Software-as-a-service startup HeyWire is hoping to put text messaging at the forefront of enterprise communications with the launch of its first channel partner program.
HeyWire, which offers a cloud-based mobile messaging service for text-enabling business landlines, unveiled Tuesday the HeyWire Business Channel Partner Program, as the Cambridge, Mass.-based company looks to address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend in a way few vendors have before.
"We really looked at the business messaging space and found it filled with 1990s, instant messaging-type solutions," said Meredith Flynn-Ripley, co-founder and CEO of HeyWire. "But text messaging is the preferred method of communication. In a BYOD world, people are not only bringing their devices in [to the enterprise], but their preferences, as well, including how to communicate and when."
The HeyWire platform works by entering users' landline office numbers into the HeyWire Business Cloud, which activates those numbers and makes them interoperable with any mobile phone both in the U.S. and worldwide. From there, users download the HeyWire Business Messenger app for iOS, Android or Windows and then can send or receive text messaging using their business phone number.
Users with text-enabled business numbers can receive text messages on a smartphone, tablet or computer, and they can switch from device to device, even during a messaging session.
HeyWire operates its own IP infrastructure, and the platform is compatible with any existing voice system, Flynn-Ripley said. The service also includes enterprise-focused features like auto-reply, group messaging and a company directory. All messages are encrypted and can be logged and stored.
In addition to eliminating the need for separate personal and business devices, the HeyWire platform, Flynn-Ripley said, allows users to communicate with their colleagues and, more importantly, their customers through those customers' preferred method of communication -- texting.
"It fundamentally allows customers to reach you the way they want [to reach you]," Flynn-Ripley said.
Customer support or call center numbers can also be text-enabled by HeyWire, Flynn-Ripley added, allowing customers to place support or service requests via texts.
The launch of the HeyWire Partner Program comes as the use of text messaging in enterprise environments continues to soar, according to a research report from hosted VoIP player RingCentral. The report, released in December 2012, found that 79 percent of business professionals use text messaging for business communications, with one-third of them having closed a deal via text.
Details are light on how the HeyWire Business Channel Partner Program will be structured, but Flynn-Ripley said partners will have two options for selling the service: as a white-label solution or by integrating HeyWire business messaging into their own mobile apps or Web services using HeyWire APIs.
The white-label option allows solution providers to sell HeyWire iOS and Android applications under their own corporate brand. Flynn-Ripley said pricing for the service will be $10 per user, per month, which includes unlimited texting within the U.S. and Canada.
The integration option, likely to be leveraged by HeyWire technology partners, lets partners fully integrate the HeyWire service into their own software, such as a call center application.
Flynn-Ripley said more details on the program are set to come next year and that HeyWire expects the channel to be its "predominant" route to market for the HeyWire business messaging service.
"We are absolutely focused on channel partners being the majority of our business-generated revenue," Flynn-Ripley said. "That is core to our strategy and something we want to expand significantly on in 2014."
PUBLISHED DEC. 10, 2013