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RingCentral offers bulk SMS for reaching customers

A high-volume SMS API will let RingCentral users send thousands of messages at a time, a move that should help customers with sales and marketing promotions.

RingCentral has added high-volume SMS messaging to its cloud-based telephony platform. The latest feature is an API that can be embedded in other applications to let users send messages to thousands of people at a time.

The high-volume SMS API, which RingCentral announced at its annual conference, Code Together, is out in public beta and will be generally available sometime in 2021. According to the company, high-volume SMS can help healthcare providers send out appointment reminders to patients and help salespeople send marketing messages to customers.

The bulk SMS feature lets users send up to 50 MB of data or around 10,000 messages in a single request. Previously, RingCentral limited its SMS API to sending only person-to-person messages and not application-to-person SMS, as is the case with the new API.

Chirag Shukla, chief information and technology officer at Risk Administration Services, said the SMS feature would help his workers' compensation insurance company distribute information about renewals and safety training, and metrics about injury-related losses. He also lauded RingCentral's other open APIs for integrating third-party applications.

"RingCentral is making it easier to integrate their products right where users are," Shukla said. "That allows frictionless interaction with customers."

RingCentral competes in the small to midtier unified communications market with providers like 8x8 and Vonage, which also offer bulk SMS services. The feature is becoming a must-have for telephony providers.

"We have seen significant interest in SMS, both for customer engagement as well as for sales and marketing activities," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research. "So, RingCentral customers don't have to go to another provider for that capability."

We have seen significant interest in SMS, both for customer engagement as well as for sales and marketing activities.
Irwin LazarAnalyst, Nemertes Research

According to Will Moxley, chief product officer at RingCentral, popular demand among RingCentral users is what engendered the SMS API feature in the first place.

High-volume SMS is just the most recent advancement from the unified communications provider. RingCentral launched its video operations in early April and has accrued about 10,000 videoconferencing customers. The UCaaS provider has about 3 million customers overall. In June, the company launched RingCentral Rooms for conference room use. Rooms lets third-party hardware, such as iPad controllers and Poly X30 cameras and speaker bars, use RingCentral's video conferencing and telephony software.

The company has also announced a few significant partnerships over the past year. Last October, it partnered with Avaya for Avaya Cloud, and, in February teamed up with Avos on Unify One. And in August, RingCentral announced a partnership with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, a European telecommunications gear manufacturer.

But analysts saw RingCentral's adoption of video, specifically, as a sign that it was moving away from its partnership with Zoom. RingCentral touts its consolidated features as MVP -- messaging, video conferencing and phone.

On top of the SMS feature, RingCentral announced new open APIs for embeddable video and call streaming to allow users to access RingCentral's UCaaS services from within other applications. Both are available now in public beta and generally available in 2021.

The company works with about 40,000 vendors that use RingCentral's open APIs to integrate third-party applications.

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