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Amazon Pinpoint Gets 2-Way Messaging, Expanded Notification Support

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently rolled out several improvements to its Pinpoint mobile app analytics solution, including two-way SMS texting and support for more push notification services.

First introduced at the 2016 re:Invent conference, Pinpoint enables mobile app developers to interact with their users through a variety of methods, including push notifications, e-mails and SMS texts. It also has analytics capabilities that let developers track how users are interacting with their apps.

Earlier this month, AWS added a two-way text messaging feature to Pinpoint, giving developers the ability to receive and respond to messages from their apps' users. The feature opens up new use cases and customer-interaction scenarios for mobile app developers, AWS noted in its announcement.

For instance, a pharmacy can use Pinpoint to send a message to a customer whenever their prescription is due to be refilled, asking them if they want to proceed with the refill order. The customer can respond to the message with either a "yes" or "no." Pinpoint can then process their response accordingly; if it's "yes," the app prompts the pharmacy to refill their prescription.

AWS evangelist Randall Hunt gave an overview of the new two-way messaging capability in a blog post Tuesday. "SMS is an area of continued investment for AWS so you can expect to see more advances and improvements as customers give us feedback on these new features," he wrote.

Support for ADM and Baidu Cloud Push
Pinpoint already supports Apple Push Notifications (APN) and Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) as the services by which app developers can send push notifications to their users.

This week, AWS extended its support to two other push notification services: Amazon Device Messaging (ADM) and Baidu Cloud Push, a service offered by Chinese Internet giant Baidu.

The new ADM support means Pinpoint developers can now program push notifications for Amazon devices like the Kindle Fire tablet, AWS explained in its announcement Thursday. Meanwhile, the Baidu support allows Pinpoint developers to reach millions of mobile app users in China, many of whom are using Android devices.

In addition, Pinpoint now works with the APN sandbox environment and APN .p8 authentication keys. "APNs .p8 tokens allow you to use a single authentication token across all of your apps. APNs .p8 tokens eliminate the frustration of dealing with expired certificates," AWS said. "You can use the APNs sandbox environment to test your notifications before you ship your apps."

Integration with Cognito User Pools
Pinpoint news also now works with Amazon Cognito user pools to provide richer data on app users, AWS announced on Tuesday.

Cognito is a service that helps mobile and Web developers incorporate user sign-in and sign-up functionality in their apps. User Pools is the mechanism in Cognito that lets developers create and manage their app's user directory.

The integration with Pinpoint lets developers "track User Pool sign-ups, sign-ins, failed authentications, daily active users (DAUs) and monthly active users (MAUs)," AWS said in its announcement. Developers can also sort through this data by date range, app version, device location or operating system.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.

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