The humble phone number is one of the most important identifiers in one’s life, the mode taken by most of us to contact people outside of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter etc. What is notable is that while the mobile phone number has gone places in its validity and usage, the old rickety landline (well it’s still rickety!) hasn’t advanced even a percentage since eons. Inspite of its significance, the landline businesses has seen negligible improvement since the advent of smartphones and it’s been staring at a blank wall.
But small business owners, fret not anymore since Tasso Roumeliotis’ team and NumberAI have just launched a system that will allow small business houses to connect their landline numbers digitally and thereby utilize and interact in almost the same manner that consumers expect today.
To put things into perspective, if one needs to send a text message to any landline number, instead of it getting lost in a void, the landline owner would be able to view the message just like in a mobile. This feature being available is just the tip of the iceberg. NumberAI has with itself the capability and expertise to even add additional tools on top of the message viewing functionality.
The venture has just recently announced its seed funding round wherein they successfully managed to raise a total of 1.6 million USD from investor Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Roumeliotis states that working with small businesses is just the nascent stage and NumberAI ultimately aims to redefine the possibilities of usage of a landline number. Be it a landline or a mobile number, NumberAI aims to position its product as an AI receptionist. Therefore, working with telecoms operators is critical.
The other major benefit that Roumeliotis aims to derive is, he hopes that the likes of Apple and Google will soon start displaying the phone numbers of contacts on their maps within the search results. So, for example, if someone looked up a bar in the area and saw one they liked, they could text that number to see if the bar has a certain beer in stock.
The text sent to enquire about the beer stock is just routed through like a normal text message is onto NumberAI’s platform. Once loaded onto NumberAI’s platform, robotic chatbots are setup to communicate with the consumers.
When asked about the consumer acquisition cost, Roumeliotis states that working with the number providers should help sidestep the issue. The small businesses would be able to access a list of basic features which NumberAI would provide, while on the other hand, the telcos would be able to advertise the offering of an additional set of tools to go along with the said number.
Revenue is banked on the hope that NumberAI’s customers would be deriving exceptional amount of value from its basic offerings leading to them buying the more premium products on offer.