Integrated Library Systems – All library software providers using text messaging need to do it the right way

Everyone is texting and it is not likely to be going away any time soon. That means libraries looking to communicate with patrons on their mobile phones need to rely on the best and most reliable ways for deploying mobile technologies. There is a lot of hype around mobile apps and we love them too, but text messaging is the best way to reach literally everyone and it can be deployed at a fraction of the cost of developing and managing a mobile app. With the popularity of text messaging, we see a lot of software providers in the library space circumventing short codes, truly the only approved way to send and receive text messages.

What about ILS integration?
We get asked this a lot, it makes sense and we’re having discussions with potential partners where we feel we will add the most value to our libraries and patrons. The problem we’re seeing in general is that many software companies in the library industry are doing their best to add text messaging, yet doing it in a way that is not permitted or certified by the mobile carriers or the CTIA (the wireless association).

Permitted and certified text messaging can only be done using a 5 or 6 digit short code.
It is truly the only way a software provider can add text messaging to their service and be compliant. Sending emails to text message email addresses (aka SMTP to SMS) or using 10 digit texting numbers are not permitted and there will soon be a bigger crackdown on companies attempting to provide text messaging solutions.

I recently asked the CTIA for a response about 10 digit texting numbers being used by software companies of all types (not just libraries). Here’s the response I received:
“the carrier community is not pleased with the circumvention of the consumer protections that are part of the short code environment. CTIA’s position, developed in collaboration with our carrier members, is that all commercial messaging–the so-called “A2P” traffic, belongs on a short code and must be subject to the controls and monitoring that apply to short code campaigns.  We oppose the abuse of the person-to-person (P2P) channels for commercial messaging.”
Note: [P2P = 10 digit texting numbers]

“The guidelines that the CTIA board adopted in October ( ) are pretty clear about that: 
‘These recommendations apply to regular 10-digit dialable telephone numbers and expressly exclude A2P campaigns. It is recommended that A2P traffic utilize messaging channels established to support Common Short Codes ('”

So why are we sharing this info?
After hearing our customers (or potential customers) echo incorrect information that they’d been told, read or assumed, as a company we felt the need to get and share an official statement from the mobile industry. Mosio strives to make mobile messaging easier to understand for our customers, partners, developers and anyone who is interested in deploying text messaging as a part of communications with their members, patrons, students, employees and event attendees. We pride ourselves in knowing what is available, how to navigate the waters of this rapidly changing industry and make the most informed decisions possible.

If you have any questions about deploying text messaging applications the correct way, please feel free to contact us, whether you are a customer or not. We want to do our part to educate the marketplace so mobile messaging is done correctly, securely and permitted.

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Published by nc

CEO and Co-Founder of Mosio, a mobile agency and the creators of Text a Librarian.

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