SMS has always shared a significant problem with emails - spam. SMSes are so frequent and often so frivolous, many of them go unnoticed. Some of them can be quite annoying, as Microsoft’s Garage team member Ashish Shah discovered.
Ashish frequently missed essential SMSes in a torrent of unnecessary spam. Despite his best efforts, he could never clear his inbox at the end of each day, and the number of unread messages kept stacking up.
The issue seemed to stem from the design of the messaging platform. The most vital messages were treated no differently than spam-led coupon codes or promotional updates. So much so that most people can never check the seemingly endless stream of messages, which means there’s a risk of missing out the important ones as well.
Ashish along with a band of young “ideapreneurs” and innovators at Microsoft Garage thought of creating a solution. Young, passionate minds got together to get their idea off the ground, overcome the challenges and turn it into something that really works.
The team observed the barrage of needless SMSes Indian mobile users faced and decided the best way to solve it was to sort messages via a smart algorithm. The result was the simple yet effective –SMS Organizer app.
The light-weight app takes up less than 4MB on the mobile device. The current version ensures user privacy as SMS classification happens offline and does not require any server-side interaction. The team has deployed advanced machine learning algorithms to pick out messages and classify them based on priority. The app sifts through the contents of each message and categorizes them based on utility and importance. It works seamlessly across all Android devices.
SMS Organizer is a simple solution to a common problem. Here are the key features of the app:
- Cleaner inbox
SMS Organizer can help you end the infinite build up of unread messages in your inbox. The smart app can help you prioritize the messages you need to read and delete the others. With a cleaner inbox, you can focus on the most important messages.
- Better security
Since the machine learning algorithm works offline, all your private messages remain secure.
- Important messages can be ‘starred’
Regardless of how long and fragmented the SMSes are, the machine learning algorithm classifies them into important and promotional categories instantaneously. Important SMSes can be ‘starred’ so that it’s easier for you to come back to them later.
- Timely reminders
The SMS Organizer does more than simply organizing the messages. It sets reminders for actions mentioned in the messages as well. Messages about phone bill payments and travel tickets, for example, can be used to set reminders so you never have to forget an important task.
- Productivity boost
If you use SMS for work, the SMS Organizer can help you boost productivity. The app blocks spam messages from sending notifications and alerts so that you aren’t interrupted by non-essential messages while working.
- Smart Cards
Smart cards are an innovative feature that allows you to go beyond the messaging platform and find what you need instantly. The sophisticated machine learning algorithm built into the app reads through the messages you receive and highlights key information. Meeting timings, ticket numbers, and seat numbers, are all highlighted instantly by the app. Smart cards provide a cleaner and more elegant structure to your messages so you can use them effectively.
SMS is perhaps, the most common communication platform in the country. However, the platform dates back to the start of the mobile revolution and hasn’t evolved much over the decades. Ashish and team came up with this ingenious solution for a Bing Hackathon. The unique innovation was awarded the Outstanding Hack Award.
At Microsoft, we believe bringing together brilliant, curious “ideapreneurs” is the key to problem-solving and implementing real change. The Garage gives employees across the company an outlet to explore, share and build on ideas – big and small. Projects start out on a small scale and those with promise move forward and grow.
The SMS Organizer App is available on Play Store.