When the OnePlus 7T becomes available in the market, it will also usher in what could be a revolution in the way people use messaging, or SMS to be precise. Gupshup, one of the world’s oldest players in the messaging space with expertise in the enterprise SMS space, is bringing its Smart SMS product to all OnePlus phones.
“The SMS app hasn’t seen innovation in over 25 years. It’s really been a chronological list of plain text messages. Even now, it essentially looks the same, maybe a little better,” explains Gupshup’s founder and CEO Beerud Sheth. The IIT Bombay alumnus who is now based in California, says with businesses adopting SMS more, the experience has become cluttered. “Yeah, it’s a complete mess. And it’s an important problem to solve.”
Gupshup’s Smart SMS embeds AI into the messaging app, which then reads every incoming enterprise message. It then classifies them into different folders as the first step. The second step is to extract key information like flight number or hotel booking to render it as a rich card.
Sheth says his team has been working on the product quietly for the last year, learning from the millions of SMSs they work on for in the enterprise space. OnePlus will be the first smartphone company to incorporate the feature, but there are conversations on with others too.
Sheth talks of a “very aggressive roadmap”, adding a lot more capability to the product, but does not want to divulge more details. But action buttons and deep linking to other apps or sites could seem like obvious next steps.
For enterprises, these smart SMSs will result in better read rates, higher customer engagement and lower service costs. Also, there is the obvious opportunity to work with enterprises sending these messages to offers a better rich card experience.
“Our API works entirely on the device and there is data centre,” he clarifies.
Sheth says they invested a lot of time and effort to build the AI, which was challenging in itself. “To train the AI model we used millions of messages to detects patterns and messengers because you can’t use templates,” he says, adding that the idea was to detect broader patterns.
The product will work on all OnePlus models and Sheth is confident that because of the small AI footprint, other Android phones too should be able to use it. Gupshup is also exploring the possibility of offering, but he says “it’s critical to be on the default messaging inbox”.