My main concerns when I travel are how I am going to get to my destination and whether I have the means to pay for things along the way. I need to know that my plane or train will arrive and that I’ll be able to pay for my hotel or dinner when I get there. It is pretty basic stuff but I still worry about it.
The travel and financial services industries recognise these worries and are finding solutions to keep me connected as I travel. For many businesses in these areas, the answer to a better customer experience is global application to person (A2P) messaging.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) can help my travel agent or my bank text me while I’m on the road and keep me connected and up-to-date. For example, to prompt me that online check-in for my return flight is now available, or to tell me the local currency exchange rate. The beauty of A2P messaging is that it is personal, as it is delivered on a mobile device. Furthermore, an SMS alert doesn’t interrupt what I am doing. I can deal with it at any time, and because it is right there on my mobile and not buried in an email inbox I rarely check, I’m more likely to engage with it.
The challenge for the message originator (the company that creates and sends the message), in this instance a travel company or a bank, is to ensure that I can receive my text message wherever I am.
This requires a local MNO to terminate my message at its endpoint (my mobile phone). Originating a mobile message without a termination agreement that covers the location you are sending it to, is the equivalent of addressing a letter to an area with no postal service. It’s a lovely thought, but it won’t reach its recipient.
Organisations that want to be successful in serving businesses with A2P messaging should consider four things when developing their strategy for rolling out new services:
- Global Relationships – The organisation that originates A2P messages must have global relationships with local MNOs that enable them to terminate traffic reliably all around the world
- Reliable Routing – Efficient routing and direct relationships enable messages to be delivered consistently and predictably to subscribers in all destinations
- Quality of Service – Enabling the highest possible quality of service and experience will support growth in A2P messaging and demonstrate its effectiveness as a service to subscribers
- Efficiency – In order to monetise A2P messaging, message originators must find the most efficient way to deliver global coverage while delivering the highest possible performance
What options does an A2P messaging originator have today? They could try to establish direct SMS termination agreements with multiple MNOs globally. That is costly and resource intensive. It also means they need to build trust with many new MNO partners and manage multiple relationships around the world.
One alternative is to use a P2P (Person-to-Person) Messaging Hub, but this isn’t ideal as it can lead to lower quality grey routing and a compromised quality of service.
The fastest and most efficient way to gain global A2P messaging reach is to partner with a specialist A2P messaging hub provider, providing the convenience of a P2P messaging hub, with the reliability and trust of direct MNO relationships.
With this model, a message originator or aggregator only needs to work with a single, trusted hub partner. It is easier to deliver secure services and more efficient than developing direct relationships.
When working with a hub provider the message originator can extend its reach and serve sectors like travel and financial services, so companies in these industries can engage with their subscribers while they are on the move, all over the world.
Julie Woods-Moss, CEO of NextGen Business at Tata Communications
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