Interview: Conrad Hametner, VP Marketing on Qipit mobile scan, copy, fax
Regular readers of inbabble.com will have seen a number of interviews with fax, scan, copy mobile applications. We have chatted to ScanR, Comombo and now to round it out we chat to Conrad Hametner, VP Marketing, US from Qipit who we profiled in an Opinion post in late July. So what makes them different, how do they stand out? read on to find out…
Can you provide a brief description for our readers on the qipit applications please?
Hametner: qipit is a free mobile online copy service for camera phone or digital camera users that allows people to copy, store, fax, email or publish online “physical world” information such as documents, drawings, whiteboards, print articles, or handwritten notes to name a few. In a nutshell, qipit turns your digital camera or your camera phone into a portable scanner, copier, and fax machine. Plus it is extremely simple: if you know how to take and upload pictures, then you know how to qipit!
How do you distribute the qipit product, via online download primarily or other sources?
Hametner: Registration to qipit is easy, online at http://www.qipit.com or by just emailing or sending an image at email@example.com. qipit does not require the user to download or install any software on the camera phone or digital camera. It works with any device, right out of the box (provided the camera has a resolution of at least 1 megapixel).
qipit is provided free of charge, what is the revenue model planned for the future? Drive purchases of your other products, or larger volume plans for “pro” users?
Hametner: We have chosen to have a simple, readable, understandable model: the basic qipit service is free. We believe that if adoption and usage continue to grow fast, several revenue models will be possible to implement, depending on user variables that we have chosen not to read yet. We will disclose these when we are ready to introduce them to our users. We will introduce tailored offerings for “pro” users with more capacity but also with advanced scanning features, at a later date.
We have interviewed a few products in the past including ScanR and Comombo. How does your product compare to their products?
Hametner: First of all, let me remind at this point that we publicly introduced mobile scanning as a commercial service back in early 2005 (at the 3GSM World Congress), before any of the companies you mention existed. We have since then enjoyed seeing several competitors enter the mobile document scanning market.
We see Comombo as having a very specific approach, focusing on fax, and therefore limited to black and white 1-bit depth images, and requiring users to download a client software on their handsets. In our five years experience, this model does not support extensive growth. We might be wrong, but we understand Comombo as a tool for tech-savvy business persons. We have chosen a much broader approach, making qipit not a tool but a lifestyle service that can be used as a tool by those same people who could use Comombo, but that is also used by a much wider range of people, from kids to Moms, using it to publish, exchange or copy anything from doodles to contracts, and from drawings to love notes.
Since its introduction, ScanR has implemented a service that looks more similar to ours. It has introduced several ancillary features such as business cards scanning and OCR and, although we are not yet convinced of the real value of these features for our own target market, we are watching them with constant interest and attention. Mobile document scanning is a nascent market, and none of us knows where the “truth” of the market lies yet; so it is very important to be open and observe all initiatives in this area. To answer your question, we have focused our efforts on the qipit user experience rather than on multiple features, streamlining qipit and making it accessible to the largest number. For instance, we offer a simple and straightforward choice between colour and black & white copies, as on any copy machine. We also feature, per our users feedback, online tagging, document / page rotation, and publishing of documents.
What is the plan for qipit over the next say 18 months?
Hametner: Grow and improve towards more ease of use and better user satisfaction. But seeing is believing, especially in mobile imaging, right?