Three students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ) participated in the design of a web-based app, FixNation, to help “fixers” offer their services to a wider market, Chantelle D’mello reports in Doha News (July 23, 2015).
Speaking to Doha News, 20-year-old CMUQ student Sampriti Jain explained that demand for troubleshooting services has been growing and that “the unique value our application offers is that it offers a highly localized solution for those seeking and those willing to provide technological help. A college student rarely has the time and the money to travel very far to provide help to someone and an older person would find it inconvenient to go to IT shops far away and would rather have people close to them help out.”
Different from freelance tech support services online like TaskRabbit where clients post job advertisements, and freelancers search through available listings and contact clients with proposals, FixNation allows workers to “list themselves online and the customers choose the worker they like and contact them. This puts the customer in charge and gives them more control to choose the worker that they receive assistance from. This would also ensure rapid response to the customer’s issues since the customers directly contact the workers and can set up an appointment instantly, whereas on all other services the customer’s request may (remain pending for a while).”
The app was created by Sampriti Jain, Muhammad Ahmed Shah and Maher Khan from CMUQ, and two other students – Karl Martin Miidu from Tallinn University of Technology and Tomas Mesaros from the University of Economics in Bratislava who teamed-up during the European Innovation Academy, a 15-day accelerated start-up competition currently taking place in France. The coding and development stage of the online application the group’s two developers some 80 to 90 hours to complete.
The prototype of the app is available for public use in Qatar where customers who sign up see a map notifying them of all available technicians in their area, like Uber. Then, “once the user picks a technician, they can contact them through the app and provide a brief description of the problem. The technician will have the job added as an upcoming task and can confirm the appointment with the customer” Doha News explains.
The 5 members groups hopes now to fine-tune and further develop the project prior to a final pitch round in France. According to Doha News, they would like in fine to “create dedicated iOS and Android mobile-based versions of the app, and integrate a PayPal payment system wherein clients can pay technicians directly via credit card”.