ServiceGrid Article - Sending Text Messages
SMS is an acronym for Short Message Service and was invented for text communication through mobile phones. The first SMS was sent in 1992.
Originally SMS was part of the GSM-Standard and intended to be used for technical purposes. With only a simple and small technical infrastructure, it is very cheap and very popular especially among young people.
Cisco ServiceGrid has introduced SMS functionality to enable inbound and outbound communications using SMS a long time ago.
Due to the fact that SMS can only propagate a very limited amount of information, and the latest mobile phones have a much faster network connection, bigger screens and most often browser functionality, SMS communication seems to be out of date.
This might be the reason why the number of customers using this feature has decreased rapidly over the last few years. We will be providing our service all over the world. This leads to the situation that a customer might send an SMS through a telecom provider in Europe to receivers on the other side of the world. Example: Asia or North America. The delay in the transmission, the high possibility of problems in the delivery process and the associated costs are not viable for our customers.
For this reason, Cisco will discontinue the SMS service of Cisco ServiceGrid for the inbound SMS functionality without any replacement and will retain the outbound SMS functionality. It is possible to send text messages (SMS) manually or automatically out from a call (see Notifications). Every SMS is attached to the history record and can be viewed in the call history.
SMS can be sent by using templates and free texts, In the recent version, more than 3700 fields are available for outbound templates. The content can be edited before sending. Receivers may be all persons assigned to the call and/or any Email address.
Contract an SMS Provider
Be aware that ServiceGrid is only under obligation that a message with the appropriate content is sent to your SMS provider. The SMS provider itself is obligated to send the SMS.
If you are present all around the world, it is possible to have more than one SMS provider depending on the location. There are two options with respect to an SMS provider:
- Find one or more SMS providers that offer SMS sending services in the desired capability.
- Ask your SMS provider about the SLA and service times he provides you with.
Character Encoding of the SMS Provider
The encoding of the SMS is important as they are the most often encountered encodings. The following are some of the limitations:
- If the SMS provider is using the GSM-7 bit encoding (common in Europe), it is possible to transfer 160 characters per message.
- If the SMS provider is using an 8-bit encoding, the maximum message length is 140 characters.
- If the SMS provider is using a 16-bit encoding, only 70 characters can be transmitted.
Take care about the character encoding of the string, which is sent. A single character with a different encoding changes the encoding of the rest of the string.
- Check the Character encoding of your SMS provider.
A lot of SMS providers are able to break a message longer than the permitted length into several pieces of maximum permitted length and sends them as a “concatenated message” to the receiver. The receiver may or may not form a single message out of these concatenated messages.
- Check if the SMS provider can provide concatenated SMS.
- Check if your mobile phone is able to concatenated the SMS (usually most of the latest mobiles can do that).
- Check the maximum length of concatenated SMS.
Connection between ServiceGrid and the SMS Provider
The SMS provider needs to receive the required data to send SMS to a customer.
Therefore, a bridge between Cisco ServiceGrid and the SMS provider should be created.
B2B connections between ITSM applications and Cisco ServiceGrid are encrypted and require authentication.
Depending on the transport method selected, Table 1 shows the encryption methods used.
Table 1: Transport and Associated Encryption Methods
| Transport Method|| Authentication|| Encryption|
| Transaction-based via SMTP (Mail)|| Authentication via Mail account|| TLS|
| Transaction-based via HTTP POST|| Authentication via Login, Password|| HTTPS (SSL)|
| Transaction-based via SOAP|| Authentication via Login, Password|| HTTPS (SSL)|
Cisco ServiceGrid supports additional encryption methods. These are some examples:
- Client certificates
- Individual VPN tunneling
- Message content encryption
- Check the encryption and authentication method between ServiceGrid and your SMS Provider.
Transport Methods, Options, and Parameters
Cisco ServiceGrid provides a set of industry standard transport methods (Table 2) to connect ITSM applications to the Cisco ServiceGrid platform.
