Businesses that support Business Chat in Messages

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If you’re looking for a list of Apple’s Business Chat partners, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the more interesting new features found in iOS 11.3 is Business Chat, which lets you securely communicate with businesses in Messages on your iPhone or iPad. You can get information, schedule appointments, or even make purchases with a text. At launch, Business Chat has support from a handful of partners, along with Apple itself.

What exactly is Business Chat?

If you’re looking for more information on Business Chat, check out this excellent overview by Jeffery Battersby about the system and it’s advantages and potential.

How Business Chat works for businesses and consumers

Business Chat partners

To start, Business Chat has a small group of partner businesses, though that’s sure to grow as the system becomes more popular. We’ll be updating this list over time with additional partners.

  • Apple
  • Discover
  • Hilton
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Marriot International
  • Newegg
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Wells Fargo

Spot a new one?

Have you been able to use Business Chat with a business that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments.

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How Business Chat works for businesses and consumers

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Business Chat is here for Messages and it’s a great way for customers to talk directly with companies.

You may have missed it if you didn’t look at the fine print when you updated to iOS 11.3, but there was an interesting feature added to iOS. Yup, it was five lines down in the update notes:

Business Chat (Beta) – US only * Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Business Chat was released as a part of iOS 11.3 as a way to make it easier for businesses to create contact with customers, clients, and potential customers and clients. The service, which is built into the Messages app, also offers APIs for integration in custom apps as well as working with off-the-shelf CRM apps such as Nuance, LivePerson, Gensys, zendesk, In The Chat, and Salesforce Service Cloud.

Business Chat is consumer-focused, business-friendly

Business Chat is designed for customer-initiated contact, which is to say that your customers will contact you when they need assistance. Apple makes it easy for you to be discovered by clients after you go through a Business Chat registration and approval process. Once registered, your business will appear with a chat button in Siri web searches and Apple Maps links. Customers interested in initiating a chat simply tap the chat bubble and you’ll get the message directly in Messages or the customer relationship management (CRM) service you’re using. You have the ability to determine the end-user experience and can use any combination you choose of live contact and chat-bot support. you can even create chat links that are accessible from your website or Yelp page.

The beauty of Business Chat is that it integrates with Apple Pay, allows you to send product information directly to customers, and makes it easy to schedule appointments that your customers can check for conflicts in their iOS calendars. Business Chat also allows you to provide your customers with a branded end-user experience. Your chat messages display a header with your logo and contact information that is easily accessible from within the chat session. To that end, Business Chat may be able to make your business seem bigger and more responsive than it actually is. A one-person shop can feel like a huge company without having to pay for a big CRM application or hiring more employees.

Customers won’t feel pressure from businesses when they chat

From an end-user perspective, this is a pretty sweet deal. Contact is user-initiated, provides no personal information to the business, unless you choose to do so, and allows you to break contact once your conversation is complete: simply delete the message and the conversation is gone. Keep the message and the company you’re working with has the ability to view the entire context of your conversation. Additionally, because you’re communication is essentially a text message, you don’t have to wait on hold to “speak to a representative” or provide an immediate response to questions the company asks you. Reply at your leisure and the conversation picks up right where it left off.

It’s still in beta, but it totally works

Set up for businesses is simple, although you won’t get the immediate satisfaction of signing up for Business Chat and putting it to work in a matter of minutes. I went through the setup process for my business and 24 hours later, while my application has been received, I’m still waiting for my business to be approved. That’s good because, presumably, Apple is vetting me to make sure my business is legit, but I didn’t have the immediate satisfaction of setting up Business Chat and putting it to use immediately.

I did get to test Business Chat with some existing vendors, though, and found the experience to be excellent. I searched for Home Depot on my iPhone, found and tapped the chat bubble in my search results and made immediate contact. A branded Home Depot chat opened in Messages and I entered my question. The initial response I received was from a chatbot, but within less than a minute I was speaking with a live representative who responded promptly to each of my questions. The process was painless and simple, although the end result didn’t differ at all from my initial web search on the Home Depot website: Neither the live customer support person or I could locate the item I was looking for.

