The SMS service, since its emergence in the early 1990s, has not changed a lot despite the purpose of messaging services. However, the basic fundamentals have remained the same since then. In the past decade, messaging services are more popular than ever because of their profound adoption across business verticals.
This widespread adoption of SMS among industries and businesses is because of the various benefits that it offers – increased customer retention, brand loyalty, gaining new customers, increasing sales rate, providing profitable ROI, etc. There are basically two different types of messaging services that are commonly adopted by companies, peer-to-peer(P2P) and application-to-peer(A2P) messaging services.
Peer-to-peer messaging vs Application-to-peer messaging
Peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging
Peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging enables exchanging information in the form of SMS between two devices. This type of messaging works with the default configuration of any cellular network wherein the devices identify themselves using telephone numbers. P2P messaging is commonly used in mobile phones where users can interact with each other via text messages and group chats.
Within the sphere of IoT, P2P has its own limitations. One of the major challenges in dealing with P2P messaging services is that the messaging services cannot be automated. When a number of devices have to be configured by SMS, manually configuring each device will be very difficult. Another challenge with P2P messaging is security. IoT devices exchange sensitive data within their existing networks. P2P messaging tends to expose the device that sends messages. This will make the system vulnerable as anyone can alter commands and change the configuration.
Application-to-peer (A2P) messaging is the process of exchanging information in the form of text messages between a device and an application. The application will be connected to an API or the SMPP protocol to connect with a device. The device will then be able to identify the application using a private number that is allocated by the user. One of the best examples of this is the banking application. When the user sends/receives money to/from another user, the API or the SMPP protocol will identify the user’s device and send a confirmation SMS.
Similar to P2P, A2P messaging also works with the default configuration of the cellular network, but the applications must be configured individually. The advantage of using A2P messaging is that it is completely trackable and the messages can be monitored through an SMS managing console or the customer’s application. A2P messaging can be automated, making the deployment process easier among large numbers of users. This feature became the key factor for companies to adopt A2P messaging rather than P2P messaging. The global A2P messaging market is expected to reach $72.8 billion by the year 2025 with a CAGR of 3.2% between 2020 and 2025.
How does A2P messaging work?
A2P SMS services generally rely on short message peer-to-peer (SMPP) protocol to exchange information between two digital entities. One of the two entities tries to initiate the SMPP session to determine its actions such as sending or receiving messages. The SMS center (SMSC) will then either accept or reject the messages and transfer them to the other digital entity.
When it comes to IoT devices, they are capable of connecting to wireless networks and use cellular connections just like mobile phones. Except, unlike mobile devices, IoT devices do not type out messages. Instead, these devices communicate through software applications to use SMS services. For mobile devices where P2P messaging takes place, the SMSC acts as the mediator between the devices to transmit the data. Whereas, in IoT devices, the software application serves as the intermediator to send and receive messages from SMSC for the IoT devices.
Increasing security through A2P messaging
To leverage the advantages of A2P messaging services, companies have to use the right tools and adopt a comprehensive strategy to get the most out of it. Since A2P traffic cannot be merged with P2P traffic, companies have to adopt an SMS firewall. SMS firewalls can prevent overlapping routes and ensure that enterprise messages are delivered through the appropriate channels.
It is important to adopt a full-fledged SMS firewall that is capable of controlling international and domestic traffic. These firewalls prevent flooding by preventing a large number of messages from reaching the same destination. SMS firewalls can also look out for traffic spiking irrelevant content and filter out these unwanted data while also blocking messages from random sources.
Of late, companies can leverage the advantages of technologies such as AI and ML to develop smarter firewalls that can spot and prevent fraud, revenue leakage, etc. These smart and robust firewalls will also enable businesses to have a transparent understanding of their revenue.
As mentioned earlier, A2P messaging services are widely adopted that P2P messaging services as they provide numerous chances to effectively communicate and manage customers. With that being said, mobile operators have to keep their platforms error-free and have backup plans in case of any illegitimate A2P transactions.