Introducing Telerivet Voice

In the past 5 years, thousands of organizations across more than 150 countries have relied on Telerivet to send and receive text messages. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Telerivet Voice, which organizations can use to automate voice calls with their customers, employees, and community.

Telerivet makes it easier than ever to build your own interactive voice response (IVR) menus and call flows, run voice polling campaigns, send automated voice broadcasts, and send voice calls using a virtual caller ID. You can do it all from your browser, with no programming required. In minutes, you can get a local virtual number in over 60 countries, and send and receive calls worldwide.

Businesses and non-profits can use Telerivet Voice for a wide variety of use cases, including customer support, data collection, market research, alerting, phone-banking, audience engagement, and more.

See it in action:

Whirlwind Consulting, a boutique political consultancy specializing in statewide initiative and candidate political campaigns, has been using Telerivet Voice to make outbound calls. “Telerivet allows our consultants to reach any of our clients, employees and even voters from one platform,” says Whirlwind founder Jordan DeCoster. “Its combination of light-weight interface and multi-channel options keeps each contact in one place, regardless of the method of communication (text and voice).”

For more advanced use cases, Telerivet Voice is developer-friendly. In Kenya, the Uliza project has been piloting an innovative IVR system that allows Kenyans to call in to a local virtual number and record a question in Swahili. A distributed, crowd-sourced team records an answer to the user’s question, and the system calls the user back with the answer. “We have been able to build a complex voice-data processing tool with the help of Telerivet’s voice features,” says Grant Bridgman, founder of Uliza. “We are particularly excited about the new JavaScript interface, which allows us to add greater flexibility to how our services interact with our clients.”

Get started in minutes

Telerivet Voice is integrated seamlessly into the same Telerivet web dashboard that users all over the world have relied on over the past 5 years.

To try it out, log in to your Telerivet dashboard (if you don’t have one yet, create a free account).

The Services page is where you can configure custom IVR call flows, automated voice polls, or simply set up call forwarding or voicemail. On the Services page, add a new service and click the Voice tab, then click the type of service you want to set up:

To see the full power of Telerivet Voice, create a Custom Call Flow. Click one of the examples on the top-right to explore how to create your IVR system using Telerivet’s drag-and-drop interface:

To see the different types of actions that you can use to create a call flow, click “Add action”. Call flows can play text-to-speech or recorded audio, prompt for a key press or multiple digits, forward the call, record audio from the caller, and much more.

To make outbound voice calls, go to the Messages or Contacts page and click the “Call” dropdown.

You can test Telerivet Voice in your browser even if you don’t have a voice-enabled virtual number, but in order to send and receive actual voice calls you’ll need to set up a virtual number on the Phones page.

(If you’ve been using Telerivet Android app as the SMS gateway, note that the Android app does not support Telerivet Voice due to technical limitations. You would need to add a voice-enabled virtual number in order to use the voice functionality.)

To learn more about how you can use Telerivet voice, visit For more details on how to use all the new features, visit the User Guide.

We are excited to hear your feedback, and discuss how Telerivet Voice might help your organization. Get in touch by emailing us at .

Solving public health crises with mobile technology

The most widespread Ebola virus epidemic in history began in 2013 and continued for over two years, infecting tens of thousands of people and causing social and economic devastation on a frightening scale.  The outbreak was largely focused in three West African countries, and it was only through the herculean efforts of thousands of community leaders, educators, doctors, nurses, and public health workers that a much wider outbreak was avoided.


Simplified Ebola virus Africa epidemic situation map (December 2013 – January 2016) 

Tackling such a public health crisis requires a tremendous level of field coordination and information sharing in challenging environments, and eHealth Africa has been a technology leader in meeting these challenges during the Ebola outbreak.  eHealth Africa is a US-African NGO focused on developing and implementing technology solutions that connect and deliver public health services and commodities to underserved communities across the African continent.

We are proud that Telerivet plays a part in eHealth Africa’s technology solutions to such important problems.  “During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we needed to rapidly develop solutions to logistical challenges that had never previously been encountered,” says Didi Hoffmann, CTO of eHealth Africa.  “Telerivet allowed us to do this with a minimum of code, in a manner that was both reliable and scalable."

Directing Local Dispatch Teams via SMS

At the height of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, eHealth Africa rolled out call centers in three of the affected countries, which all ran on a web-based application that allowed operators to log and respond to reports of new cases. These operators would then pass on necessary information to local dispatch teams, who would quarantine and treat these cases.


In the affected countries where local dispatch teams often did not have internet access, SMS was the only viable medium for passing this information. In order to enable their application to send and receive SMS messages, eHealth Africa turned to Telerivet.

