October 7, 2014 by

POST-EXPO 2014 in Sweden, Stockholm.

post1

Messente team visited one of the largest postal services conference in Europe called POST-EXPO 2014 in Stockholm. Almost 2,000 attendees from 73 countries, including Russia, Korea, Austria, USA, Belgium, UK, Uruguay, Poland and Finland, making it the most successful event in the postal industry.

As Messente is working with many fast expanding automated parcel service and postal companies in the the EU and Nordics, then it was the right place to have a meet-up with existing cooperation partners and also have a quick talk with new ones.

Old traditional postal service industry is also developing and innovating. This means more and more postal companies are introducing automated parcel service in their operating countries and markets. The main reasons behind this is that:

  • E-commerce is growing rapidly (last year world wide growth 19% and this year predictively 20%).
  • Companies are looking ways how to optimize their service and the same time stay close to their customers.

Messente has always specialized in high quality network operator connections. These type of connections are very good in case of sending time and business critical messages and as the cost of an undelivered message in automated parcel service is very high (everything from locker authentication PIN codes to reminders) then our cooperation partners have found us as a perfect business match in this industry.

 

September 23, 2014 by

Simple and easy tools for remote work

remote-workIn Messente we like tools that are dead simple and easy to integrate. We use a variety of them ourselves to manage, optimize and measure activities of our team while many of us are working remotely. Here are some of the tools that help us on daily basis.

Evernote

Why is everybody talking about Evernote? Well I used to ask the same question. Evernote is just one of those tools that covers everything regards writing – it’s a note-taking tool, digital file cabinet, task or project management system, and it even integrates with almost anything. All in all it simplifies your documentation. Tim Ferris, the author of 4-Hour Workweek says that Evernote is one of those tools that he can’t live without. Likewise, in Messente we are all for tools that increase our productivity.

Pipedrive

Excellent salespeople need excellent tools and we needed one that would help us to improve the main processes of our sales. The question always remains: should we work harder or smarter? Well, Pipedrive helps our sales team to evaluate precisely the individual steps we need to take from initial contact with a potential partner. But the primary reason for using Pipedrive is its lightweightness and simplicity. So it definitely helps us towards working smarter. While it is the best way to quickly understand the health of Messente’s sales, we also use it for hiring and customer management.

Skype

This tool has drastically changed the way we communicate. Often times we find ourselves using Skype instead of phone, but still we understand that it was never designed to be a replacement. In Messente, we use Skype for our international team to stay connected both via voice and text. We also do some of our hiring processes though Skype. We love it here in Messente and we think it provides a great way to keep costs low and productivity high concerning communication.

Help Scout

Today, companies distinguish the ones that they will work with based on the entire experience. So in a way we might consider customer support as a separate product attached to Messente. Help Scout has made it easier for Messente to get satisfied customers to become even more satisfied. Handling tickets is simple and the communication simply makes sense.

Zopim

At the beginning of the year we understood that we need to go beyond customer service via proactive customer support. Thus we also started using Zopim live chat for solving our customers’ time critical problems. As mentioned, customers are interested in valuable partnership, so increasing the time of solving one issue has yet again helped us to be closer to the companies we work with.

MailChimp

Through out the years of Messente, we have gathered a lot valuable knowledge from wich we pick up most relavant to share with Messente’s partners and clients in our monthly newsletter. Since one of the core characteristics of Messente has always been transparency, we felt that the web-based automated email marketing service MailChimp could help us to spread the knowledge in a most reachable way. By the way, if you are interested in receiving a monthly update, then check on the right side of this blog and sign up for Messente’s newsletter.

 

Using these tools to accomplish various tasks is one efficient way to increase the productivity of our remote team. The work becomes easier and less stressful when some carefully chosen tools help us concentrate more on our goals. We all like having a calm and clear remote working environment, so it would be easier to write, be creative and have more self-discipline.

September 9, 2014 by

5 questions to ask yourself about SMS sending

Decisions

This week Messente attended the World (SMS) Wholesale Conference in Madrid. We spent several long days of sharing thoughts with our partners, mobile operators and many people working in the industry. Based on what was discussed we decided to compose a short and comprehensive list of questions you should ask when choosing a partner to deliver SMS messages for your company.

Regardless of what you do – building a cool web application, running a logistics company or operating a bank the following aspects always need careful consideration.

How easy it is to connect?

SMS sending API documents used to be written in mobile operator language and the same goes for setting up the actual SMS sending connections. You might know the meaning of SMPP, DLR, HLR and all the other 3-4 letter abbreviations (this is just the easy end) but why should you? The same goes to your IT team. Unless you are a network operator yourself you might skip this part and work with an API which can be used by anyone capable of building simple websites and making HTTP requests.

