With the recent buzz about ASX listed companies building “everything apps”, we thought of giving some insight into how the emerging platform economy works. If you’re thinking of building an app that does everything, you don’t need an ASX listed company, but you need a strong partner who understands technology and systems integration.
Do you want to be able to book a taxi using your social media accounts? Or else what about navigating yourself inside a shopping mall you are not familiar while using a retail app? Or what about being able to book your air tickets while using the Airbnb app?
This is what everyone is searching for in an age of multitasking and tight deadlines and schedules. Users have less spare time to switch between several apps to find the information they need. Have you ever imaged how easy life would be if multiple apps can communicate with each-other seamlessly?
This post will discuss the importance of having such a platform and the methods you could use to develop one.
Let us look at probably the best example: WeChat. WeChat is one of the most popular App in Asia, specifically in China. There are five (5) main features on WeChat which if taken separately, could be equal to five separate Apps altogether.
- The ‘WeChat Shake’ feature is similar to a social media or dating site where you could chat with a random person who also is looking for someone to chat.
- ‘Moment’ is another feature where you capture and post images of certain important events in your life. It is a mix of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Thirdly, there is the ‘WeChat Payments’ feature which allows its users to pay bills, transfer money etc.
- ‘Gaming’ is another major feature which is available for its users. It consists of 2D and 3D experiences.
- Finally, the ‘Go Dutch’ feature enables its users to calculate the math in case the restaurant bill needs to be split among several people. There is no need to use the old calculator or do it manually, WeChat will do it for you.
The above example was used to highlight the fact that it is definitely possible to integrate a variety of services into one single platform. Let us look at some hypothetical scenarios.
Imagine you have developed an App where you could search for a variety of retail shops so that you could select the shop which is closest to you and offers the best price for the shirt, dress or shoes you want to purchase. However, imagine how much more value you could offer through your platform if you could integrate the below services and functions:
- Add Friends, Post Photos and Comments – These features are similar to what is found on Facebook or Twitter but it will be limited to a smaller group of people which is a good thing since Facebook and Twitter are open to larger audiences. You would only want your closest family and friends in this group and by you posting a photo of the shirt, dress or shoes you are planning on purchasing, you could get their recommendation. You could even go to the relevant shop, fit it on and then post an image to obtain your closest friends’ feedback and comments prior to making a decision.
- GPS Navigation – If you travel to an unknown Suburb or State and want to do some shopping, how would you navigate yourself (outdoors and indoors: within a shopping center)? However, if you have GPS navigation in-built or integrated with Google, it will make your life easier. You do not have to use another app to navigate yourself to the relevant shop. You could select the shop you want to visit and use the directions it provides as well.
- Book a Taxi or Order Food – The existing platform could be integrated with Taxi companies so that you could easily book yourselves a taxi to get to the relevant shop which takes away the hassle of browsing through many websites to find a contact number of a Taxi company. Further, if you want to get some take away food on your way home, you could order it from the restaurants that are registered within the App.
There can be many more features that could be added or integrated into a simple platform thus, paving the way for a great concept. Initially, Facebook only had limited features such as uploading photos, uploading videos, ability to comment etc but over a period of time, they added features such as messenger which is now mainly used to send private messages. They also added in the ‘calling’ feature where users could call each other. Another important feature included was the ‘payment’ feature where users could transfer money within the platform itself.
The next most important question is, ‘How can we integrate and develop all these features at once and what will be the cost involved?’
For the above question, the answer depends on your time, budget and the available skills of your team.
Yes, it is possible to develop any feature in an App and integrate the services to one particular platform such as ‘WeChat’. Unless they’re an ASX listed company, or have a lot of venture funding to back them, we often consult to develop one feature at a time.
The agile methods which we use to develop our Apps enable us as the developer to add any new feature enhancements that are needed for the App. Therefore, we could initially launch the App to the market with the basic features as the first version and then any new feature could be added later on. This involves integrating with third party service providers as well. For example, if you require your app to be integrated with the API of a taxi company so that users are able to enjoy the services of the Taxi company alongside those offered by your app, we could help facilitate this.
Still thinking of building your own “everything app”, that integrates with many fast-growing services like Uber and Airbnb? Contact us for a free strategy consultation to see how we can position your idea for success.