"Telerivet enabled us to rapidly prototype SMS based solutions and scale with the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa." – Didi Hoffmann, CTO of eHealth Africa

Telerivet's REST API and Webhook API provided an easy way for eHealth Africa's Node.js application to send and receive SMS. According to eHealth Africa's CTO, Didi Hoffmann, "Telerivet's simple REST API and client wrappers made it the obvious choice as a messaging platform."

In Sierra Leone and Guinea, where eHealth Africa acquired three SMS shortcodes from local mobile network operators, Telerivet integrated directly with the mobile networks' systems. In addition, Telerivet's Android app enabled eHealth Africa to send and receive SMS messages throughout West Africa without needing a mobile network integration.

Notifying Relatives of a Patient's Location via SMS

Rapid quarantining of infected individuals, a major part of the fight against Ebola, was done in Emergency Treatment Units (ETUs). But it soon became apparent that there was a lack of trust: once a patient had entered an ETU, there was no way of informing relatives of their status or whereabouts. As a result, patients would refuse to enter the ETUs, a factor that contributed to the ongoing spread of the disease.

To counter this, eHealth Africa developed Trace and Go, an open source application that notifies relatives and loved ones of the status and location of patients via SMS, using the Telerivet REST API to send messages.

"Once again we used Telerivet as a messaging platform; once again it helped us to save lives."


See how other healthcare organizations are using Telerivet to improve communication and public health, or check out Telerivet for yourself at

Airtime as a public health incentive

Last year the Telerivet mobile messaging platform launched a new feature, airtime transfer, and in the last year we have seen some inspiring, innovative uses.

On over 450 mobile networks in more than 120 countries worldwide, Telerivet users can transfer airtime to help power their business operations, messaging services, community outreach, and marketing campaigns. 

New Incentives

In Nigeria, the nonprofit New Incentives is working alongside state governments and partners to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and neonatal mortality. Through their conditional cash transfer program, New Incentives incentivizes pregnant women to access lifesaving health services that often have low adoption rates – including registering for antenatal care and delivering in hospitals.  The intervention saves lives by reducing neonatal mortality and the rate of HIV-positive newborns.

New Incentives’ program has positively increased the demand for lifesaving health services in Nigeria. In the state of Akwa Ibom, facility deliveries at participating clinics have nearly doubled from 30% to 55% following program adoption. In addition to improving health behaviors, cash transfers also provide pregnant women and their families with invaluable financial resources during this vulnerable time.


New Incentives uses Telerivet to disseminate airtime as an incentive for women in their programs. Airtime transfers have become an increasingly powerful tool for incentivizing survey responses and for promoting behavior change communication.

Since New Incentives' beneficiaries are already buying airtime in order to make calls, send SMS, and access the internet on their mobile phone, sending airtime reduces beneficiaries' communication expenses, and is a practical alternative to sending cash.

By using Telerivet, New Incentives is able to reliably reach their most remote beneficiaries. “Network reliability is an issue in Nigeria, therefore we count on Telerivet for the messages to arrive for hard-to-reach cases,” says New Incentives Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Stadler. “Telerivet also saves us hours each week compared to our previous method of disseminating airtime."

Read more about New Incentives and Telerivet here

Sending Airtime for your organization:

Each of the 450+ mobile networks supported by Telerivet sells different airtime values to Telerivet at different price markups. For some mobile networks, the airtime topups are priced at or below “face value” on Telerivet, while other mobile networks sell airtime at a markup. This month, Telerivet added thousands of new topup values, including small values that can be used to send incentives or rewards. In addition, the latest pricing update significantly reduced the average markup above face value, making Telerivet's airtime transfer feature even more affordable for organizations around the world.

This month, Telerivet added thousands of new topup values. To check the availability and pricing for the mobile networks in your country, visit the airtime pricing page.

In addition to Telerivet’s “built-in” support for these mobile networks, Telerivet can also integrate other airtime transfer APIs into your Telerivet account upon request (such as Africa’s Talking in Kenya or Selcom Wireless in Tanzania), for an additional monthly fee (learn more).

To learn more and start sending airtime today, visit the User Guide.

Try it out and email us at if you have any questions or feedback!

Nexmo and Telerivet announce strategic partnership

Nexmo_logoTelerivet is thrilled to announce our new strategic partnership with Nexmo.

Nexmo is an industry-leading cloud communications company that provides APIs for sending and receiving SMS text messages worldwide.

The new partnership offers a deeper integration between Telerivet and Nexmo's global SMS services, making it even easier for businesses and organizations to get mobile messaging solutions up and running with Telerivet.

In over 35 countries where Nexmo offers SMS-capable virtual numbers (see complete list), Telerivet now provides Nexmo as the preferred method of sending and receiving SMS via the Telerivet platform. By using Nexmo virtual numbers with Telerivet, businesses and organizations can get excellent SMS deliverability at affordable rates, including free incoming SMS messages.

