What you need to know about using WhatsApp for your next conversational IoT or chatbot project

What you need to know about using WhatsApp for your next conversational IoT or chatbot project

With more than 1.5 billion users in 180 countries, you already know that WhatsApp is a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world. And because your customers want to connect with your business in the same way they chat with their friends and family — with fast, simple, and convenient messaging — WhatsApp Business helps you to connect with your customers quickly and easily.

As an official WhatsApp Business solution provider, every day around the world users add UIB’s UnificationEngine®-powered SmartContact® to their smartphone’s address books so they can use WhatsApp to talk to all of their connected ‘things’ and services. But how do you get started?

The answer is simple — reach out to us today at info@uib.ai.

Whether you just want to use WhatsApp for your conversational IoT or chatbot solution, or you need a complete, omnichannel solution using UIB’s 20+ social media, messaging, and chat channels, the process is easy. Share with us what it is you want to achieve and we’ll let you know how we can help.

WhatsApp for Conversational IoT and Chatbots

UIB makes human to machine communications simple. To do that, we develop conversational user interfaces (CUIs) and chatbots as well as creating and integrating conversational content into Natural Language Processing (NLP) libraries including wit.ai, Google Dialogflow, IBM Watson, and others.

We offer your business predefined content and use case templates for:

  • Telecommunications (including Customer Service);
  • Manufacturing (including Smart Homes and Connected Appliances)
  • Real Estate (including PropTech and Connected Buildings)
  • Hospitality (including Hotels)
  • Higher Education
  • Museums
  • Travel (including Airlines); and
  • Enterprise Software (including SAP, Salesforce, Workday, etc.).

We also provide you with a self-service content management system for AI (i.e., chatbot builder), that’s independent of the underlying NLP technology you decide to use. We also integrate with your existing live chat platform.

We also act as consultants and system integrators for other WhatsApp Business users who want to have their own, direct WhatsApp relationship, but need assistance in implementing the required technical infrastructure and processes from a security and compliance perspective.

WhatsApp for Conversational IoT and Chatbots

Customers often elect to use several WhatsApp accounts. They use the first account for their internal testing, including demos/sales collateral for their teams. They then use their other accounts for their live deployment(s), the number of accounts based on how many users they have.

We start every project by securing official approval from WhatsApp for your account, a process done for every new account which takes 7-10 days. Once approved, you will have your own official, branded WhatsApp Business account.

WhatsApp for Conversational IoT and Chatbots

The questions we’re asked most about using WhatsApp’s API are about opt-in, message templates, docker, official business accounts, and updates and maintenance. Here are our answers to each of those questions:

WhatsApp Opt-In

Generally, opt-in is required before a business can send WhatsApp messages to people. The active opt-in (e.g., no pre-checked boxes!) is done on a channel other than WhatsApp. Please see WhatsApp’s opt-in policy at https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/guides/opt-in.

Note the exception — when someone reaches out proactively to a business with a query, the business doesn’t need permission to reply to answer that query. This exception applies only to messages directly related to resolving that query (e.g., “How do I pay my bill?”).

WhatsApp Message Templates

To send notifications to customers, businesses use what WhatsApp calls “message templates.” WhatsApp requires pre-approval of these messages before they can be sent out, and messages can contain variables (e.g., “Your order {{1}} comes to a total of {{2}}. You can expect delivery on {{3}}.”) You can read more about WhatsApp’s message templates at http://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/message-templates.

Businesses can send any type of message (e.g., template, free-text, images, videos, files) within 24 hours of someone messaging their WhatsApp business number. The 24-hour window applies to the most recent message, so the clock restarts with each new message.

WhatsApp Docker

To ensure end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp uses Docker to deploy its Business API.

WhatsApp Official Business Accounts

UIB applies for your official WhatsApp Business account for you.

WhatsApp Updates and Maintenance

UIB cares for all required updates and maintenance.

We look forward to helping you and your business to achieve your conversational IoT and chatbot goals with WhatsApp and other social media, chat, and messaging channels. Reach out to us today at info@uib.ai!


About the Author:

Ken Herron
UIB Chief Marketing Officer Ken writes about the latest IoT and AI global news, trends, and best practices.