Introducing the exciting new future of Messaging

What you think is the most common interaction medium you use with your smartphones. Could you remember which applications you have used most in last 24 hours ? Probability is much higher that, you have used one or more messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger , WeChat or any other messaging app popularly used in your country. Messaging is what is mostly used by us on our smart phones and we have become so used to messaging that it’s deep rooted in our semi conscious mind now, we no more have to think or learn to message, it’s the simplest thing we do most of our time.

Numbers behind Messaging

  • 75% of internet users today use instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, etc.
Global messaging usage report
  • There are more than 2 billion people in world who use messaging apps and are quite used to it.
Number of active users in millions
  • According to Portio Research, 6.1 billion out of 7.1 billion people on earth have SMS enabled phones, hence majority of users are familiar with messaging.
World’s SMS users

Why Messaging as the common Interaction medium ?

  • As the above facts says loud, messaging is the most common way of interacting. It’s easy and people are used to messaging, extreme majority of people who owns a mobile phone knows “how to message”.
  • There are still more than 50% people not connected to Internet. Connecting to Internet is a way to access knowledge and hence improve one’s life. Making this remaining population as internet users is the most difficult part, as most of them lack basic education. How do we teach them different ways and terminologies to access every application, its very difficult. If we want them to have complete access of knowledge just like current Internet users and use advanced “making life easier” tools or participate in global discussions, we need to give them a simple and single way to access this technology power.
  • I define Interactions into 2 types: blocking and non blocking, blocking means person is forced to stay interacting until the interaction ends. While non blocking means person is free to perform other tasks simultaneously and everything runs in the background. That’s biggest reason why messaging is so popular, it doesn’t limit you. In today’s world, every person is already overloaded with tasks and with increasing applications, it will keep on increasing. Messaging makes easier for user to put all those tasks in background and enjoy real life moments.
  • It’s private, Imagine you are in group of people and everyone interacting with voice and gesture with their devices, it’s will be a chaos. Messaging is silent, means person can interact privately which he can’t with voice. Voice interaction has its own benefits but in much cases messaging seem to be better approach. In comparison to voice and gesture.
  • Need for installing every application to use every functionality. It seems we are going back to world of desktop with installed applications. There should be common way in OS like messaging to interact with all these application without even installing them.

Current players working on Messaging Assistance

  • Magic : Just send a text SMS to 83489 and get your task done. Available only in US
  • Operator: An iPhone app that connects you to experts to help find you what you want, when you want.
  • Luka : Find a place to eat & drink and make reservations in San Francisco and South Bay.
  • WeChat: WeChat adding amazing features to it’s messaging app: Smart Living, Transportation and Delivery, Employment, Online Payments and Donations, Media &Entertainment and Health.
  • First Opinion: A 24/7 Service to get consultation from your doctor via messaging.
  • Cloe: Get assistance from the expert girl.
  • Haptik: A personal assistant which helps in almost all domains: Utilities, Wellness, Shopping, Reminders, Travel, Recharge, Food, Movies, Support & Repairs.
  • ChatShopper: Complete personalised shopping on WhatsApp or text.
  • x.ai : A personal assistant for email messaging.
  • Digit:Save your money via text messaging.
  • Lookup: Get more things done with a message via Lookup. Make reservations, book appointments, find prices & availability of products/services at your local businesses with Lookup.
  • JoeHukum: A personal assistant app for IOS and Android. Also works with text messaging.
  • Path Talk: A message assistant app to do more than text: music, movies, books, maps, voice, high quality photos, and videos.
  • Wonder: Want to do research on any topic, wonder can save you lot of time.
  • Penny: Your personal Finance coach.
  • Clara : A virtual employee that schedules your meetings.
  • Awesome: A text based personal assistant.
  • Assistant.ai: A voice and message personal assistant.
  • GoButler: It is a free, messaging-based, on-demand service that operates as a digital personal assistant, using Human Assisted Artificial Intelligence (HAAI).
  • LetsClap.io: A cloud-based solution for teams to deliver customer service & commerce via instant messaging.
  • Kip : An AI chatbot that shops for you and your team.

If you know about any messaging assistant app which is not in above list, do leave its link in comments and we can have a better list for all of us.

How messaging apps can bring change in every domain

Lets check out few domains:

Search

People spend lot of time in searching for specific content and yet many times they don’t reach to proper content. There is no question that , Google has made search much better and easier in last decade, still can we make it even better ?

Three ways:

  • Human Expert Assistant: A person who can help you assist in your search or do complete searching on your behalf. A person having a greater knowledge of a specific domain tends to find better results in that domain.
  • Automatic Bot Assistant: A automated machine running few algorithms to understand person’s likes & dislikes and give better results accordingly and takes decision on data present.
  • Human-Machine Assistant: A Person who can help you assist backed up by algorithmic machines to make better search decisions. If we need to scale up this assistance , our machines should be powered up by artificial Intelligence, which can learn from human decisions and day by day becomes better with algorithmic and data driven decisions. Which part to automate and what role real human assistant will play, that would really differ according to service and implementation.

From all 3 ways, at this point of time, messaging seems to the best way to give assistance to users using Human Expert Assistance and Human-machine Assistance. Assistance using messaging makes user’s feel close to what they are good at, interacting with other users.