And another thing – long integration documents don’t necessarily mean enterprise level quality and vice versa. Sometimes length just means clutter.

Look for simple API’s and don’t let adopting SMS notifications become a big software project in itself.

What type of SMS traffic do I have?

Sending reminders about appointments, notifications about bank account balance changes or informing someone about your new pricing offer all have different levels of how business critical they are. While some service providers are great in handling large amounts of marketing messages, other focus on delivering the business critical traffic with the best delivery success rate. I doubt anyone is equally great at everything.

What is the cost of an undelivered message for my business?

The pricing of SMS messages is a complex topic. After all there seems to be a great deal of different offers out there.

In order to make sure that all of the messages reach their destinations you need to be able to access many different channels to reach each mobile operator. For example Messente has about 10 ways how we can send an SMS to any operator’s network in the world. Very simply put this is to ensure that in case there is a technical problem or a delay, there are many backup channels to which your messages can immediately be directed to. (There are other reasons for having multiple channels like peak time handling for example but that is a topic for a whole separate post.)

The price of using each of these channels is different – so essentially the higher the message cost the more channels with higher delivery quality your service provider can use for your messages. When determining which cost level is acceptable in the case of your company we come back to the initial question: what is the cost of an undelivered message for your business?

How can I be sure what happens to my messages?

The correct answer here very is easy to give. Just like with package delivery service you should be able to track every single one of your messages on real time basis if you need to. Sharing this information should not come with any extra charges. After all you would not consider paying UPS of FedEx a separate “tracking fee”.

Which kinds of statistics do I need?

In a way automatically sending messages is a bit like plumbing – once you set it up you expect it to work without monitoring it every day. This makes it all the more important to be able to quickly get an overview of your SMS traffic or receive detailed statistics if you feel like keeping a close eye on it.

When choosing a partner make sure you get helpful reports with just the right numbers which do not increase your workload. Also it might very well be that your IT team or your accounting might need differently structured or more detailed statistics.

*****

Asking yourself these five questions should cover all the essentials. Hopefully this list helps you to make good decisions regarding SMS sending.

August 27, 2014 by

How to Whitelist IP Address Range for Messente API

Firewall

Dynamic IP addresses are the number one enemy for web service providers. Some third party services may require you to whitelist your IP address, which may cause failed API calls in case you forget to update the list when required. What a hassle.

Fret no more – as of today you can specify IP address range using CIDR notation feature just added to Messente API settings!

IP Address Format of CIDR Notation

I am pretty sure you have seen IP address ranges in the format of 192.168.2.0/24, but what does that mean?

Technically it means, that 24 bit of the address in the IP address must match the same as 192.168.2.0. In this example, the IP address range is from 192.168.2.0 to 192.168.2.255.

Another example: if you added 192.168.2.0/25 to Messente API Whitelisted IP addresses list, then the allowed IP range would be just 192.168.2.0 to 192.168.2.127.

Still sounds too complicated? You can simply use a CIDR Utility Tool to calculate the CIDR notation for your IP address ranges.

Whitelisting Range of IP Addresses

Most cloud web service providers also share their public IP address ranges already as CIDR notations, so you can just copy-paste the list to Messente API settings.

Here is a short list of some of the most popular cloud web service providers and their public IP address ranges:

Limitations and Workaround

Using CIDR IP address format, you can not always specify your required range of IP addresses as one line.

For example, if you wanted to whitelist IP address range of 192.168.2.12 to 192.168.2.34, then you would need to add three CIDR notations:

  • 192.168.2.12/30
  • 192.168.2.16/28
  • 192.168.2.32/31

At least you won’t have to insert all 23 IP addresses separately :) Also, you can simply just use the CIDR Utility Tool mentioned above to calculate the ranges for you.

Disabling IP Address Validation

We strongly suggest you to get a fixed public IP address if possible. However, if you really-really want to disable the IP address validation (we really strongly suggest against doing this), you could add “0.0.0.0/0″ to the allowed IP address list.

If you still want to disable the IP address validation – at least make sure you use HTTPS for communication. This way you make it pretty hard for anyone to sniff at your traffic.

July 17, 2014 by

Managing your account

In the developing process of Messente’s platform we have taken into account that using Messente has to be extremely simple. While activating the API connection, managing the delivery information, and many more actions can be done with no hassle, we have made it simple to manage your account as well.

The “gear” icon

First things first, to make changes on your account, click the “gear” icon you can see at the upper-right corner on the web interface. By clicking this a window opens with adjustable information.

