Three years ago, Nexmo, a leading provider of SMS communications, was one of the first companies to provide communication capabilities via social chat applications, such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat. Adding these social channels enabled our customers to reach their consumers via feature-rich IP channels—which were exploding among consumers. The addition of social channels afforded businesses the flexibility to choose a messaging medium based on strategic priorities such as cost, engagement and customer preference.
Since then, the number of social chat apps has only increased and each one that emerges brings its own set of complex requirements. Whereas the complexity with SMS message delivery lied in the hundreds of different telecommunication networks that Nexmo abstracts, with chat apps, the different communication rules and dramatic variances in regional user bases are the source of complexity.
We quickly discovered that we could offer a better messaging product that would help simplify these implementations. Given that businesses care primarily about the outcome of the communication, the medium of the communication is of less concern. This realization led us to think about a new approach: abstracting channels from messaging.
That is why we are excited to unveil two new APIs that are the realization of this new approach. Available today in Developer Preview, the Messages API and the Workflows API represent a flexible messaging solution that allows businesses to fully leverage the PSTN and IP channels for rich, extensible messaging experiences.
Channel Proliferation Made the Messages and Workflows APIs Necessary
The messaging landscape is expanding as new IP-based channels are being rapidly adopted alongside traditional channels like SMS. We expect the landscape to continue changing – new channels will emerge as others fade away. To keep pace, businesses need a messaging solution that accommodates PSTN and IP by default and also enables rapid experimentation with new channels. Enter the Messages and Workflows APIs.
The Messages API provides access to SMS and multiple social chat applications, such as Facebook Messenger and Viber Service Messages. This is what a modern messaging API should be:
- It abstracts the idiosyncracies of PSTN and IP channels.
- It’s channel agnostic.
- It’s designed for rich media from the start.
Any new messaging channel we add will automatically be supported by the Messages API, meaning you can incorporate multiple channels through a single API. You might start with SMS, but you can integrate any new channel that comes along with a simple code change.
The Workflows API allows businesses to target new messaging channels and then fallback to SMS. It’s just one API call and a final callback, the same as existing SMS setups, making it quick to integrate. The business has complete flexibility to control the failover flows by manipulating the API call. For instance, “read” receipts can be used within the failover to ensure that a message was read. Nexmo sends a final callback because you don’t know what the outcome might be. This response details what messages were created and their total cost, enabling you to quickly calculate the effectiveness of a new channel.
Having siloed SMS and social communication products hampers businesses that need to keep pace with proliferating messaging channels in order to engage and win customers. Businesses need the agility and control to navigate this dynamic landscape and experiment with strategic new channels quickly and easily. That’s why we developed these new APIs.
Today, we’re launching the Messages and Workflows APIs with Viber Service Messages, Facebook Messenger, and SMS. We will continually add support for new channels based on your feedback.
Request access to the Developer Preview of the Nexmo Messages and Workflows APIs to start experimenting with smarter message delivery.