New Irish Company, TAPSTAK is intent on transforming the way we interact with the world around us have created one smartphone App to interact with everything.
The goal is to remove friction, confusion and hesitation from real-world interactions, such as entering competitions, paying for parking, reporting faults and opening a high security locks – in fact anything that can be done by pressing a button on a smartphone – by allowing people use TAPSTAK for every interaction.
Engineering graduate, Michelle Donovan (25) and her father Tony are the main drivers behind a ground-breaking plan to allow people to interact with any show, event, service or product using a mobile app which has been compared to a ‘remote control’ for life. As a single point of interaction with many things, TAPSTAK is being positioned to unlock huge opportunities for developers and organisations of any size. It allows them build and commercialise cost-effective applications and hardware products that are currently unachievable due to the high cost of developing, promoting and maintaining a dedicated mobile app for each new application.
TAPSTAK has taken a decision to concentrate on push-button interaction because despite technology now having the ability to listen to our spoken needs and use machine-learning to predict and automatically cater for them, such technology still has its security, reliability and privacy downsides. TAPSTAK believes that nothing has yet replaced the simplicity, consistency and pure satisfaction of pressing a button to get something done.
Co-founder, Michelle Donovan, who has a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from UCC with a particular interest in Smart System Design said: “As a so-called Millennial, I have always been able to communicate my likes, needs and decisions with an online ‘click’ so I really like how TAPSTAK extends this ability into the real world. TAPSTAK allows people to interact with so many every-day experiences using simple push-button interaction that it almost makes everyday life ‘clickable’.
“The need to download another App or bookmark a website for everything I want to interact with has often frustrated me – it’s so impractical, dated and unsustainable when you think about it! The average person has over 20 apps on their smartphone but they only ever really use three or four. TAPSTAK’s smart-buttons and micro-apps can support almost any interaction using one App and can be customised to each person’s needs” she added.
According to Michelle, TAPSTAK now allows any business to engage with people in a very simple, cost- effective manner. “Developing and deploying mobile Apps can be costly and time-consuming – particularly for small and medium companies. TAPSTAK now removes the need to get an app onto every smartphone and allows them to instead concentrate on building smart systems to receive and react to information sent from TAPSTAK. TAPSTAK opens up huge new opportunities for businesses to add direct mobile interaction to their digital tool-box as well as allowing data analysis systems developers and hardware manufacturers to bring new products to market quicker and more cost effectively”.
A key part of how TAPSTAK works is the TAPTAG™. Just as Twitter hashtags allow you to zone-in on a particular conversation among millions taking place worldwide, TAPTAGs make it possible for users to access the buttons they need when they need them. Like hashtags TAPTAGs can be added to anything in the real world using word of mouth, printed labels or even embedded in beacons. Unlike Twitter hashtags however, TAPTAGs can be exclusively registered by a business within a geographical area – in the same way as a web address.
Co-founder Tony Donovan, said that early testing has proven very encouraging. “Throughout the testing phase we have had excellent results and feedback. We saw 60% increase in print media competition entries, 98% engagement with activities once a micro-app was opened and saw a potential to reduce contact centre customer response times by up to 75%. This can now be applied to almost any existing point of interaction by simply adding a TAPTAG and micro-app.
“We have had very constructive discussions with a number of national and international brands who are keen to get involved in TAPSTAK and see the benefits that such a platform will bring to their business and to businesses as a whole.”
Talking about the inspiration behind TAPSTAK, Tony said: “The idea for what has become TAPSTAK started with a text-in competition featured on the Irish Late Late Show. A question was asked with three possible answers provided and in order to enter, viewers were asked to text in a key word, followed by their answer and their name. It surprised me that despite so many advances in smartphone technology, someone hadn’t yet created a way of entering these competitions by just pressing a button on a smartphone to automatically create and send a properly formatted text.
“Using some basic coding skills, I developed a stand-alone App for entering the Late Late Show competition. Encouraged by how it made the process simpler, with an EI Innovation Voucher I approached Nimbus to develop a beta platform called Voxtake (a play on voxpop) for automating SMS based interaction with TV shows. Having soon realised that the possibilities went far beyond the initial use-case, with the help of the Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland CSF funding, we acquired a patent for a more universal communications system, changed the name to TAPSTAK and built a platform with a significantly larger scope” he said.
Today, TAPSTAK is officially launching in Ireland and plan to expand to the UK in the coming months. “We have many exciting developments underway and with the help of feed-back from our partners and end-users, we aim to quickly develop TAPSTAK into the sophisticated communications platform with endless possibilities that we envision,” said Michelle.
TAPSTAK is available for free download from Apple and Android stores and more information on the new App can be found at www.tapstak.com.