Zang APIs Enable Text Messaging Services for Puerto Rican Utility Company

Posted by Alex Misevski on December 7, 2016

“Send SMS” is a new service developed by Zang Cloud partner ImaginationSoft for its client, a major water utility company in Puerto Rico. ImaginationSoft, a custom software development company, is also based in Puerto Rico and has been working with this client for more than 10 years—initially programming its interactive voice response (IVR) system and then adding services over the course of the relationship.

The utility’s client services included short message service (SMS) notifications to remind its 1.3 million clients when payments were due and the like, but the phone companies in the country were beginning to crack down on the usage of their networks for commercial messaging. As Nelson Mejias, president of ImaginationSoft, explains, “The phone companies were telling the client, ‘Look, this is only for individual service.’”

 The Problem

Since the way they’d been providing text messaging was non-compliant and no longer feasible, the utility company needed a new solution for providing SMS notifications to its clients—and it needed the capability to send thousands of messages per day.

ImaginationSoft wanted to provide the service using just one phone number with the capability to send thousands of messages per day. Otherwise, this client—and future ones—would have to pay for a short code, which is a five- to six-digit phone number used by businesses to opt-in customers to their SMS programs. Short codes are expensive, approximately $1,500 per month in Puerto Rico just for the lease (plus additional fees for setup and hosting).

What’s more, regular phone numbers have a 500-message-per-day limit. So Mejias would have to buy and program 10 or 20 numbers to send a lot of messages, and it was a process he simply wanted to avoid. “It was really important to have one phone number that can send thousands of messages a day,” he reiterated.

Before reaching out to Zang, Mejias had initiated contact with another provider and learned that a single 800 (toll-free) number could deliver thousands of messages per day, but Mejias wanted a reliable provider that could support all of the cellphone companies in Puerto Rico and provide excellent customer service. Plus, he needed to know that the one 800 number would give him the capability to ramp up features for his client in the future, like two-way communications, offering customers the opportunity to pay their bills over SMS.

The Solution

Mejias had started working with another provider because it offered the lowest pricing in Puerto Rico. He determined to switch to Zang following a period of downtime with the provider that went unresolved for nearly two weeks. “That would’ve killed me if I was already in production,” Mejias explained. “I was lucky that I was just building the system … or I would’ve lost the client.” Anxious about reliability, Mejias started looking around for a provider that could offer better service.

He found Zang through a web search. “I went looking for communication development platforms and found Zang - an Avaya company,” he recounted. “I wrote to Zang and got in contact with two employees: Davide Petramala and Calvin Certuche.” After a few phone calls and emails, Mejias was assured that Zang could “provide exactly what was needed to deliver the service to the client.”

Mejias’ confidence in Zang was quickly rewarded. “I was really glad because they sat down and worked with us, and then they created a custom solution that delivered exactly what I needed to provide the service to the client,” he reported. The solution’s one 800 number means the client’s customers will be able to easily associate the utility with the number, and their notifications will be tracked in the same message stream.

Using Zang APIs, ImaginationSoft was able to create the Send SMS service. Now, the company receives the utility’s email notifications, extracts the information, translates it into SMS, and then uses Zang to deliver the messages to the clients—currently 70,000 per month.

“The technology is incredibly flexible, and the system worked beautifully from day one,” said Mejias. “We never had any problems using the service or sending the messages.” He credits Zang for helping him to refine the service. “It is a good working relationship that I really appreciate,” he communicated. “Every time I need something, I can go to them and they are really open to it—even if they don’t currently provide it. That’s just another one of the things I like about Zang.”

The service has been operating smoothly for two months, and today Mejias and his ImaginationSoft team are in the initial stages of rolling the service out to other companies on the island. “Now that the service is stable and working well, we are contacting other companies to offer them the solution,” he said.

The entire process of creating and deploying the Zang solution took just a couple of weeks, according to Mejias. “It was a really fast implementation.” If your organization could use some help to seamlessly incorporate real-time communications into your applications, Zang will work for you, too. We provide a robust cloud-based communication platform for creating voice and SMS apps for computers, mobile devices, online services, and integration into traditional phone systems.


You can get started on Zang Cloud for free today.  

Topics: Communication Apps, Ideas, Use Cases