A Review of Mobile Messaging Use Cases

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1 SAP Thought Leadership Paper SAP Mobile Services A Review of Mobile Messaging Use Cases Guidelines for Today s Ever-Changing Messaging Ecosystem

2 Table of Contents 4 Introduction 5 Validation and Two-Factor Authentication Use Cases 7 Use Cases for P2P SMS About the Author William Dudley is group director and mobile evangelist for Global Strategy & Solutions at SAP and has almost 30 years of experience building and managing telecommunications network infrastructure. He defines the SAP Mobile Services division s global strategy and solutions within the mobile ecosystem, focusing on solutions for messaging, next-generation networks, and mobile consumer engagement. As a mobile evangelist, he communicates through both internal and external publications and is active in industry groups. 2 / 8

3 Mobile messaging today is not like the global SMS ecosystems of old, with traditional person-to-person (P2P) and strict application-to-person (A2P) use cases. Mobile consumer engagement is fast securing a central place in today s mobile first economy, and messaging has become a preferred channel for reaching consumers. Today, there are written and unwritten rules when it comes to engaging consumers through messaging. Marketers, enterprises, and brands that ignore them risk alienating the consumers they wish to reach. 3 / 8

4 Introduction The P2P SMS ecosystem is ubiquitous. Virtually every mobile operator and a significant number of over-the-top (OTT) service providers are reachable via SMS. Consequently, over the last few years, there has been a great deal of innovation around the usage of SMS as well as the types of messages that service providers are endeavoring to send via the P2P connections. In the SMS ecosystem, there is also a separate, logical application-to-person (or person-toapplication) connectivity network one where mobile network operators (MNOs) have approved and in many cases monetized this type of mostly commercial and non-human-generated traffic. Traditionally, the A2P network uses separate connectivity from P2P. The reasons for this are numerous; however, a significant reason is that it helps to control spam and grey-route traffic over the P2P networks. Grey-route traffic is typically A2P SMS traffic that attempts delivery outside of approved A2P connections or routes into the MNOs. Grey-route traffic tries to use the P2P network and ubiquitous connectivity to avoid MNO fees or approval processes. Much of it attempts to take advantage of MNOs, aggregators, and even senders. When we discuss mobile messaging today, in many cases we hear how messaging OTTs have cannibalized traditional SMS. But in the same vein, we also hear that A2P SMS messaging will continue to grow. Based on that concept, there is a wide variety of changes that have been seeping into what we know as traditional P2P and A2P messaging so much so that the old concept of good messaging and bad messaging (spam, grey routes, and so on) no longer holds. Confused? This paper will highlight the use cases that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable in today s SMS-based mobile messaging ecosystem. Mobile consumer engagement is fast securing a central place in today s mobile first economy, with messaging now a preferred channel for reaching consumers. 4 / 8

5 Validation and Two-Factor Authentication Use Cases There are a number of SMS-based use cases for validation or two-factor authentication. These are becoming quite common. Let s review a number of similar use cases where an SMS is sent for validation. User registration: 1. A user is registering for a Web site. 2. The Web site prompts for the user s mobile phone number. 3. The Web site then sends an SMS to the user with a one-time numeric code. 4. The user enters the code into the Web site to complete the validation. E-commerce or m-commerce transaction: 1. A user completes a buy or sell transaction online. 2. The Web site prompts for the user s mobile phone number. 3. The Web site then sends an SMS to the user with a one-time numeric code. 4 The user enters the code into the Web site to complete the validation. Two-factor authentication: 1. A user logs in to the account using the normal username and password. 2. The Web site notices the user is using a new device. 3. The Web site sends a verification SMS to a previously registered number. 4. The user inputs a verification pin code to complete the authentication process. Password reset: 1. A user opts in to verification messages by inputting a phone number into the Web site. 2. The user later forgets the login credentials to the Web site and requests a one-time numeric code. 3. The Web site sends the one-time code to the user via SMS. 4. The user enters the code into the Web site, completing the verification process. 5. The user can now reset the password. Is delivery of these SMS messages acceptable over a P2P network? The answer is no, it is not. These use cases are almost universally recognized as A2P (an application in this case the authenticating application is sending the message to a mobile subscriber). This is very often seen as grey-route traffic that is, traffic that attempts through indirect or alternative means to circumvent an MNO s approved delivery pathways. Increasingly, this type of traffic will be blocked by spam filters or SMS firewalls. There is a wide variety of changes that have been seeping into what we know as traditional P2P and A2P messaging. 5 / 8

