Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Configuring SMS Gateways on BitFaster

In this post, we assume that you have a good insight into the features that our tool – BitFaster has. Therefore, at this juncture, it is perhaps needless for us to mention that apart from email, BitFaster also allows you to run campaigns through SMS. Email campaigns require a local mail server to be configured on BitFaster. Equally well, in order to run campaigns through SMS, it is necessary that BitFaster gets to access an SMS gateway through which it can route all the messages / campaigns.

What is a Gateway?

It is basically a device or a piece of software that routes a message from the base station to the receiver through the telecom networks. In a broad sense, it functions in the same way as the SMTP server. Although it is of different types, a direct-to-SMS gateway is the one we shall concern ourselves with; this is because, a direct-to-SMS gateway allows one to switch between protocols. Although there are different protocols that can be used to govern the process of message transfer; BitFaster supports only http and https protocols. There are several benefits of using https protocol as it is fast, efficient, scalable and secure.

Configuring an SMS Gateway on BitFaster

So now that we’ve realized the role and need of an SMS gateway in our business, let us steer our focus towards configuring one on BitFaster. You will need to follow the steps mentioned below to set up an SMS gateway.

  • First click on SMS Gateways in the tree view, that appears on the left of your BitFaster page. Once you are inside, right click and select New SMS Gateway. Doing so, leads to the window shown below.
  • In the field Gateway Name, enter the name you wish to identify the gateway with.
  • All SMS Gateways require an Application Program Interface (API) to function. This can be obtained from the gateway service providers themselves (usually from their websites).

As an example, let us consider configuring a Clickatell gateway on BitFaster (Please note that you could opt for any gateway service provider and obtain the details accordingly)

  • Open Clickatell website and go to the page that shows the API for HTTP/S protocol.
  • Copy the API in the URL text field. Typically a HTTP API looks something like this :[MobileNo]&text= [SMS Message]

    The following fields need to be populated appropriately in the API for the gateway to function appropriately:

  • The API username and password as provided by the service provider.
  • API ID is a string that identifies the application to which the gateway has been interfaced. This is generally provided to all registered users.
  • To refers to the mobile number (along with the country code) to which the message is being sent. It is absolutely necessary to use the variable [MobileNo] in the field without which the mobile number of the contact is not sent to the gateway.
  • Text is the message that needs to be sent in the SMS.

Once all these parameters are entered, click Add in the window. This creates a new SMS gateway for BitFaster and you are ready to create and run your SMS campaigns.

Points to Note

  • Only one number can be entered in the To field at a time. This means that BitFaster connects to the gateway as many times as the number of contacts to which the message is sent. Credits maintained by you in the gateway, decrease accordingly.

  • The user need not enter the mobile number of the intended recipient each time; BitFaster automates this process.