The Benefits of MMS Messaging

I’ve been talking to a lot of customers recently about whether to go with SMS or MMS messaging when it comes to integrating with their Claris FileMaker business apps. I received the following notification a few days ago from a business that I was hiring a tuxedo from which served as a timely reminder about the benefits of using MMS messaging:

This type of message is much more engaging than the usual “Hi your garment is ready to be collected …” type text message that you’ve most likely received many times over.

We’ve been helping customers integrate their FileMaker solutions with SMS messaging for over 20 years now using our fmSMS solution. There are a number of benefits to using SMS messaging, including:

  • they are perfect for appointment reminders, phone messages, segmented marketing, school absence alerts
  • they can be used to reduce cancellations and no-shows for appointment based businesses
  • reduces the amount of time spent playing “telephone tag”
  • higher open rates (98% vs 20% email)
  • higher click rate (29% vs 2.5% email)
  • you can integrate 2 way messaging into your FileMaker app: send and receive SMS messages all from FileMaker

MMS messaging gives you all the benefits of SMS messaging and more, including:

  • you can include multimedia messages (pictures, video, audio, gifs, QR codes etc)
  • you’re not limited to 160 characters per message segment – you can have up to 5000 characters
  • you can also include message subjects which act as a headline to your message
  • higher click through rate than SMS which leads to even higher engagement
  • a picture tells a thousand words (the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text)

I’m always keen to find out from our customers how they intend to use our fmMMS solution and was talking with a customer recently and they explained that they work with a chain of stores in outback Queensland, Australia and farmers and graziers are wanting to take a photo of a piece of clothing (hat, trousers etc) and send that to the store with a message (e.g. needing to get a replacement for some trousers). Using fmMMS they can receive these directly from their customers and have them linked to their account and also send backup mockups of embroidery for approval.

MessageMedia have a useful best practice MMS messaging guide which includes 10 common templates you can use for inspiration to creating your own MMS templates. They recommend using MMS for:

  • Brand-led messaging that draws customers in with visuals of products, locations or events (think Instagram)
  • Sending QR codes, tickets, check-ins or maps to customers
  • You just want more variety and dynamic options

If you would like to discuss integrating SMS or MMS messaging with your FileMaker business app please get in touch for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements. Free trial versions of fmSMS and fmMMS are also available from our website.

fmMMS Chat View Now Available

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) Messages using the Claris FileMaker Platform, now supports the Chat View feature originally introduced with fmSMS back in 2015.

The Chat View interface in fmMMS allows you to view all outgoing and incoming messages for an individual contact, including Message Subject, Body and Media, using a FileMaker Web Viewer. This is a much more graphical interface and easier to understand view than using traditional FileMaker portals.

We recently updated the design of the Chat View in fmSMS and have also used this more modern style, similar to the current iOS Messages app, in fmMMS. You can also send a new message to the contact you are viewing with a single media attachment without having to leave the Chat View screen using the fields at the bottom to enter your message/media attachment.

There were a number of challenges with developing the Chat View that would work with various versions of FileMaker Pro from v16 to v19 on both Mac and Windows, as well as work for local files and hosted files. We experiemented with using “data:text/html” urls, using Base64 to encode/decode the media attachments as well as exporting content to display in the Web Viewer.

In FileMaker Pro 19.3.1 Claris changed Web Viewers to use the Microsoft Edge (Chromium) engine instead of the Internet Explorer engine, which also presented a number of challenges. There is a security restriction in Edge that prevents web pages from accessing the file system to show local files when using “data:text/html” urls. The solution that we have used for the first release of the Chat View feature involves exporting a .html file to the FileMaker temp folder, along with any media attachments in container fields, and displaying this in the Web Viewer.

For this first release of the Chat View we are supporting Mac, Windows and iOS users. We’re currently working on an update for FileMaker Pro v19 users that will use the Execute FileMaker Data API script step to generate the html content and hopefully bypass the need to export the media attachments from the container fields. We are also working on support for FileMaker WebDirect users. We are also looking into ways that we can have the Chat View update dynamically without having to use OnTimer Scripts that are constantly running in the background attached to a FileMaker window. We’re also looking into WebSockets to see if we can have that push updates to the web viewer.

Presentation to Atlanta FileMaker FileMaker Developers Group Recording Now Available

I recently did a presentation to the Atlanta FileMaker FileMaker Developers Group for their October 2021 meeting. The topic of my presentation was integrating the FileMaker Platform with the DocuSign eSignature platform using our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution.

The recording is now available and you can watch it below or directly on YouTube.

fmESignature Link allows you to automate the management of electronic document signing: you can generate and send agreements to be signed electronically using your familiar FileMaker interface and download the completed agreements back into FileMaker.

I also did a brief demonstration of how you can send and receive MMS messages using the FileMaker Platform and our fmMMS solution.

fmMMS Now Supports RingCentral MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the RingCentral MMS Gateway based in the USA. You can send and receive MMS messages internationally with fmMMS and RingCentral.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the RingCentral MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with RingCentral. More information on using the RingCentral Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmSMS Chat View Update

In a recent update to fmSMS we updated the appearance of the Chat View Web Viewer to a more current iOS iMessage style as it was starting to look a bit dated. We first introduced the Chat View back in July 2015 to show you the sent and received messages for an individual Contact in a much more graphical interface compared to a traditional FileMaker view using portals.

We’ve updated from the original look here:

to the following which represents a more modern style similar to the current iOS Messages app:

We find this a big improvement when viewing a conversation with a single Contact – you can see all the outgoing and incoming messages in a thread as they are sorted by timestamp and quickly send a new message to the Contact from this window. By comparison the traditional view of the SMS History for a Contact with 2 portals for the sent and received messages looks like this:

The fmSMS Chat View works in a similar way to the recently released JavaScript add-ons and with new features in the FileMaker 19 Platform such as the JavaScript integration with web viewers and the Execute FileMaker Data API script step we’re looking into ways that we can have the Chat View update dynamically without having to use OnTimer Scripts that are constantly running in the background attached to a FileMaker window. We’re also looking into WebSockets to see if we can have that push updates to the web viewer.

We are also bringing the Chat View to fmMMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) Messages using the Claris FileMaker Platform. The fmMMS Chat View has a few more challenges as we need to incorporate the display of any images that were sent or received using fmMMS, as well as any text (body and subject). We plan to include this in the next update to fmMMS which will be a free update for all existing customers.

fmMMS Now Supports MessageBird MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the MessageBird MMS Gateway based in the USA. You can send and receive MMS messages in the United States and Canada with fmMMS and MessageBird.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the MessageBird MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with MessageBird. More information on using the MessageBird Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmMMS Now Supports Cellcast MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the Cellcast MMS Gateway based in Australia. With fmMMS and Cellcast you can send MMS messages to Australian numbers.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the Cellcast MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with Cellcast. More information on using the Cellcast Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmMMS Now Supports CDYNE MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the CDYNE MMS Gateway based in the USA. You can send and receive MMS messages in the United States and Canada with fmMMS and CDYNE.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the CDYNE MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with CDYNE. More information on using the CDYNE Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmMMS Now Supports Plivo MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the Plivo MMS Gateway based in the USA. You can send and receive MMS messages in the United States and Canada with fmMMS and Plivo.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the Plivo MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with Plivo. More information on using the Plivo Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmMMS Now Supports SMS Global MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the SMS Global MMS Gateway based in Australia.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the SMS Global MMS Gateway from here. You can also sign up for a trial account with SMS Global and receive 25 free test credits. More information on using the SMS Global Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.