July 14, 2017
BY JOE DERMODY
A Number of Irish companies and multinational corporations are likely to begin trials of an innovative app giving customers speedy access to limitless ‘micro-apps’ within one user-friendly magic button.
Operating in a relatively green field niche within digital communications, startup TAPSTAK could very rapidly become a household name if this unique service takes off.
The upside for customers is that they don’t need to download a new app or save a new web link every time they want to interact with a business or brand. Instead the single TAPSTAK button will act like a “remote control for life”, housing limitless micro-apps – without downloading.
The companies gathered on the platform will get a bespoke micro-app for a €12 monthly fee. To develop their own app could take up to six months and cost in excess of €5,000 for something relatively basic.
But this is only a tiny portion of the potential savings. Should TAPSTAK capture a global consumer audience, the companies could save fortunes promoting their own mobile vending platforms. The general industry guide is that it takes €2 in promotional costs to get someone to download your app. To get, say the instant equivalent via TAPSTAK of 100,000 hard sought downloads would represent a €200,000 saving for participant companies.
Little wonder then that a range of firms are considering participating in free pilot programme and that Enterprise Ireland has put €50,000 in competitive start funding behind these trials, buoyed by prior backing from the local Cork LEO’s and incubator supports from CIT’s Rubicon Centre.
And Little wonder also that TAPSTAK’s founders, the daughter and father team of Michelle and Tony Donovan, are so optimistic about their chances of success. Michelle studied electrical and electronic engineering at UCC. Tony works with the ESB and brings experience in IT, engineering and the regulatory environment.
More importantly, both have a strong innate sense of using new technologies to foster communications between companies and consumers. A must do element across every business sector in the world, digital communications, remains one of the fastest growing sectors. TAPSTAK has competitors, but its founders believe they have some unique advantages.
“The companies we’re talking to can see the benefits instantly,” said Michelle. “They will get access to a large audience via our platform. They also get a reduced time to market; they can get a micro-app under our button in minutes versus the six month spent developing their own app. It is also attractive to smaller companies that they get to avoid a lot of the costs of an app development, of consumer acquisition and app maintenance costs. A business can fill in our form in minutes, then be hosted on our platform and have instant access to all the consumers on the platform.”
Of course, while TAPSTAK is currently in a formative phase, everything about this service sounds like a potential tearaway success. Once the platform gains traction, the businesses will be able to use ‘TAPTAGS’ to instantly access customers in the way that Twitter hashtags allow you to zone-in on a particular conversation among millions taking place worldwide.
The idea for the TAPSTAK platform occurred to Tony while watching the Late Late Show on RTÉ. when viewers were invited to respond to a quiz by texting. Ryan Tubridy sought info on the quiz, keyword, name and answer, texted to a set code.
“He said that all of this should just be a push of a button rather than keying in all the data that people could so easily get in the wrong order,” recalls Michelle. “He realised it was just a string of data, so he developed an app, a system to micro manage that data at the push of a button.
“When we saw how much easier this would be for people, we soon saw the similarities between this quiz show example and lots of other types of interactions that businesses seek to have with consumers. There is a little bit more to TAPSTAK, but that’s where the idea grew from.”
One way that the original idea has expanded is the way that the TAPTAGs, like hashtags, can be added to anything in the real world using word of mouth, printed labels or even embedded beacons. Unlike Twitter hashtags however, TAPTAGs can also be exclusively registered by a business within a geographical area – in the same way as a web address.
Original Article – Irish Examiner By Joe Dermody on the 9th of June 2017