Tired of Whatsapp Group chats? Irritated by how you get bombarded via Facebook Notifications when somebody adds you to a Group Message? Well, now you need not worry anymore as Knownly is here to solve your worries. It is an Android app that enables you to send instant messages to groups of unlimited people for free of cost.
The good thing about this app is that the messages are private to group members. There is no need to add members in the group manually by the group admin. And guess what? One can also send text and images can through the app.
If the user does not have an Android device, he/she can still receive updates via SMS. For SMS updates to group members, the group admin would have to put a request to Knownly’s website. As of now, SMS can be sent for free but would be chargeable as per minimum market rates in the future.
For instance, a faculty, institute or coaching can intimate students about classes, assignments, exams, results. A student body can discuss about the latest happenings around them. A publisher can notify readers about the latest article. An organization can stay connected to its dealers, distributors, agents and field employees.
By default when a member sends a message, it goes to all members. But the best part of this app is that the group owner can disable chat among members. This feature allows group admin to send messages to all, but when a member sends a message, it comes directly to the admin only.
Also, when a customer visits shopping centre and intends to subscribe to their updates about sale, rebate, new arrival etc. but doesn’t want share his/her mobile number or email id for obvious reasons. Hence, the app helps him when these shop owners start sending their updates on Knownly.
How To use the app?
Knownly is extremely simple to use. After installing, it asks the user to enter his or her name and choose an id. If the id is available, the user gets registered immediately. The app does not require email id or Facebook, Google & Twitter login from the user.
It has SMS based activation too. Once the account is active, there are simply two actions available – create a group and join an existing group. On joining a group the user is connected to the group members and is able to send messages, receive updates in the group. Groups are identified with unique keys. As of now even single character group keys are available to create.
Users’ id and phone number is nowhere displayed to other group members. A user can also choose a dummy name for a particular group and become anonymous.
Knownly does not require permissions to read contacts, SMSs, pictures and other device data. Only internet and notification permissions are required from user’s device. Also, the size of the app is just 350 KB.
Anurag, the founder of this company got this idea while browsing through his alumni emails. “There were many very short messages and few were quite urgent requests” he said.
Then he realized that the messages should not have gone through email groups and could have been diverted to some instant messaging services like WhatsApp, hike, WeChat etc. But there was a limit on number of group members on these services. Secondly, a chat application was very noisy for a large group and users would not want to disclose their personal details. It was then he started working on Knownly android app and built the idea gradually.
Knownly has been kept free of cost. Also, it will not push ads until and unless there is need. So to generate revenue, Anurag and team have developed a web admin part to manage groups for the organizations. They will get all the necessary features to manage groups. Among these features, they will put few as premium and chargeable. Currently they are focused more on expanding their user base.
Their goal is to provide value to their broadcasters and to the end users without hampering their privacy. They are planning to add about 10-15 clients and 20k-50k users in next quarter.
However, there were certain challenges in the initial days. “Most difficult part was to add SMS feature, where user can subscribe by their basic phone and get updates when the group owner sends one” says Anurag. But now the app is working smoothly without any manual interference.
In terms of competition, there is Remind101.com. It’s a US based company, which enables school teachers to send free SMSs to students. But their business model requires huge operating costs to send unlimited free SMSs.
In a year or two, Knownly aims to become the default solution for broadcasting updates to all sorts of groups. They want to enable their group members with instant, free of cost mechanism to send, receive messages without their personal details.
It further wants its users to do away with email newletters, promotional SMSs, if they don’t want them. They want the users to choose and pick broadcasters whom they wish to get updates from.
Currently they have two clients, and are in talks with the third client. Considering the huge market size, Knownly plans to reach to every mobile device user, smartphone or otherwise.
CheckOut the app on Android store.