Table 2: Transport Methods, Options, and Parameters
When using HTTPS SOAP or HTTPS POST, you have to create a ServiceDefinition. If you do not know how to do that please refer to our documentation in http://docwiki.cisco.com/wiki/ServiceGrid and our release notes.
- Check the Transport Method, options and Parameters with the SMS Provider.
Character Encoding of ServiceGridTM
ServiceGrid can provide the following encodings:
- UTF-8 (recommended)
- Check the character encoding of the SMS provider.
The Date and Time formatting options can be presented with the Java Simple Date format.
For the transmission of time and data values, we recommend a format similar to the following:
| Format|| Description|
| d|| Day of the month (01 – 31)|
| M|| Month of the year (01 – 12)|
| y|| Year (00 – 99)|
| H|| Hour (0 – 23)|
| m|| Minute (0 – 59)|
| s|| Second (0 – 59)|
Example: yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss
Transmission of time and date values might be important if the customer wants to have information about SMS-communications. Example: reports.
- Check the Date/Time encoding if you want to send Date/Time values in separate fields to the SMS provider.
The content of a transaction is sent or received using a structured message format. Three different formats can be used (Table 3), based on the transport protocol used.
Table 3: Structured Message Formats
| Format|| Sample|
| ServiceGrid XML |
The ServiceGrid XML uses the ServiceGrid name space. Each field in the XML document has a unique name.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
Enter ServiceGrid-Interface and take appropriate actions.
| SMS Provider XML|
The SMS Providers may wish to use their own XML name space. When using a client-specific XML name space, the XML document has to be transformed from the ServiceGrid name space to the target name space.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
| Name-Value Pair|
The NVP syntax is an old-fashioned way to structure data. It cannot be used with SOAP or POST as a transport protocol.
Calls.CHDTel=+43 1 555 123 45 67
Enter ServiceGrid-Interface and take appropriate action.
- Check the content type of the messages you send to the SMS provider.
Discuss with your SMS provider that which fields he wants to receive to be able to form a valid SMS and to be able to account all SMS correctly. Think about that possibly your partner wants to pay the received SMS directly.
Discuss with your SMS provider that how the message should be structured if you want to send the same text to several recipients.
The following fields of ServiceGrid can contain telephone numbers.
| Internal/Outbound Field Name|
Error Notification of the SMS Provider
If your SMS Provider is not able to process your data and/or send the required SMS because of any reason, we recommend you to discuss and install a method of alarming so that you will be informed in time about this issue.
Additionally, you will need a point of contact at your SMS provider, in case you have questions or complaints with your SMS Provider.
- Discuss how the SMS Provider informs you about problems.
- Ask for a name, telephone number and e-mail address of a contact person in case you have questions.
Representation of the Telephone Numbers
There are many conventions on how to write a telephone number.
- 00 (2 Zeros) or a “+” in front of the international code.
- Blanks between groups of digits
- “/” or other characters to show that a trailing digit group is an extension number.
The normal international standard for telephone numbers is +12 345 678 90.
This means that there are no other characters within the telephone number except for a (possibly leading) “+” used for the international code, and blanks in between.
- Check the formatting of the recipients number with your SMS provider.
- Take care that all telephone numbers you store in ServiceGrid conform to this standard.
Monitoring and Contact Data
After implementing the connection between ServiceGrid and your SMS Provider, it is possible to install monitoring for HTTPS protocol solutions.
After receiving all the needed data, we can install the monitoring for your new bridge and inform you once we have finished this task.
- Get in contact with the ServiceGrid Service and Education Department (SED).
- Provide a proper documentation about the bridge.
- Provide contact information about yourself if there might be any issues to be discussed with you.
- Provide contact information about your SMS Provider if there might be any issues to be discussed about the bridge.
This is an example of how an SMS message might look like when sent to a provider. Your experience will vary based on the specification of your provider.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?> <CALL> <Calls.CHDTel>+43 1 555 123 45 67</Calls.CHDTel> <Calls.Remarks>12345678: A Call with this SDCallID was updated - Enter ServiceGrid-Interface and take appropriate actions </Calls.Remarks> </CALL>
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