Sprint launches AI-based smart messaging system for enterprise

The messaging system is now available to all of Sprint’s 5 million business customers. (Getty Images)(NumberAI)

Sprint unveiled a smart messaging system this week that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to help businesses communicate with customers.

The Sprint Smart Messaging system enables customers to send questions to business landlines via text message. The system can provide answers for questions such as business hours or whether a product is available. Sprint said the system could also be used for more complicated tasks, such as scheduling reservations or appointments or taking food orders.

The messaging system, which is now available to all of Sprint’s 5 million business customers, is able to learn about the business and then auto-respond to customer text messages from smartphones, tablets and even desktops. Sprint said the system enables small and medium businesses to offer 24/7 customer support while saving on labor costs.

“Our business customers can run their operations more efficiently by responding to messaging requests in parallel and in real-time,” said Sasha Gorman, vice president of development for Sprint, in a news release.

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The system is powered by NumberAI, an AI startup based in Oakland, California. The company specializes in making business landlines “smart” using an AI-powered concierge and bringing what the company calls “WeChat-like conversational commerce” to market. NumberAI claims nearly 55 billion texts are sent to landline phones in the U.S. each year. NumberAI said its business concierge requires zero configuration and learns about the business by watching customer-employee interactions.

Sprint’s messaging system is another example of the growing role of AI systems in handling scheduling tasks over the phone. At Google’s I/O conference last year, the company unveiled a new AI-powered program, called Google Duplex, that the company has been working on. The new program is able to make dinner reservations and schedule appointments for customers over the phone.

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