In conversation with Sujai G Pillai, creator of HumThum app.What is HumThum all about?
HumThum is a platform that connects entire India through pin-coded websites (for example www.110011.ht.im). We have news, events, classifieds, and forums for each pincode. All of this can be accessed through both mobile phones and PCs. All the pin-coded websites are connected under districts and states respectively.
Our platform helps users to know what is happening in their immediate surroundings and also allows for micro C2C transactions. HumThum also helps users to design, host, upload, edit, and share websites from mobile. It also supports micro-entrepreneurs to do business on move. “HumThum resources” has multiple utilities like mobile scanner, barcode reader, audio dictionary, comparing price qoutes, astrology etc.
Tell us in detail about the features of HumThum. Which feature are you most excited about?
HumThum app can be broadly classified into four categories:
My Members: helps you to create your own mobile friends network and share audio, video or text content between the groups - a mobile social networking platform.
My Resource: has some useful tools like
Pdf scanner - which converts any document to PDF and can be emailed to any id
Barcode Scanner : HumThum Barcode scanner allows to read 1D code of books (ISBN) and get complete details of book, it can also read any QR codes.
Astrology: Gives daily updates of horoscope
Stock updates: It provides stock updates of any listed company with charts and graphs
Learn English : Dictionary with pronunciation, Daily words, Abbreviations.
My Area: This is all about Location Based Services, based on your Local Area(pincode).
Each Pincode area is managed by a dedicated Area Partner or franchisee owner who is responsible for managing that area. Using HumThum app, you can read or update local news or list anything for sale/rent or participate in local forum for the development of your area .
My Website: Using HumThum, you can design, host, upload, edit a website from your mobile phone without touching the computer. It provides 3 different format websites suitable for mobile screen, PC screen and Tablet PC. Humthum provides two types of websites business and personal. Business website owners have additional facility for providing advertisement in any selected pincodes or districts and is charged only on impressions.
For example, I personally created www.sujai.in using this app. I use it often and my friends keep track of my activities through this website. The best liked feature of HumThum is the PDF Scanner .
Are there any other similar apps in the market? What are your differentiators?Exact similar apps are not available as of now, this may the first app ever that connects 20,000 pincode websites and 628 district websites in India. We are the first mobile app that links user-generated neighborhood news, classifieds and forums on pincode basis, moderated by a local area partner for each pincode.
How much time did it take to build the app? When and where did you come up with the first prototype? How did the idea come about?
We didn't start building it as an app. I was thinking of putting a CD guide with complete information on different areas, especially for pilgrimages of Sabiri Mala, Thirupathi etc. Later it was modified as AreaPartner.com wherein we created a separate website for each pincode in India. We took around 1 year to complete the app. We are now working on next version.
Where did you source the pincode data from?
We obtained the information from Postal Training Center in Mysore.
Which platform was the app first launched on?
We first build HumThum on J2MEE.
Why did you launch on Symbian & Blackberry to begin with? Are you looking at other platforms to launch?
I personally use a Nokia and a Blackberry and hence started with them. We are developing Android, MeeGo and IOS. Android will launch soon.
Tell us about the number of downloads so far?
As of today we have 63,000 plus downloads from Getjar. For Blackberry, we have more than 10,000 downloads and direct web downloads crosses 92,000 as of today.
How do you monetize the app as of now?Currently we are focused on making the app accessible to as many people as possible. We are also recruiting Area Partners for each pincode to start some local ad-based commercial activity on the app. Some of our partners are launching this service on a subscription mode to their users on their platform where we also get a revenue share.
Any other plans to monetize the app other than the existing way?
All business users of HumThum apps have an advertisement control panel where they can place advertisements in any particular pincode or district. For example a restaurant owner can start online/mobile campaign by 12.30 PM and stop at 2.30 PM for the 4 pincode areas. He will be charged only for impressions or views he/she received. All this process will locally be taken care of by Area Partner. Some premium services will be made available to paid subscribers only, putting HumThum on a freemium pricing model.
How do you market the app to the relevant audience?
Mainly through App stores, Operators and also some OEM shown interest in making HumThum as a built-in functionality in their phones. Pincode wise AreaPartners will make sure that humthum is reaching every house in their area. Forums/ discussion boards will have a viral marketing effect.
What challenges do you face as an entrepreneur in mobile app space?
The biggest problem in mobile app space is that each manufacturer has own standards for each version. Testing in each phone / SDK is a tedious process.
Tell us about the kind of feedback that you received from users so far. Any interesting instances that you would like to share with our readers?
In my own case, when my father was referred to Medical College hospital Trivandrum from a local hospital in Kottarakara (72 KM away ), I used the HumThum Pdf scanner and sent the prescription to the other doctor in 2 minutes. It really saved lot of time. Immediately the doctor asked for Humthum and activated GPRS just for his usage. He referred many of his friends to us.
Anything interesting that you would like to share with our readers?
Humthum is accepted for Limca book of Records 2011. HumThum has recently won the “Best Mobile App” award in the All India Mobile conference in New Delhi on August 20, 2011.
Do visit http://humthum.com/ for further details