Gear
First information gap you will see is the current account name you are using. This makes it easier to switch between multiple accounts.

account name

 

Information for the invoice

By the end of every month, our accounting team will send out invoices for the sent out SMS messages within the last month. For correct invoices, Messente’s accounting will need this information to be filled out:

  • Company: registered name of your company
  • VAT code: for correct taxation
  • Email(s) for Invoices: if you need the monthly invoice sent to more than one address, simply divide them with commas like this: accounting@pennybag.com, uncle@pennybag.com
  • Website: official website of your company
  • Phone: so that we can reach anyone for quick inquiries
  • Country/City: country and the city where the company is registered
  • Address: where does your company situate

 

Users and permissions

Based on how Messente’s platform is being used, we have divided the users into two groups: “Account Administrators” and “Senders“. While the “Administrator” has the permission to do all the necessary changes, the “Sender” is able to use the web interface for sending out messages only.

  • Adding new users: can be done by “Administrator” by clicking the “Users and Permissions“ link at the “Manage account” window. There you can see all the listed emails and their level of permission. The drop down menu at “Permission” column allows you to change the role of users.
  • Inviting new users: can be done by clicking “+ Invite User“. Choose their level of permission and click “Invite“. The invitation will be sent to the inserted email address.
  • Deleting existing users: behind the user emails at “account permissions” you can see a small “x” that removes the user from Messente’s platform.

permission

 

E-mail and subscriptions

Accounting email and technical support emails should be provided for any cases that might need quick contact.
You can also subscribe to the Messente News - our monthly newsletter consisted of brief and useful info to keep you updated with most important topics
email

NB! All the information you provide on your company’s account is well protected and not available to third parties. From behalf of Messente we do everything what is necessary to keep our client’s information secure.

 

June 30, 2014 by

Top 3 Messente features that help you save money

reports

We have have done a few upgrades to Messente some of which we have talked about in this blog as well. However some upgrades are really too small to be covered in long blogposts and some of the very useful features we have had for a long time already.

We thought it’s time to place a few of them in the spotlight. So here’s the top three Messente features that are constantly saving you money:

1) Character substitution and character counter in messente.com

There are characters and letters which do not belong into the GSM alphabet and therefore using them in your SMS body text eats up space. You might end up with having typed only 70 letters and symbols but the character limit in your SMS is already full. Making the text any longer and sending it away would use up the space of two SMS messages and cost you double even though the recipient sees the text like it were only one message.

That’s why we have put a message counter on top of the field where you type in your SMS text.  It counts down from 160 and once you exceed this limit it will be counting down from 2/160 or 3/160. This means that if the current text were to be sent out it would cost the price of 2 or 3 messages respectively. So be be sure to check the symbol counter.

Additionally, whenever you enter a character which does not belong to the GSM alphabet Messente will bring your attention to it and offer a “safer” character to substitute it with. All in order to save space. Go to the compose view, enter “ˇ” for instance and see how it works :)

2) Automatic character substitution for API

If you’re using Messente’s API connections the features of the web tool won’t help you much. That’s why we added an automatic replacing feature for the API users as well.

Using automatic replacement is optional and you can turn it on from under API settings. After you turn it on you can open the replacing settings and fine tune what gets replaced and how.

3) Full delivery information

When you open the reports section in messente.com the first thing you will see is your messaging history. We send you a monthly overview the total number of SMS sent out as well but from the history page you can download a much more detailed report by clicking “download full report”.

What you get is a .csv file with full information on every single SMS sent in the selected period including the delivery status.

And now for the cool part

If you are sending messages to the same audience repeatedly (i.e. your client base) you can compare the failed statuses in those reports. If there are numbers that have not been responsive several times in a row, odds are that these numbers are outdated and it might be a good idea to remove them from your list. Needless to say that the more accurate your number list, the better.

June 15, 2014 by

Need help? Let’s chat!

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 19.53.44

Deep down in Messente’s laboratories our team of scientists work around the clock to provide you with new and groovy ways to reach your customers and get more of SMS messaging.

Earlier this year we did an important upgrade to Messente’s SMS platform in order to ensure an increased SMS delivery speed and improved general performance. Needless to say that infrastructure upgrades and new features are great and necessary, but at times you might appreciate help from the team.

So whether you are new to Messente and fancy a demo tour or a seasoned user needing help with an API connection, account settings or anything else, head over to Live Chat tab on our site and let us have a chat, or simply drop us a line over email.

If there is something new or interesting that you wish to share or we can help you with, give us a shout. In case of an issue you would like to bring to our attention, we are here to help. There is a good chance we can solve it quickly and completely.

 

June 1, 2014 by

Hacking SMS text to fit more content

Cut Down on SMS costs

I would like to share some secret tricks we have been using for years to increase usable sms content length.

