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Twilio Alternative for SMS, Voice Calls, WhatsApp, and Airtime Top-ups

If your company intends to use automation for mobile communication, you’ve probably thought about using the cloud based communication platform Twilio. But have you considered using a Twilio alternative that doesn’t require an API or software integration? You wouldn’t even need your own app or website to launch a Voice call or SMS text message campaign. If that sounds interesting to you – read on. In 2015, engageSPARK launched a self-service mobile communication platform that provides exactly such a solution—for SMS, Voice IVR Calls, WhatsApp & Airtime Top-ups .

The growing need for mobile communication automation

According to the World Bank, 75% of the world’s population had access to mobile phones in 2012, and that number is rapidly rising. Significantly, many of the people who have mobile phones in developing countries don’t have Internet data plans. That means they can only be reached via mobile phones, but not through the Internet. Even in developed countries, not everyone has constant access to the Internet.

Rise in mobile phone usage

Image Source: Kozuch via Wikimedia Commons

With the global proliferation of mobile phones, the integration of SMS text messaging and Voice calls into marketing efforts has become crucial for many companies and non-profit organizations. In addition, many businesses have discovered the power of mobile messaging (both text and voice) to boost recruitment and customer support campaigns.
If you deal with large numbers of clients, however, you’ll need automation to make your mobile campaigns manageable. For Internet-based communications, there are numerous Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms to help you do this. For example, Email marketing tools enable you to communicate with thousands of people at the same time, and to track their responses and manage your replies to them. But how can you do something similar for a mobile campaign?
Until recently, it was necessary to use an API to integrate SMS text messaging and Voice calls into your own app or website. That meant you had to hire software developers to develop your own platform for mobile communication, and then integrate that via API with a cloud communication platform such as Twilio, which partners with over 1000 mobile carrier networks in more than 150 countries.
Once this API integration is set up, it enables you to communicate with mobile phones directly from your app or website. Because of the service provided by Twilio, you don’t have to work with each mobile carrier individually, since Twilio takes care of that part. Other mobile gateway providers you can use as Twilio alternatives include Plivo, Nexmo, Sinch and Bandwidth.

What are the disadvantages of using an API based mobile gateway provider?

While this process does enable you to set up a mobile communication platform, what are the disadvantages of this approach?
  • First of all, you need to create your own communication app and then integrate it via API with the network provided by a mobile gateway provider of your choice. This is very different from the example of a SaaS platform we mentioned above, which you can use without having to build your own software or API integration. Needless to say, setting up your own platform is much more time-consuming, compared to using a ready-to-use SaaS platform, which can deliver your desired solution from the word go.
  • Secondly, you need to have your own software engineers in order to develop a communication app and to set up the necessary API integration. That’s fine if you already have a software product and in-house developers. But if your company specializes in a product or service that has nothing to do with software, this presents a very large hurdle. You would have to hire in-house developers or find a good outsourcing provider, just for the purpose of setting up a mobile communication campaign.
  • Thirdly, setting up your own mobile communication platform is a lot more expensive than using a ready-made solution. Not only do you have pay developers to create your platform and to set up the API integration, you’ll need to keep them for maintenance and for the day-to-day running of your app.
This process is very laborious, in contrast to a SaaS platform that provides a ready-made solution, such as an Email marketing platform. In that case, the provider of the software takes care of both the development and the daily maintenance of the app, and you simply pay for the use you make of it. This is the principle of the value provided by any SaaS platform, which works by making your life easier with a fully developed solution relevant for your purposes.

Self-service platform engageSPARK: no need for API or software integration

At engageSPARK we felt the need for building one’s own software and API integration in order to use mobile automation is not an acceptable solution, and we therefore decided to create a SaaS platform that enables non-technical staff at any organization to launch SMS text message and Voice call campaigns quickly, and thereby to interact with customers, employees, or candidates for recruitment in any country.
engageSPARK was founded in 2012 by Ravi Agarwal and Avner Mizrahi, and currently has offices in the Philippines, Ghana, USA, and Hong Kong. The engageSPARK mobile communication platform was launched in 2015, and is already being used in 100+ countries. It is a self-service platform that enables any company or organization to easily create Voice Call, 2-Way SMS Text, Missed Call, and Airtime transfer campaigns.

What are the advantages of the engageSPARK platform?

The three key advantages offered by the engageSPARK platform are:
  • It’s easy to use: non-technical staff can build interactive mobile communication campaigns in just minutes, using 3-step wizards. No API or software expertise is required.
  • The Telco integration is taken care of. engageSPARK partners with 1000+ Telcos in 200+ countries, making the setup of local inbound phone numbers easy.
  • It’s very affordable, since it’s a pay-as-you-go service. There are no monthly subscriptions, minimum deposits, or contracts. Users just pay for what they use.

Which solution is right for you?

So, given these options, which solution is the better one? If you have a software-based product and want to integrate Voice call functionality or SMS text messaging into it, using an API based mobile gateway provider is obviously the right choice for you. That approach would give you full control over the customization of the functionalities. Also, the added expenses would not be prohibitive, since you probably have in-house developers.
But if your core business is not based on a software product, you would benefit greatly from using a cheaper alternative to Twilio that presents you with a ready-made solution. That would allow you to integrate mobile automation into your business without developing your own tools or technical expertise. By using a self-service platform like engageSPARK, you would be able to launch Voice call or SMS text message campaigns rapidly and easily, set up by any of your staff, without the need for training. If you are curious to give engageSPARK a try, you can sign up and test it for free in just a couple of minutes.
At engageSPARK we feel that our mission is to enable any organization to launch effective Voice call and SMS text message campaigns easily, and without the need to develop new technology or technological expertise. We would love to hear your opinion on this discussion – which solution would you choose, and what would be your reasons for doing so?