6 Of course, SMS is not the only way that validation, authentication, or two-factor authentication messages may be delivered to the user. If mobile applications are involved, push notifications can be used to send the authentication code or PIN in the same manner. In many cases, for missioncritical authentication, it is desirable to use push as the primary channel, with SMS as a secondary channel. But even with SMS as a secondary channel, the delivery routes should still be over accepted A2P routes. Alerts and Notifications Simple alerts and notifications of an event or some status change are common use cases for SMS. Messaging-based alerts are some of the most classic A2P scenarios that are being used today. A common use case can be outlined as follows: 1. A user registers a mobile phone number to a Web site and opts in to receive alert messages. 2. When an event occurs (weather alert, shipping alert, reminder, or status change, among many other types of events), an SMS message is sent to the user s mobile phone number. Can these types of messages use the global P2P routes for delivery to the user s MNO? Again, the answer is no. Such messages are often seen as grey-route traffic and are subject to being blocked as spam on P2P networks by various spam filters or SMS firewalls. Why? Alerts are almost always one-way in nature originating from the Web site or application to the user as the result of some event. Other than offering the ability (normally) to opt out, these alerts do not involve a two-way exchange between individuals. They also tend to be one-to-many, originating from a single or small group of originators and heading toward many destinations. The call-center or customer-support scenario is becoming a common use of P2P SMS. To determine whether messages can use the P2P ecosystem versus the A2P ecosystem, the key question to ask is this: Can the subscriber interact with or initiate messages to the other party (which might represent an enterprise or organization) and expect a personal reply back? If the answer is yes, then messages should be able to use P2P routes. 6 / 8

7 Use Cases for P2P SMS Other than actual P2P messaging, are there any other commercial use cases that may not be initially evident for leveraging the P2P messaging ecosystem? In today s ever-changing ecosystem, the answer is a resounding yes. Group Messaging In common group-messaging scenarios, group (or club) messaging is provided through an app or online service. The group owner is assigned a group telephone number (TN). Group members may join the group by sending messages to the group TN to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the group. The group owner may solicit other subscribers via SMS to join the group or may create the group from a list of TNs (such as a church, school, class, club, family, or any other type of group). Again, there are numerous variations. Typically, SMS-based groups built in this manner are recommended to have no more than 60 members; however, this limitation is somewhat ambiguous, as it is not clear whether the group size is defined by one MNO/service provider or all MNOs/service providers. A typical scenario goes like this: 1. A user sends a message to the group. 2. Group members receive messages from the group TN. 3. Group members can reply individually (to the group owner) or to the entire group, depending on the capability of the service. The key is that the group members have the ability to originate messages to the group owner or to all members of the group through the main group TN. It is different from an alerting service, in that the message to group members is human generated rather than being automated or software generated. P2P literally means person to person, and an engaged human must be involved on both sides of the message: sender and receiver. 7 / 8

8 Call Center and Customer Support The call-center or customer-support scenario is an increasingly common use of P2P SMS. Using a text-enabled vanity landline or toll-free number as a method by which to engage with a business is gaining acceptance in the United States. Subscribers simply text questions or even requests to order products or services to the designated number. The business call-center personnel manually respond to incoming texts with the information needed or to complete an order. The call-center scenario may also include autoresponders that is, automated responses that would indicate some status regarding the exchange or transactions (for example, a customer service representative will respond to your request within 3 minutes ). Can these types of scenarios be acceptable over P2P messaging routes? Yes, call-center scenarios are acceptable on P2P networks and provide an alternative, asynchronous means to engage a call center or customer service center. The mobile subscriber initiates the exchange with an SMS sent to the call center (through a vanity number toll free, landline, mobile, or otherwise). The back and forth is human generated. Some automated responses can be supported, as long as their content does not become advertising. Summary As we ve highlighted, P2P literally means person to person, and an engaged human must be involved on both sides of the message: sender and receiver. SMS is still the most ubiquitous nonverbal communications channel ever devised, and to keep it viable and usable, these guidelines continue to be implemented, industry-wide. Various service providers that play a role in message delivery will tune and configure spam and grey-route control based on these primary A2P and P2P differentiators as well as others, so those parties that attempt to circumvent accepted message routing will be thwarted. Learn More SAP Mobile Services, a division of SAP, is the world s largest messaging hub provider, using the SAP SMS 365 mobile service to offer: A reach to over 1,000 MNOs and OTT service providers through secure interfaces and networks Accurate and fast message routing, using our advanced number resolution system to correctly identify the destination MNO Integrated, multipolicy, antispam and grey filtering solutions to ensure that messages you receive are compliant and spam free Capabilities to enable MNOs to provide dedicated connectivity for A2P (or enterprise) messaging traffic for wholesale customers The goal of SAP Mobile Services is to ensure that our customers messages adhere to the latest accepted guidelines and best practices for specific regions as well as worldwide, and that the highestquality, approved routes and networks are used for the delivery of all SMS messages whether they are delivered via P2P or A2P routes. To discover more, please go to 8 / 8 Studio SAP 33998enUS (14/11)

9 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for any purpose without the express permission of SAP SE or an SAP affiliate company. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. Please see for additional trademark information and notices. Some software products marketed by SAP SE and its distributors contain proprietary software components of other software vendors. National product specifications may vary. These materials are provided by SAP SE or an SAP affiliate company for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and SAP SE or its affiliated companies shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP SE or SAP affiliate company products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. In particular, SAP SE or its affiliated companies have no obligation to pursue any course of business outlined in this document or any related presentation, or to develop or release any functionality mentioned therein. This document, or any related presentation, and SAP SE s or its affiliated companies strategy and possible future developments, products, and/or platform directions and functionality are all subject to change and may be changed by SAP SE or its affiliated companies at any time for any reason without notice. The information in this document is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates, and they should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.

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