We have been sharing these suggestions with our clients to increase their revenues, lower costs and get most out of their 160 characters.

Characters You Can Freely Use

SMS length is up to 160 characters (but you already knew that) – only if you use characters in GSM 03.38 charset:

@£$¥èéùìòÇ`Øø`ÅåΔ_ΦΓΛΩΠΨΣΘΞ`ÆæßÉ!\"#¤%&'()*=,-./0123456789:;<=>?¡ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZÄÖÑÜ`¿abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzäöñüà

Save Characers by (not) Using Extended Characters

There are 9 characters in GSM 03.38 Extended charset, which take up 2 characers, not just one:

^{}\[~]|€
  1. Instead of using (curly) brackets, use regular parentheses. This way you can save one character!
  2. Also you can replace pipe “|” character with capital i – nobody notices the difference and yet again you save one character.
  3. Want to show some money in EUR? Use “€” sign instead of “EUR” to use up only two characters instead of three! The same goes for USD, GBP and JPY.
  4. Also swap all backslashes “\” with regular slash character “/” to save one more extra character.
  5. Lastly, just avoid using “^” for the sake of simplicity.

Did you know Messente can replace those characters for you automatically? Take a look at the Messente API Auto Replace settings.

Which Characters To Avoid In Your SMS

If you use characters, which are not in the GSM 03.38 charset, then the SMS is forced to Unicode mode and this way one SMS is only about half the length – 70 characters.

This is where you can win the most – don’t use any characters outside the GSM charset, unless it is really essential!

  • If your alphabet uses some diacritics, then replace those characters with regular letters or GSM-friendly alternatives

For example in French alphabet there is “ô” character, which is not in GSM charset. You could easily swap it with plain “o” or maybe “ò”.

Pssst! Messente has predefined replacements for more than 7 alphabeths, including French, Italian, Portugese, Polish, Lithuanian and Czech Republic!

Messente helps you to save on messaging costs

Invisible Characters Eating Up SMS Space?

Every now and then we have a client who is confused about their 160 character text being charged for two sms.

After some investigation it is clear, that they have accidentally used some Unicode space characters, which look just like regular space, so it is almost impossible to discover those.

If unicode spaces are used, the SMS is forced to use Unicode charset, which makes the SMS length to decrease to only 70 characters!

You can always check your SMS content for those characters using our Online SMS Length Calculator tool.

Messente shows invisible character's UTF-8 codepoing

Shorten Your Links

Useing some link shortening services like goo.gl will cut down your link to only 10 characters. Read more about links in your SMS from our Blog.

 

If you have any more neat tricks, let us know in the comments section!

May 4, 2014 by

Secure and auditable SMS service

Internet Security

Today companies have the unprecedented possibility of sharing information with the speed of light while channeling it very directly to selected receivers. Yet the fact remains, more complex systems have a bigger chance for loopholes. While growing quantities of business critical information is uploaded online, more companies stand against growing security threat that needs a solution in advance.

The rise of Enterprise Social Networks

Enterprise Social Networks are indispensable tools for business communication. The fact that everyday more and more classified information is being hacked is an alarming concern for every company that depends on password protected networks. Messente is increasingly serving more global companies who need a simple yet safe SMS solution for secure communication.

SMS security codes

The major benefit of sending security codes via SMS is that it keeps the information tied to one particular phone number. It is clear that a mobile phone is considered as a personal device. Therefore in the case of business critical communication it’s reasonable to keep the crucial information available to as few participants as possible through personal communication channel (i.e. mobile phone).

Messente avoids vulnerabilities proactively

We use the best practices in developing secure in-house applications to keep the server software always up-to-date. Lately we had a major server upgrade which made the SMS processing speed even faster while increasing security. Despite the fact that the system itself is quite complex, our engineers have developed it so that integration would still be very simple.

Read more about SMS service for enterprises in a global scale

April 21, 2014 by

Join the team

We are hiring developers who would help us build and develop Messente. Our product development team works hard trying to make Messente as simple to use as possible while making it powerful enough to easily process high volumes and covering the whole world.

Now they need an extra pair of hands.

Messente has grown fast. In fact we have at least doubled our customer base and message traffic each year for the past three years. And we’re on track to do at least a double-up each year for the next few years as well.

Our clients include web applications, banks, airlines, consumer brands and businesses from a wide range of industries. All of them are willing to give us excellent feedback on our platform. The cool thing about Messente’s development team is that everyone gets to be involved not only in coding but also business related decisions - for example whether to add a potential new feature or not.

So if you feel strong in C++/Java and feel excited to be building the coolest messaging platform in the world then take a closer look.