Blueprint: How it Works
A network that searches for you vs. you searching the network.
What makes WhoElse different is the integration of sophisticated backend server processes in combination with the simplest texting or voice capabilities – all able to work on the least expensive mobile phones.
WhoElse uses a proprietary, server-side recommendation engine called the Matching Engine (ME) to tabulate matches among user submissions (Queries). Both the ME itself, and the form and method of submitting the WhoElse Query, represent an unprecedented, unique, game changing way for people to communicate with each other. Right now, people can only text people they know. If you treat the people as a network, a huge marketplace emerges: everybody who has a mobile phone. And that’s just about everybody.
Our blueprint maps how the messages get sent and make a return trip to the user. In a nutshell, it takes advantage of this ability to convert the nature of an SMS message, and then do smart things with it once we get our hands on it. If you want to suffer through a slightly more technical description, here it is:
When the WhoElse user sends in a query, the ME aggregates similar queries and provides a response when there is a match. Queries are sent using SMS or voice, which is built into every mobile phone. SMS messages can only be transmitted within a network that supports SMS. So even though the protocol is the same, a given SMS message is only readable by people in the same network as the person that sent it. Typically, one mobile phone carrier will broadcast their SMS messages to other networks, so within a given country, all SMS messages are able to reach all mobile phones, but not always.
SMS messages can also leave a given network and run over HTTP, that is, over the Internet, which is much cheaper, both in cost and bandwidth. More importantly, the Internet allows amazingly wonderful things to be done with those messages, like letting them match each other. But not many people in the developing world have ready access to the HTTP transport layer. But if the SMS message, through an SMS gateway, could reach a server on the Internet that could do smart things with that message, and send it back down the pipe, people could connect with each other without needing direct access to the Web themselves.
Once the information is sent to Who Else, it can be parsed in such a way that an entire marketplace can exist on everybody’s mobile phone. They no longer need the Internet. Messages they send simply take a brief vacation from the cellular network they originate from and will return to, spending a few precious moments on our servers.