customers can instantaneously exchange informa- tion to drive timely results and services. Given the increasing use of messag- ing as a customer preference for the channel, MSPs have an opportunity to separate themselves from the competi- tion by evaluating and offering these solutions to their enterprise customers. And in order to effectively offer these in-demand services, MSPs are turning to telecom APIs. Telecom APIs are a set of standard software functions an application can use to facilitate another action or event. For more background, the API acts as middleware and forms the inter- face between the application and the resources in the device. This telecom resource enables developers and enter- prises to integrate high-quality communi- cations experiences (such as messaging or video chat) into existing services and removes the burden of creating new solutions. Using telecom APIs, MSPs API-Enabled Messaging Use Cases Notifications Notifications are used widely across industries as a way for companies to capture their customers’ attention. They also typically prompt the customer to take a specific action, sometimes within a prescribed timeframe. For example, a rental office can send a text notification to remind a tenant that their rent is due in two days. The text can also include a link to make the payment immediately. Appointment reminders These alerts are a specific kind of notification that are meant to remind a person about a scheduled event. Appointment reminders are used most frequently by medical and dental offices and for services such as haircuts and auto repair appointments. Other use cases include restaurant reservations, hotel bookings, flight information, and grocery pickup. Like general notification texts, these also can include a link to make changes to the appointment details. Appointment reminders have played a large role in helping businesses communicate with customers during 2020. Mass alerts Commonly a one-way means of communication, mass alerts allow entities to distribute timely information to large groups of people. For example, if a college campus closes due to weather, the college might send a mass alert encouraging commuting students to stay home. Mass alerts also are helpful in emergency situations such as natural disasters or public safety threats. Verifications Verifications are an important security practice. Also known as validation, verification is when a business confirms information in order to determine if something is accurate. For example, a financial institution might text a one-time passcode to a person signing into their account online using a new desktop computer How Messaging APIs Enhance MSPs Offerings MOBILE & WIRELESS By Darach Beirne 22 CHANNEL V ISION | January - February, 2021