Content may be king, but it relies heavily on accurate data for it to be useful and effective. While collecting data itself was a challenge in the past, in this digital age where there is an information overload collecting data that is specific and actionable proves to be the challenge. With smartphones and wearable devices all around us, gathering data about our daily routine behaviour is now easier. Emberify aims to take lifelogging to the next level with its app Instant.
What is it?
Instant is a quantified self and lifelogging app that automatically tracks device usage time, fitness, places and travel and puts all of the data on a dashboard. The app provides data about number of times users unlock their smartphones and how much time they spend on different apps. Users can also integrate with Google Fit to track their fitness and travel time.
To help visualise the usage pattern and trends, the app includes graphs and widgets for easier tracking. Users can set goals and get reminders as notifications according to usage time and also create geofences to track time spent at places like home and work.
Story so far
Shashwat Pradhan, a computer science engineer from College of Engineering, Pune developed a keen interest in data and contextual technologies and so worked on Instant at his startup Emberify. He had earlier co-founded two startups - Decoding and ReFocus Labs. Emberify currently has a team of five people with three developers, one each for iOS, Android and Web. Shashwat manages the user interface and experience design, sales and product management along with another marketing person.
The startup is more than a year old and it first launched Instant on the Google Playstore many months ago and then recently launched it on iOS. The company spent the last five months tweaking the iOS version of the app to make it work in an Apple-approved way with less battery consumption. As the iOS ecosystem is more restricted compared to Android, they faced some hiccups. Shashwat says, “Our app was rejected by Apple once and we had to go through a lot of APIs, figure out work-arounds to get it approved and working the way it should.”
For Android, Instant follows the freemium model with in-app purchases, while it is a paid app for iOS. The company has found a lot of support so far from the quantified self-community and was also the grand prize winner of the Google Fit Challenge. It has so far relied on word-of-mouth referrals and in the future plans to target specific markets such as USA, Canada where there is good potential for growth. Shashwat says, “We have about 75,000 downloads on Android so far of which we have about 14,000 monthly active users(MAUs) and 1,380 premium users.”
The startup is currently looking to expand its team to scale up operations. Shashwat says that they are doing well financially, but may look to raise funds in the future depending on the need. Currently, the product is mobile app only, but they are in the process of launching a web dashboard version on a subscription model to add another revenue stream.
What we liked
Instant is positioning itself as a tool to promote a balanced lifestyle. With material design and Google Fit integration, the app was easy to setup and use. I was able to track how much time I spent on my smartphone across different apps, get an overview of my fitness data and view location history.
What could be improved?
While the app is a complete product and lives upto its promise as a lifelogging tool, further gamification may be needed to appeal to mass market users. While some niche users who like to track their activity may not need incentives, some users may not find the same appeal. So including some form of rewards(through B2B tieups) for users who achieve their goals may help improve the stickiness of the app.
Another possible use case would be to position the app as a monitoring tool for parents to keep a tab on their kids or vice versa. Parents could keep tabs on their children’s usage patterns without violating their privacy. Also, kids can keep tabs on their elderly parents’ activity and location and fitness information, without having to call them constantly. This could be implemented by granting restricted access to a few people for the web dashboard and maybe a separate tab on the app as well.
Instant is a great app for people who want to track their digital lives and keep tabs on their usage. With multiple revenue streams in the pipeline, a lean but experienced team and a product that has already got a niche audience it will be interesting to see how the company scales and expands to reach more users and different geographies.
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.