The future of Business Chat is in our hands

At present, I use Messages as a standard form of communication with all my customers. It’s the way existing customers get my attention and schedule appointments, so Business Chat seems like an obvious fit for the way I do business. But, my spidey senses tell me there’s a possible downside, at least for smaller businesses such as my own. Because Business Chat is one-sided communication, and because a search for your business can result in contact from customers via a simple web search, I’m concerned about the potential for trolling. I know, I know, call me paranoid, but I’ll be curious to see how many “I need your help” messages I get from people who need no help at all. Hopefully none, but to that end, just as I finished this article, I changed my registration request so that my business address, which is also my home address, doesn’t show up on Apple Maps.

What do you think about Business Chat?

Are you a business owner? Will you register for Business Chat with Messages? As a consumer, do you think you’ll take advantage of the ability to chat live with a business representative through the Messages app?

Business Chat seems like a tool with excellent business potential. I look forward to having the opportunity to put it to work.

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Waze officially launches its ad program for small businesses

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With the launch of Waze Local, Google-owned navigation app Waze is offering small businesses a way to market themselves to consumers  on the road.

Waze has allowed larger brands to buy ads for years, and it’s been beta testing Waze Local since 2016.

“It’s been a gradual strategy,” said Matt Phillips, who leads the Waze Local team. “We wanted to get it right.”

He added that the key is understanding the needs of small businesses — like the fact that most of them are more interested in driving traffic to their physical stores than their websites.

As Phillips explained it, Waze Local’s “core ad format” is the branded pin, which will appear on users’ screens as they drive near a store’s location. For some advertisers, such as coffee shops, a branded pin might persuade drivers to make a quick detour before they continue their commute. For others, the pin might not lead to an immediate action, but it still helps build awareness.

In addition, Waze Local offers advertisers the opportunity to promote their listings in Waze search results, and to run what the company calls a zero-speed takeover — a big banner ad across the top of the screen, which only appears when the driver has come to a complete stop. And advertisers can see real-time data on how their campaigns are performing.

Waze will charge for ads on a CPM basis, and Phillips said businesses running the most basic campaigns could pay as little as $ 2 per day.

If you’re worried about the app getting overrun with ads, it’s worth remembering that Waze was already offering these formats to larger advertisers. So you may just see more ads now, and more of them are likely come from local businesses. (Phillips also said Waze will never show more than three branded pins at one time.)

During the beta test, Waze Local ended up driving an average 20 percent increase in navigations to the businesses buying ads. One of the early advertisers was Kung Fu Tea, which saw more than 5,500 drivers navigating via Waze Local to 16 Kung Fu Tea locations over a three-month period.

When asked if Google might eventually connect Waze Local to its other ad products, Phillips acknowledged that Waze does share some anonymized data with Google around things like traffic, but he said, “Our focus is to build this platform for small and medium businesses … We’re happy with the roadmap as is.”

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Apple & IBM to empower businesses with mobile machine learning

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Apple IBM partnership

New mobile machine learning capabilities are coming to Apple devices, thanks to IBM Watson and Apple Core ML.

Under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has been angling for an ever-bigger piece of the enterprise pie. Last year we saw the technology giant partner with GE to bring the industrial predictive and analytics capabilities of the Predix IIoT platform to Apple’s iOS.

But for the past few years Apple has been deepening and extending its ties with IBM too. When the two companies announced their strategic partnership in 2014, Tim Cook and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty claimed that “Apple and IBM are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together.”

The agreement saw IBM transfer over 150 of their enterprise and IT apps and tools to Apple platforms natively, and IBM selling iPhones and iPads to its business clients the world over. It crucially gave Apple access to the business verticals that Microsoft has historically dominated.

Now the duo has added machine learning to the partnership, combining IBM Watson with Apple Core ML to bring new AI insights to the business apps on Apple devices.

Watson + mobile machine learning

Earlier this week we reported on IBM’s new Watson Assistant AI. The latest announcement with Apple looks to further Watson’s capabilities. The initiative will benefit a class of products numbering in the hundreds, sourced by the collaboration so far – across finance, insurance, energy, manufacturing, aviation and beyond.

In leveraging the new technology, customers can build machine learning models using IBM Watson (the companys’ cloud-based AI platform for business) and train it with their own industry-specific data. This includes the ability to create different machine learning models, compare the results, and run automated experiments – identifying patterns and gaining insights to reach decisions more quickly.

Machine learning is implemented with IBM Watson’s visual modelling tools, such as PixieDust and Brunel but there’s support for Jupyter notebooks with Python, R and Scala – plus the open-source RStudio. This is then converted to Apple’s Core ML to integrate it with Apple-compatible applications.

