In the current scenario consumers’ options for text-based communications are growing rapidly, and a number of low-cost and even free alternatives to SMS are experiencing increased rates of use.
Two different OTT alternatives have emerged: OS-specific communication systems such as iMessage and Blackberry Messenger, and third-party applications such as WhatsApp which are often cross-platform. Gradually, messaging is becoming a platform and is being used by individuals as well as large enterprises as an internal communication tool.
To understand how Mobile Messaging/Cloud Messaging in large enterprise becoming a communication, ChanneTimes speaks to Beerud Sheth, Co Founder and CEO of Webaroo, which offers innovative SMS, Voice and Data APIs to enable Smart Messaging and Applications such as Teamchat to enable clutter-free messaging for teams of unlimited size. Excerpts.
CT: What kind of growth in Mobile Messaging / Cloud Messaging do you see in India. What are the key drivers for this growth?
Beerud Sheth: Surprisingly, all kinds of messaging are growing. The growth in smartphones and data adoption is driving massive growth in data messaging apps. Clearly, WhatsApp is very popular in India. While WhatsApp is great for the consumer segment, the enterprise segment is still looking for messaging apps that fit their requirements. That’s why we built Teamchat, a smart messaging platform, that reduces clutter from high volume messaging feeds. It can be used to enable clutter-free messaging in large groups, or to streamline messages from IOT devices and servers.
We believe that the key driver for this growth is the fact that the highest used app is the messaging app. So, there’s a new trend of doing everything inside the messaging app, instead of having to switch across apps. In this paradigm, the messaging app itself becomes the platform. WeChat is already doing this in China – you can do e-commerce, banking, travel-booking and more through the messaging app. Facebook Messenger has also become a platform.
Teamchat is enabling these trends with its innovative ideas around “smart” messaging. Teamchat is the most flexible messaging platform that enables developers to build their own message formats, bots, workflows right inside the messaging app.
CT: What are the key factors that are influencing companies to move to Mobile Messaging / Cloud Messaging platforms?
Beerud Sheth: Businesses need to communicate with their customers. Every time you do a bank, credit-card or an e-commerce transaction, the business sends you a confirmation message. Other use-cases may require sending messages via voice, ussd or data. Instead of dealing with multiple operators and channels, GupShup makes it easy by offering developers one simple, common API. The API is hosted in the cloud, so the developer needs no hardware on their end to activate messaging. Developers can easily embed messaging into their apps or websites and instantly send messages with simple http calls. We at Teamchat pro-actively engage with developers at industry events and continue to add more features to our APIs and SDKs. For example, we’re soon releasing an html-like markup language to enable web developers to easily build interactive messaging apps.
CT: What are the advantages and disadvantages of such platforms?
Beerud Sheth: The advantages of regular messaging platforms are that they are easy to use, just like any other chat app and they work on any device. But on the other side they face extreme clutter problems due to which group sizes are limited. Sometimes you just want the aggregate, other times just the latest status update, but you have to wade through irrelevant topics and innumerable messages to find what you’re looking for. Getting manager approvals, tracking checklists, monitoring team tasks and tracking updates are needlessly challenging. But most of these messaging platforms do not customize to any business workflow and the data on them cannot be retrieved. Many of them do not even provide open APIs for integration with any existing backend systems.
With Teamchat, large teams can communicate easily without getting overwhelmed by the clutter. Teams can instantly get the collective opinion as well as track key metrics. Managers can get real-time visibility across the entire org. Field employees can feel plugged into the office communications even when remote. Leaders can instantly communicate with the whole org and hear back from them in a manageable way.
CT: How do you see the business chat app growing over consumer chat. Tell us about your app solution for the enterprise?
Beerud Sheth: Currently there is fragmented adoption. Many companies have corporate deals with Microsoft, so they get Yammer or Lync/Skype for free. Some talk about IBM Sametime / Connections. Younger companies occasionally use Slack. Most default to WhatsApp in informal groups. But plain-text messaging, as implemented by all other messaging apps, does not meet the enterprise requirements.
The Teamchat smart messaging platform is designed to solve enterprise communication and workflow requirements. While WhatsApp is great for consumers, it doesn’t work well for businesses since the group size is limited and discussions get cluttered in large groups. Teamchat has developed a clever way to solve the clutter problem, thereby supporting groups of unlimited size. Teamchat enables clutter-free messaging in groups of unlimited size with its smart messages that aggregate responses to reduce clutter and highlight important information.
CT: What kind of opportunities does Teamchat envisage in India?
Beerud Sheth: We expect very good opportunities for Teamchat as it is growing rapidly in India as well as abroad. Over 2,000 organizations worldwide are now using Teamchat. We believe that Teamchat is the ideal tool for enterprise messaging, especially given large people-intensive organizations in India. It is also the perfect platform for developers and enterprises to build their services on top of which can lead to much more adoption. Teamchat is available in app stores. It works on all mobile and web devices.