WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service owned by Facebook. As of February 2019, WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion active users in over 180 countries.
Setting Up WhatsApp
In order to connect WhatsApp to your Space, you will need the following:
- A WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business account
- The WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business app installed on your phone
- A Chat API account (you can get started with a 3 days trial account, then $39 each month)
Connecting to Chat API
To connecting SmartChat Platform to your WhatsApp account, we will be using Chat API.
If you do not already have a Chat API account, visit their registration page and fill out the required fields. Once you have entered your desired login information, click on the green "Create Account" button.
Once you are logged onto Chat API, you will have to create a new Instance. In doing so, you will be asked to scan your WhatsApp Web code to connect your WhatsApp account to Chat API.
Connecting to WhatsApp
To add a new channel to an existing Space, navigate to Settings and select the blue "Add Channel" button under Manage Channels.
Under the Channel Connection menu, select the WhatsApp Logo and press the blue "Next" button.
Once you have done so, you should be asked for the Channel Name, Greeting Message, and information needed to connect to your WhatsApp account.
Enter a suitable name for the new channel. Note that the Channel Name is private and will only be used within the SmartChat Platform.
You may enter an optional Greeting Message. This will be shown when a new member of your audience first contacts you.
Instance ID and Token
On the Chat API platform, you will find the Instance ID and your Token near the top of the page once you have created your Instance. Copy and paste the Instance ID and Token onto their respective fields in the SmartChat Platform.
Once you have filled in the required fields, go ahead and press the blue "Done" button to create the Space. All future messages sent to your WhatsApp account will now appear on the SmartChat Platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to keep my phone ON for this integration to work?
Yes. You will need the device where WhatsApp is installed to remain connected to the internet for the integration to work, functioning similarly to WhatsApp Web. If the device is disconnected, the messages received while inaccessible won't be available on the SmartChat platform.
Can I have WhatsApp open in a web browser at the same time?
No. If you open WhatsApp on a web browser the connection with Chat API will be interrupted and you will have to go back to your Chat API account and reconnect it by scanning the code once again.
Are there any limits or charges associated with Chat API?
Chat API provides a free 3 days trial which you can use to test the integration. After that, a paid subscription will be necessary. The current price for Chat API is $39 and includes 6,000 messages per day. Note that the Chat API prices are excluded from the SmartChat subscription.
Can I used WhatsApp Web & Chat API at the same time?
No. Chat API uses the WhatsApp Web interface to pass messages between WhatsApp & SmartChat. Since you can only have one WhatsApp Web open at a time, using WhatsApp Web after connecting to Chat API will break the connection between your phone and Chat API.
Can I send videos over Chat API?
Yes, you can send and receive videos in Chat API. To ensure you are receiving videos, turn on video uploading in the Chat API dashboard.