One such application of machine learning is enabling iPhone cameras to access Watson’s image recognition capabilities. Users can identify and classify content, before analysing it to extract detailed information. This capability could shake up workflows in the industrial, logistics, and healthcare sectors.

The machine learning algorithm will mature over time as apps feed data back to Watson in the cloud. Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager for IBM Partnerships and Alliances explained, via TechCrunch:

That’s the beauty of this combination. As you run the application, it’s real time and you don’t need to be connected to Watson, but as you classify different parts [on the device], that data gets collected and when you’re connected to Watson on a lower [bandwidth] interaction basis, you can feed it back to train your machine learning model and make it even better.

Internet of Business says

By placing these sorts of automated, intelligent applications in the hands of enterprise workers, via their iPhone or iPad, IBM and Apple are enabling a more informed and mobile workforce. This has the potential to boost efficiency levels, collaboration, and decision-making.

While these two disparate companies may seem like unlikely bedfellows, there was truth in the ‘puzzle piece’ analogy. In merging the design and UX pedigree that come’s with Apple’s decades of consumer experience, with the IT expertise and vertical user-base of IBM, there are the makings of a force to breach fortress Microsoft in the business arena.

The post Apple & IBM to empower businesses with mobile machine learning appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Clarifai rolls out an on-premise visual search tool for businesses

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 Clarifai has traditionally been known as a web-based visual search tool that developers can integrate into their services. But as more and more businesses start to get onto the service, with their own specific demands — like getting them in-house — the New York-based startup has to grow up a bit. Today, the company is starting a few early steps to do just that. After raising $ 30… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch
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Google Maps now lets businesses mark themselves as ‘Women-Led’

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In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, Google is updating its My Business dashboard to allow business owners to list themselves as “Women-Led.” Attributes are the descriptive features that pop up on a business’s card when you search for it in Maps. They include things such as “Free Wi-Fi,” “Outdoor Seating,” or “Kosher Food.” Google has augmented the list several times, such as when it added an updated list of accessibility attributes to help those who used wheelchairs. The new feature follows in the footsteps of the LGBT-friendly attribute, introduced last year just in time for Pride. A Google…

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Shogun wants to help businesses easily build a better online storefront

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 Finbarr Taylor and Nick Raushenbush had started a little side project that was making just about enough money to keep the site’s lights on while they were working on their next plans. Then, a few months later, Shogun — a tool to help small businesses build shopfronts for sites like Shopify — started making a bit more. After a few months, it went from a nice dinner to a… Read More
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Businesses tap Google’s RCS for more useful text messages

Google has supported Rich Communication Services (RCS) for a while now, hoping to bring features like group chat, high-res photo sharing and read receipts to all Android users. The company made a big push to expand RCS support on Android last year, a…
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Consumers and businesses can now connect directly through RCS messages

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Google continues to invest heavily into getting as many partners as it can to start using Rich Communication Services (RCS). RCS, the new standard that aims to replace SMS and MMS, was first championed by Google back in 2015 and is powered by Google’s Jibe RCS cloud platform — at least in Google’s embodiment of RCS. As of today, there are already 43 carriers and manufacturers that have partnered with Google to create a more dynamic and rich messaging experience.

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Consumers and businesses can now connect directly through RCS messages was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google RCS messaging to be used by businesses to make messages better

Google RCS messaging businesses

Google has been pushing Rich Communication Services for awhile now, and now it’s getting some more support behind its effort.

Google confirmed today that businesses like 1-800 Contacts,,, SnapTravel, and Subway are all collaborating to send RCS-enabled messages. These messages can include much more info than a traditional text message and be better formatted, too, easily showing you images, info like a hotel check-in time, addresses, and more.

RCS messaging is coming to more businesses in more regions in the coming months, says Google. There are currently 43 carriers and device makers working with Google on RCS.

When texting your friends, RCS has benefits like letting you see when other people are typing, delivery receipts, and an increased photo and video sharing limit of 10MB. RCS messaging has benefits for businesses, too, making it easier for you to get info on orders and reservations, buy items, and more, all without leaving your messaging app.

Google’s Android Messages app supports RCS, and so you’ll need that app installed to get this RCS experience. – Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts