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Intelligent messaging with your IoT device using WhatsApp

Imagine you’re hungry during transit at an airport. What if you could ask WhatsApp on your phone which restaurant has the shortest line? The security cameras watching the airport terminals know this information. Now, you can talk to the camera via WhatsApp and find information that gets you food or gets you to the restroom with the shortest line, or you could even ask a shop to hold the gift you want to buy for your kid. You can do this alone or with a group of colleagues who are coming from different terminals.

WhatsApp is one of the top messaging apps with voice, photo, location and group capabilities. But so far, the IoT devices and messaging apps used by people have been separate worlds. Unified Inbox has become one of the early WhatsApp Enterprise Partners and has integrated UIB’s intelligent IoT messaging platform using WhatsApp’s Business API. This allows users to chat with devices using WhatsApp and other channels such as voice, text and other messaging apps.

Human-computer interface with IoT messaging

Devices talk to us today by sending us notification on our phones. My phone gets a notification when my Nest Cam security camera notices a person. I cannot talk to the device, but have to open my phone, open the Nest app and click a few times to dig into what the camera saw at that timestamp. Such a human-machine interface is not natural and has lot of friction for customers to engage. Today, we can talk to voice assistants like Alexa to fetch information from the internet or activate predetermined actions. We need all our devices to become voice assistants to offer different services based on their capabilities.

Getting security devices to talk to humans using WhatsApp

UIB now brings messaging with WhatsApp to make devices communicate like voice assistants. For example, Bosch has security cameras for smart offices, warehouses and airports that have been integrated with the UnificationEngine intelligent IoT messaging platform. So now you can use WhatsApp and query security cameras like you would chat with a friend.

Source: Bosche

Michael Goh, Bosch Building Technology’s ASEAN sales director, said, “Bosch’s partnership with UIB allows our customers to easily communicate with our connected products through text and natural language. With Unified Inbox and WhatsApp, we query our intelligent cameras’ metadata for smart city and connected building use cases.”

Why would you message a security camera?

Chatting with a device using WhatsApp allows us to have a conversation with the device. This opens up creative use cases to query cameras about crowds and updates on what they see on shelves. Imagine a security camera reading car license plates to help locate your car in the garage. Adding WhatsApp messaging to Bosch security cameras using UIB changes the camera from a passive video streaming device to a conversational personality that you can query about what it sees in real time.

Business implications of chatting with security cameras

As we get a proliferation of devices all around us in offices, streets and airports, UIB’s partnership with WhatsApp allows the devices to be our eyes and ears. On the business side, this opens up new opportunities for airports, brands, real estate properties and smart cities to allow remote conversations with their customers to give them real-time information. It creates better engagement for the business with customers using IoT devices.

A conversation with an IoT device is the beginning of a connected world, where airport transit becomes as fun as walking through a mall.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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