For Telerivet customers using other methods to send and receive messages, don’t worry. You can still run your services on your preferred gateway — including Telerivet's Android gateway, your shortcode provider, or another 3rd party virtual number provider. Telerivet’s platform will continue to work the same way for you and offer all the same features as before.

If you’re an existing Telerivet user, you can start using a Nexmo virtual number with Telerivet simply by adding a new phone number in your Telerivet dashboard.

Construction-smartphone-smIn particular, for customers who currently use an Android device with Telerivet in a country with Nexmo virtual numbers, switching to a Nexmo virtual number can drastically simplify Telerivet, since it would no longer be necessary to maintain an Android device to send and receive SMS.

We’re particularly excited because Telerivet is the first such partner for Nexmo. Before Telerivet, only organizations with developers and technical expertise were able to use Nexmo’s APIs directly. Now, companies and non-profit organizations with limited developer resources can benefit from Nexmo as well.

Nexmo announced the partnership in a press release this morning. "Nexmo is very excited to be working with Telerivet. The partnership between a global messaging provider and a service-builder platform has never been so seamless for end users,” said Sassan Saedi, Nexmo’s Head of Product Marketing and Channels. “This is the first partnership in the market to leverage reliable, global SMS deliverability and optimal usability to finally make mobile messaging technology accessible to the 'long-tail' of organizations."

The “long-tail” of organizations that could benefit from from using Nexmo with Telerivet include:

  • Online merchants sending order status notifications and providing customer service
  • Clinics sending SMS reminders and health awareness campaigns to patients
  • Transport companies scheduling logistics with drivers
  • Event planners automating outreach to attendees
  • Schools coordinating classes with instructors and students
  • NGOs communicating with and collecting data from remote populations

For more information about the new partnership, see Nexmo’s press release, and

If you already have a Telerivet account, try out Nexmo by adding a new phone number in your Telerivet dashboard. If you don’t have a Telerivet account yet, register an account and then follow the instructions to configure how you send and receive SMS.

The best days of SMS are still ahead

Joshua Stern, CEO

Today, massive excitement is building around universal, open Internet connectivity. With the establishment of high-profile global projects like Facebook’s, incalculable social and economic gains seem just at the horizon. For developers, too, that means the rapid multiplication of new opportunities for the deployment of the best tools for driving innovation and connectivity all over the planet. But the Internet isn’t the only technology driving innovation and connectivity, especially when it comes to mobile.

A recent count put the number of mobile devices in the world at 7 billion—which is to say that the Age of the Internet is now also the Age of Mobile. SMS works on essentially all 7 billion of these devices, from smartphones to the ubiquitous feature phones of the developing world. Simply put, SMS texting is still the single most common use of all mobile devices anywhere—and use cases for SMS continue to multiply.

One could say that SMS works so well it has become almost invisible. Even while Internet access and smartphones continue to spread, and as Internet-based messaging apps like WhatsApp proliferate, SMS is still changing the way we communicate, travel, organize our lives, and run our businesses. It has played a quiet, crucial role in some of the most disruptive endeavors of the last few years: Twitter’s system of 140-character status updates was born out of SMS. Urban transportation startup Uber has SMS functionality baked into its smartphone applications, as do more and more popular smartphone apps ranging from food apps like Sprig to dating apps like CoffeeMeetsBagel.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 3.44.04 PM

2013 study by Forrester of 167 mobile-channel businesses found that 70% are already using SMS notifications, with another 16% planning to use SMS notifications in the next year. Similarly, 46% of businesses in the study already use two-way SMS, with another 18% planning to add two-way SMS in the next year.

Why is SMS still becoming more popular for businesses despite the continuing spread of internet access and smartphones?

As Steve French explains in a post on, many companies that joined the smartphone app frenzy in the past few years are realizing that their new mobile app isn’t getting enough usage to justify the resources needed to build and maintain it. As a result, companies are now moving resources back to SMS—which is ubiquitous, interoperable, easy to use, affordable, and immediate. SMS also results in results in better customer engagement. Text messages have the highest open rate of any digital communication medium at 97%, compared to only 20-25% for email.

In the developing world, SMS is also continuing to spur innovation—not least because it can go places the Internet can’t. SMS-capable feature phones are perfect for regions without reliable electricity or the bandwidth to support a data-hungry smartphone. Because smartphones and laptops don’t yet dominate the technology landscape in developing countries, SMS solutions have jumped further forward than they might have in countries with fully developed Internet infrastructure.

But even as smartphones and internet access spreads around the world and as new communication apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat proliferate, those apps will only ever reach a fraction of mobile users. It’s likely that no single messaging app will win the market globally. As a result, SMS will remain the most ubiquitous technology that organizations and businesses can use to communicate with anyone.

SMS will play a crucial role in connecting us, fostering economic growth and our efforts to strengthen education, human rights, and global health. In conjunction with the Internet, it will continue to structure the life and work of people around the world. The best days of SMS are still ahead.