does the new version if TL and Connect support SMS texting to the outside world?
I have a potential new client that is needed this service.
seriously? They're sitting behind a computer with a full qwerty keyboard and they want to send text messaging with the 9-button keypad of the phone? There are other ways to get onto the SMS system besides the PSTN btw. If they aren't looking to use their phone, they should probably consider one of those resources. Hell most cell providers allow for email->sms gateways so you can just email their phone as a SMS message.
Thirdlane/Asterisk Support available
I just did a quick search for any tie-ins to Prosody (xmpp server) that connect uses. It seems that these SMS carriers do not have any specific standard to deliver SMS. They all utilize their own API which means that there could be no true support for this feature in the same way asterisk supports just about any sip phone. Picking a single service could also have grave consequences due to outrage that one service was picked over the other. I also do not know how the bi-directional aspect would work. Is it like AIM where you get a temporary short-code assigned to your session and you can only receive messages after a recent, and initial, send message? Do you have to buy unique addresses for each end user and have to map them to their xmpp usernames? There are some unknowns to this, and if each provider is doing it based off a blank-canvas approach, this can get exponentially more complex.
I think the original request / requirement was moreso to be able to use Connect to send SMS messages to a TN, not using the 9 digit keypad of the phone.
There are a LOT of companies that now consider this a fairly critical functionality for marketing purposes in todays "realtime", I need to know now world.
For all of the reasons you mentioned, it is however, something that is very difficult to do in a product like Thirdlane without implementing multiple APIs to provide vendor choice.
In terms of identifying users and responses though, that part is fairly straightforward as SMS over SIP is supported by a multiple of providers at this point so you can basically use any "SMS enabled" 10 digit TN as the caller id for sending and receiving the messages.
We are in the process of customizing our own solution for use in a Thirdlane environment for this functionality. It is definitely possible to do, but admittedly difficult to provide any type of vendor choice.
We find that many customers like the idea of SMS, but almost no one actually uses it once it is available. Almost all of our DIDs are SMS enabled, but have yet to see any significant revenue!
What tool are you giving them to actually utilize the SMS capabilities of the DID?
They receive SMS as an email that they can either reply to, or enter a chat app to have a conversation with. It was a quick home grown solution.
The "disconnection" from the rest of their communications systems probably has a lot to do with it.
We have a couple customers that use a softphone application that we developed that integrates with their CRM system that has SMS abilities that use SMS all the time. However, this integration was a custom project against Vanilla asterisk, but essentially anytime someone fills out a lead on the customer's landing page using a mobile device, the customer immediately receives a text message that is linked to a CS representative. Conversions went up close to 65% with the implementation of the system and the "realtime" access to an agent.
The difficult part of SMS from "corporate" communication systems is access to an easy to use, "at your fingertips", method of sending of receiving SMS messages that is a natural SMS process.
If it was integrated into Connect, I think a lot more companies would use SMS AND Connect because of it.
SMS is in the roadmap "in general", but we still have to better understand the "use cases" for inbound/outbound SMS and Thirdlane Connect.
We could possibly send and/or capture received SMS messages to/from external mobile numbers using connect (on mobile devices) and include both inbound and outbound sms messages in chats, channels, etc. Would this be useful?
Anyone wants to post their use cases?
Third Lane Technologies
Multi Tenant Asterisk PBX
I just had a potential new customer in the insurance business who used Vonage's Gui/SMS application which was integrated into their extension GUI. His Insurance co sends him leads by name/phone numbers and he finds that first call works MUCH better if he uses txt that comes from his Main Phone Number.
RingCentral has it, as does Vonage, so I"m thinking that there MUST be a market for it. I'm about to lose a new customer to Ring Central.. they left Vonage for voice quality issues.
SMS is on the roadmap - and soon
Any update on this as we have customers also requesting this feature?
next release - no ETA. What specifically are customers asking for?
Yes I have a big customer that would switch over to us if we can get SMS on our platform (thirdlane)
SMS will be available in Thirdlane Connect in the next release
If you could provide an ETA would helpful for all of your customers to start promoting it.
This will be included in a major release that will include other highly requested and important features, so it will take a little longer. This is not a commitment, but we are shooting for September.
Can you provide some insight on your implementation logic to give the community an opportunity to weigh in on how SMS is implemented?
1. Will SMS messages be routed to specific extensions/users based on DID they came in on to be responded to by that user in Connect?
2. Will there be a way to assign multiple extensions to view and see incoming and outgoing SMSes to a particular DID?
3. How are incoming and outgoing messages going to be sent/processed? Many providers have different ways of sending and receiving SMSes, Twilio is one way, others are other ways. Are you intending to only support a single provider or will it be implemented like CRMs where you choose your provider?
4. Who are you targeting out of the gate?
Personally, for ultimately flexibility, a monitoring software package we use has both built-in support for certain SMS providers for sending SMS alerts and then the ability to send using an entered custom URL. If similar functionality was offered in Thirdlane, it would both reduce the maintenance burden on Thirdlane and provide the ultimate flexible solution. In other words, a field that says, to send an SMS, Thirdlane should use this URL, https:////.php?from=&to=&msg= and thirdlane expects "something" as a response from that script to know it was sent successfully. This way providers can program their own middleware as needed to work their carriers systems.
We are expecting to support at least a few providers out of the gate and support routing of inbound messages to channels and possibly individual users in Thirdlane Connect. Rather than discussing the details of the product roadmap in the open forum i will encourage everyone who has specific requirements or ideas on how SMS should be handled to contact us directly. I can not promise to incorporate all of your suggestions in the initial SMS rollout - but we are open and will do our best to include what makes sense to the community.