While WhatsApp is extremely popular among individuals, its usage in the enterprise needs a rethink. For instance, in large projects, messages exchanged in WhatsApp groups can get lost. Messages exchanges in WhatsApp groups also do cannot be grouped or tagged, which is necessary in enterprise communications.
Webaroo aims to target this space with its enterprise messaging platform, Teamchat. Unlike normal messaging platforms, Teamchat can tag messages and make them smart and structured. These messages contain data, meta-data, layout and data-handlers. These messages contain information that determines how they will display themselves, and what happens when a user interacts with them.
“Teamchat’s “smart” messaging is essential to solving enterprise communication and workflow requirements, which is not possible with plain-text messaging, as implemented by other messaging apps,” states Beerud Sheth, Founder and CEO, Teamchat. Smart handlers are key as they can thread responses ; aggregate and summarize responses or update themselves to show the latest message. Smart messages transform the flood of raw text into manageable, aggregated, self-updating streams of meaningful messages.
Teamchat offers APIs to extensively customize messaging for business requirements. There are two kinds of APIs: Bot APIs and Embed APIs. Bot APIs enable developers to build messaging bots. A messaging bot is a user on Teamchat i.e. it can read and write messages in any group that it’s a member of, just like a human user. However, a bot has programming logic embedded in it. These programs represent the functionality that the bot provides on Teamchat. For example, an Approval Bot would take care of the approval workflow i.e. sending messages for approval from an employee to the manager to HR to finance and so on. These messaging bots enable developers to automate sophisticated messaging workflows such as approval workflow, sales tracking, attendance monitoring or training.
Using messaging as the base platform, the usage of this medium can bring about some significant benefits. For example, a 5000 strong geographically distributed sales organization is using Teamchat for collecting real-time reports of daily sales, meetings held, calls made, leads converted and forecasts. Responses to a simple query from the sales head such as, “Please enter your sales figure for today” on Teamchat across this 5000 sales force can be summarized quickly and the final total can be displayed to the sales head. More data can be collected by using simple mobile-based forms, which uses messaging as the interface.
Similarly, a mobile telephony service provider which is also in the business of providing broadband and subscription TV services uses Teamchat for resolving customer complaints. Whenever the customer support of the subscription TV division receives a complaint, the details with the caller’s name, address, get forwarded automatically to the engineering team through Teamchat. The team assigns the complaint to the available engineer, who then accepts the task, shares location on visiting the site and fills in the update once the issue is resolved.
A political party uses Teamchat to quickly develop and test key messages by surveying the party workers who can vote on existing ideas or suggest new ones. With Teamchat smart-message templates, the party collects information about top voter issues organized at a very granular level: by village, city, state or region. This real-time information and analysis drives every aspect of party strategy and planning.
Explaining the different use cases of Teamchat, Beerud Seth says, “A large bank is using Teamchat to manage its sales team. They capture sales updates and meeting reports through Teamchat, automatically generating a real-time leaderboard that is sent back to the entire sales team, driving competition and recognition of performers. Another company in the BFSI sector is rolling it out to its retail organization.”
Today, enterprises use Teamchat for sales tracking, service call management, customer visit tracking, attendance tracking, HR communication, reward-and-recognition, employee surveys and financial approvals. In addition, NGOs, event managers, political parties and government agencies are using Teamchat for clutter-free communication in large groups. Some of the companies from India using Teamchat include HDFC Bank, Fitcircle, AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), Biostadt and V-Express Logistics.
Making connected devices talk in the era of IoT
But the biggest opportunity for Teamchat is in the emerging era of IoT devices. Many organizations are using Teamchat to connect IoT devices as NFC, RFID, beacons, Wi-Fi trackers, wearables and watches.
Messages that originate from IoT devices can be routed through workflow systems that present a summary report to the user, or users can initiate or approve a high-level command translated into a series of actions by an enterprise system controlling a network of IoT devices. As they are all integrated with a common messaging platform, distinct developers can independently build different components.
For example, a hotel has deployed Teamchat-integrated Wi-Fi-trackers to track Wi-Fi signal strength in each room. The tracker periodically sent signals through Teamchat; if the signal strength falls below the pre-defined threshold, a service request is triggered to the local technician, who has to accept the request and fix it within a defined time, failing which, it would trigger an escalation process.
In another case, a retailer has connected store cameras to Teamchat, enabling live footfall counting across all store locations. The cameras also enable the monitoring of paid-promotional displays, which is immensely valuable to sponsoring brands.
The same concept can be used for predictive monitoring of devices. For example, when industrial equipment on a factory floor detects minute changes in its operations, it can “chat” with the appropriate company technician and schedule preventive maintenance on the suspect component. Before the management can notice the issue, the “chat” application would have reduced the likelihood of a component failure and prevented the downtime that could have cost millions of dollars.
Beerud Sheth is extremely bullish on the opportunity in India, as he believes that messaging will become the ubiquitous platform that enables virtually every mobile activity. “We foresee some good exponential growth for Teamchat over the next 2-3 years in India, since it is the ideal tool for enterprise messaging, especially given large people-intensive organizations in India, and also because it is a platform for developers and enterprises to build their services on top of the platform.”