Native SMS vs OTT Messaging

As enterprises increase in scope and breadth of communication, coordinating messaging across applications, personnel, clients, and collaborators can be a daunting task. Whether you’re a small startup just beginning to expand operations or a well-established presence looking to improve coordination among your staff, understanding how specific messaging APIs function and fit within your scope is crucial to success.

Native SMS vs OTT Messaging

Integrating numerous add-ons for your communications can be difficult if you do not understand how to work with native SMS or OTT messaging. Both of them you most likely have used at some point in your career, but highlighting the differences between the two can help you decide how best to use them.

Today, we are going to walk through the differences between native messaging and OTT messaging interfaces. Depending on how your enterprise communicates, you will need to understand how both play a role in augmenting communication protocols. Factors like security, speed, and flexibility are critical aspects of a messaging asset.

Ready to integrate sleek, user-friendly messaging into your system? Contact In-App Chat!


What is native messaging?


Native messaging includes anything coordinated by SMS (short message service) that is natively hosted on a browser or mobile device. It is the most popular messaging service component for nearly every telephone, mobile, or Internet system. However, its popularity is waning due to reductions in use by corporations for communications; for one, Juniper Research predicts native SMS revenue to fall by approximately 50 billion dollars total over the next three years. 

The issue lies in the cost of native SMS messaging, and how difficult it is to integrate more productive chat options within them; it is doable, but many times, networks tend to use OTT messaging partners that offer more excellent utility. This does not necessarily mean that native is not a useful method of communication, but that there are choices on the market that are simpler and cheaper to use for larger companies.

Native SMS messaging protocols have persisted because they are everywhere. And because they make up most of the online communication platforms used today.


Pros of Native Messaging

Native SMS comes packed with essential features, and it gets the job done. Generally, it is swift and often includes features like a delivery report, as well as being text-based. As a bonus, it can connect from nearly anywhere.


Cons of Native Messaging

One significant con when using Native SMS is the lack of read receipts. As well as a lack of confirmation for when a message has been appropriately delivered. Traditional Native SMS also lacks functions for specifying permissions, as well as lacking a good group chats communication system. This means you would need to coordinate and delegate outside of the Native SMS to specify who is included within which project.

Related: Building Your Chat In-House vs. Licensing Chat API


What is OTT messaging?


OTT messaging, which stands for Over-The-Top messaging, is how we commonly refer to external applications such as WhatsApp or Viber that support messaging from nearly anywhere there is an Internet connection. It allows consumers to communicate through text messaging without taxing their native SMS capabilities. OTT is becoming a major source of communication software, judging by Juniper’s recent report on WhatsApp generating three times as much traffic as native SMS.

Here, the science and numbers are pretty clear; individuals simply prefer OTT over native SMS for their everyday and professional activities. By next year, global users are goingto exceed 4.2 billion. The argument for OTT vs. SMS comes down to how many features OTT clients have over SMS.


Pros of OTT Messaging

For one, OTT messaging communications are far cheaper than SMS on the part of consumers. Individuals who have unlimited SMS messaging — as is common in most North American phone plans — are fine. But there is an added cost of text messaging when SMS is not included in the mobile plan. This means reaching your consumers and staff through SMS over OTT can incur costs. Many OTT apps also support specific group chats and sending high-resolution photo messages. Many OTT APIs also support interfacing with user-generated modifications and automation, something that is difficult to do with SMS clients.


Cons of OTT Messaging

The main issue with OTT is that your data is at the mercy of the client encryption standard, whatever that may be (it is different for each proprietary group). There is also the problem of connectivity; unlike SMS, OTT works only as well as there is a reliable internet connection. SMS, for all of its basic features, can deliver communications with nearly no connection at all. 


The Future of Messaging

Messaging clients can be reliable and secure. But it requires that consumers be aware of the drawbacks and positives of each type. Many times, even the market in which your company is based can be a deciding factor on whether you choose native SMS or OTT. For example, according to William Dudley from SAP Digital Interconnect, WhatsApp suffered in the American market due to its cost and recent monetization by Facebook. Its lack of recent market growth may also reduce its availability in the United States.

This is not the case for native SMS, which supports a variety of demographics. Right now, the field is looking at an integrative model that takes into account the best of both worlds; some groups are even looking at applications that allow companies to reach consumers no matter if they are SMS or OTT.

Related: Building Your Chat In-House vs. Licensing Chat API


Native SMS vs OTT Messaging

All in all, it’s important that groups are aware of each choice and whether their unique circumstances benefit from an integrated or fully OTT chat conversation protocol.

Native SMS and OTT messaging clients offer a variety of features that companies must weigh depending on their needs. In many cases, applications and integrated networks that offer greater security and speed are the most desired.

Still unsure of the difference between native and OTT messaging? Contact In-App Chat to learn more!


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