Search as messaging assistance

Booking

We can make booking user interface dynamic, which means delivering adaptive and only essential user interface to perform multiple tasks involved in booking tickets.

Booking as messaging assistance (1)
Booking as messaging assistance (2)

UI is non-blocking, user can leave it at any point and perform rest of task at any other point of time, it doesn’t block user for any operation.

Shopping

Shopping domain is the one, which will get a major benefit from messaging assistance. It’s a activity which needs continues personalization for the user. With lot of products to explore online and offline, there has to be way to find the best and relevant products. How many persons want to spend hours searching for the right product ?

With help of artificial intelligence and human expertise in messaging assistance, users can have their personal shopping assistants who can help in finding a right product across different channels to even buying and delivering product to your home. At this time, we need to have human finally taking decisions based on assistance from AI machines.

Shopping as messaging assistance

Education

Messaging gives us a perfect collaboration medium and the education combined with this collaboration can give us a simple and virtual classroom environment. Education on messaging concept allows anyone to be teacher and any person to be student at different times. Creating a virtual classroom over messaging can educate students from remote areas(where teachers can’t reach because of physical or economic conditions) to study together with students across the world and from the best teachers. Messaging is a simple and focused concept and it doesn’t take much effort to learn messaging by anyone, so why not to make education available on this medium, so it’s easily accessible by any person across the world.

Education as messaging assistance

Healthcare

Most diseases occur because we don’t care about checking them and consulting to doctors may be because of time. What if doctors are available to you all the time so so you can tell them your problems , send them your reports and ask for advice or medical prescription. When we visit to a doctor, its mostly a single interaction process, doctor doesn’t know how you are feeling or if the medicine is working until you go for next visit, sometimes this delay cause more health problems. What about preventive healthcare, its not a once a month interaction with nutritionist, you need regular interactions to tell about your state of health and get and manage good advice. It’s like doctors,dietitian and nutritionists being a part of our daily life, we keep interacting them about issues we face , so every disease can be cured as soon a possible. we can save lot of lives with this mechanism , because majority of life taking diseases can be cured successfully in early stages only if detected, its possible only if we share every small problem with our doctor and get a advice. With use of real interaction concept with doctors, we can come out of doctor’s image as a person who you need to go to when you are very ill and form a image of doctor as a friend who helps us to live better and fight with diseases with right food and medicines. Also we can provide good medical consultation to people who can’t afford it in remote areas.

Healthcare as messaging assistance

There are other domains which can use messaging to interact with users in real time. These domains could be :

  • Banking & Finance
  • Smart Living
  • Governance
  • Media
  • Manufacturing
  • Advertising
  • Agriculture
  • Gaming & VR
  • Hiring
  • Transportation
  • Employment
  • Social Networking

I leave examples of remaining domains for next posts or on you, the reader of this post to share your ideas on remaining domains.

Messaging UI adapts according to people, language , action they perform or the message they send. Today we have all UI’s created based on different types of devices, What messaging UI could bring is designing different UI based on people, giving them a better User Experience and delivering only essential component to user based on a particular action.

Business Opportunities — Generating Revenue from Messaging

Now we have seen what messaging can become in coming years, its important to think about good business models to fuel this technology and make it available in hands of majority. Lets check out different ways to generate revenue from these messaging apps.

  1. Subscription model : A subscription charge can be kept for providing messaging assistance.
  2. Freemium and Premium Model: In context with messaging assistance, there will be two types: free messaging assistance which can be used by any user for free and premium messaging assistance which could include advanced features of assistance.
  3. Advertising : Its has been the biggest source of revenue for Internet and Media from years. Advertisement in messaging has to be completely personalised because messaging is most personalised than any other service. Complete advertisement depends on analysis of user messages by bots and providing right and useful advertisement at the right point of time.
  4. Affiliate Marketing : Many online businesses provide affiliate commission specially ecommerce businesses. These links can be used while suggesting products and services to users.
  5. Pay per use model: An amount which can be charged for every single service provided by the service provider.

I am sure there would be hundreds of other ways to monetize messaging apps. If you have any monetizing way on your mind , let all of us know and make us more excited about upcoming messaging future.

Messaging as the integrated component of operating system

Messaging should be integral part of our operating system like Android, IOS, Windows or a complete operating operating system in itself. It will generate opportunities for many developers to create messaging apps using this messaging OS component. It would make it easier for anyone to think and launch any messaging app .

This component will do one thing more, which is the most important requirement of any automated messaging app, thats interpreting text messaging into set of defined system understandable language, which developers can use to provide automated personal messaging assistance to users. There lies a very big oppurtunity in the messaging space for both — developers and Operating system companies like Android, IOS…

Are you an existing app service provider ?

If yes, you should start integrating messaging assistance to your existing apps. Early adopters companies always have a advantage over companies who follow later. If you are planning to start a new app service, you should think about messaging and the reason you should have got by now.

If you like this post and believe in the concept of messaging, I request you to recommend or share this post and give your valuable feedback in comments. I would really love to listen from you.

One more thing, Did I told you Google also working on its own messaging assistance app ? check these posts at : TechnoBuffalo, Digital Trends , Forbes