Howdy is an internal project, developed in Lasting’s own R&D department. We identified a need of today’s mobile market and wanted to address it by developing an intelligent call assistant. Our business analysts defined the product, our R&D engineers designed the architecture of the solution and our development team developed the app. The project was treated exactly as any other project, the R&D department being considered the client.
The main purpose of Howdy is that of offering a simple means for selecting the most efficient way for initiating conversation with any contact for a user who simultaneously uses multiple communication channels. The optimal communication channel is proposed automatically based the user’s context, the context of his contact and their communication history.
In today’s extremely technological social context, each individual uses multiple communication mediums simultaneously: voice, messaging, social networks, etc. Each one ramifies into multiple channels creating situations where the best way to contact someone can be very confusing.
By analyzing the user’s context, the context of his contact and their shared communication history, Howdy suggests the optimal way to start a conversation. Howdy addresses the mobile user as the mobile market is the most dynamic where the adoption rate of communication apps and platforms has an amazing penetration rate. The vast majority of mobile apps and platforms on the PC are now present in the mobile world as well.
eMarketer estimates for 2014 that almost 80% of the world’s population will have a mobile phone, 38.5% (1.75 billion units) of them being smartphones. Moreover, more than 30% of the world’s population is expected to connect to the internet at least once a month on a mobile device.
For solving the identified problem, Howdy makes a thorough analysis and automatically proposes the most efficient communication hannel based on social context. In order to do this the solution is adaptable to different platforms, standards and communication equipment in existence or in development.
This characteristic is necessary as platforms (VoIP, instant messaging, and social networks) and devices (programmable smartphone, programmable VoIP phones, computer systems) for communication evolve continuously.
Second, Howdy needs to adapt to different classification patterns and be expanded with different classification parameters for identifying the optimal communication channel both quality and cost wise. This characteristic means that the channel selection mechanism can learn and adapt as it is used.
Of all the interconnection possibilities between the user and his contact, Howdy proposes the most efficient interaction means based exactly on the context of both in the given moment. Finally, but not least important, the entire platform needs to be easily scalable with the increasing number of users and simultaneous access. Moreover it needs to be kept under maintenance, updated and operable with minimal costs.
Howdy provides five key functionalities for its users:
> Contact management;
> Evaluation of the quality of a communication means;
> Cost estimation for communication means;
> Proposes the most efficient means to initiate communication with a contact based on context, cost and quality.
Based on the concept of ‘context awareness’ that is at the center of its functionalities, the solution selects the most efficient (quality, speed, cost) communication means with any contact. The app is adaptable for multiple platforms, standards and equipment. During its development many functionalities have been added, like contact management, instant messaging or integration with other IM services.