We live in an online-based world. Gone are the days of the handwritten letter, the encyclopaedia, and the analogue channels. Now, with the ability to communicate with someone half way across the world, find answers to a million questions in a matter of seconds, and stream videos on the go, the world is literally at our fingertips.
DIY plumbing and/or engineering is, of course, something homeowners should never do unless they carry the proper qualifications. However, with access to visual tutorials, forums and social media, we can probably all admit to trying to self-diagnose a weird sound coming from the boiler, the constant drip of that leaky tap in the kitchen, or the uncooperative thermostat.
However, the answers can’t always be found online, and try as you might to explain the problem over the phone, you just end up inviting your installer to come see for themselves. The problem is, sometimes these issues aren’t an emergency, and on occasions, the fix can be as easy as a switch of a button. Granted, that’s not always the case, but on the instance it is, the installer has frankly wasted time that could be better spent. Consequently, the homeowner has to fork out to compensate for this. This is no one’s fault, but wouldn’t it nice if there was a way to keep everyone happy?
This is why when Plumbzine was extended an invitation to the launch of a brand new app, 121with, Bethan Grylls decided to find out more.
121with is an online marketplace for those providing or seeking ‘know-how’. It is also the platform where the know-how is delivered from the ‘seller’ to the ‘buyer’, via live and interactive video. This can be delivered via phone, tablet or computer and works on both Apple and android devices.
The app is aimed at anyone who has ‘know-how,’ but the founders expressed the usefulness it would have for those working in the trades industry.
The app enables tradespeople, such as plumbers and engineers, to access the problem remotely, and suggest as to whether a face-to-face visit is required, or if a quick fix can be made.
Each call is charged per minute (minimum of 50p), with the first 30 seconds of the call free of charge, so the Seeker can assess whether they have contacted the appropriate Provider. There is also a messaging service on the app, which allows Seekers to discuss the problem before they arrange the video call.
Direct and instant payments are made to the ‘Provider’ (the ‘seller’) by the ‘Seeker’ (the ‘buyer’), through Stripe, 121with’s third party payment merchant, after the live video session is finished. 121with takes a cut of 20% from each call made on its platform, and there is no limit on maximum rates.
Using relevant tag-words, Providers can choose the relevant keywords they want, so to be found by Seekers within the online marketplace. Users can essentially create a shop window of sorts, with prices and pictures available to view. This means homeowners can view relevant qualifications, and previous work can be showcased.
The app also lets Seekers know what the Provider’s online status is i.e. online or offline. Push notifications can also be enabled in order to alert Providers that their assistance is needed, meaning that Providers don’t easily miss jobs, and help is offered quickly to Seekers.
Society is rapidly becoming more digitised, opening up a whole other world of possibilities within the heating and plumbing industry. Plumbzine wonders if live video diagnosis is the next step in this chapter.
What are your thoughts? We’d love to know!