qipp: A very communicative digital assistant that keeps track of your beloved things

qipp-logo2-webrazziSo you have decided to go green and cycle between home and work. If you are not pro about bikes and stuff, you better note down all the specs of all pieces, from the saddle to the chain or horn, in case you will have to replace it in the future. It’s very likely you will do the shopping on e-commerce sites where often the compatibility topics are persistently ignored.

What if your bike had a digital profile complete with all technical and commercial details and links, so any future transaction can be carried out with just a few clicks? This is what qipp is created for.

It’s a digital platform that connects users digitally to all the things they love or care. Whether it’s a bike, a smartphone or an heirloom from the grandparents, the user can build a digital portfolio of precious belongings with product-related information, services and links. It’s sort of a social network for your stuff as well, making it possible to share and communicate with other users and/or companies.

qipp ag is an ‘Internet of Things’-driven startup founded in late 2012 in Basel, Switzerland as a spin-off of ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Zürich. It’s developed by Stefan Zanetti, Manfred Bausch and Claudio Büttler and their young team in Basel and Freiburg. Zanetti says he had the idea several years ago at the ETH, but had to wait for the perfect time, when social networking utilities and technologies such as NFC and Bluetooth LE have been introduced so that everyday things can be connected over the internet with their owners.

Claudio, the CMO of qipp, says they wanted to make the connection process simple and enrich each of those things by useful services along the whole lifecycle – without the obligation to put some sort of technology into the things (like sensors or communication modules). That’s also why it is sometimes dubbed as a social network of things.

Users can create a digital profile with qipp in three languages (English, German and French), which can be expanded automatically for product information. Receipts and warranty certificates, pictures, comments, background stories, suitable accessories, reminders, lost and found services, insurance upgrades and sharing functionalities can be stored and used as of today. CEO Steffan Zanetti has 48 things ‘qipped’, for example; his electronic gadgets (enriched with warranty reminders and receipts), some heirlooms (with pics and descriptions to whom they belonged), his bikes and keys (with lost & found services and insurance policies). He also runs a public list of toys for children people can lend from them.

qipp-screenshot-webrazzi

Developer team is working to introduce additional info items and tools soon, such as reselling value, contacts to likeminded people and experts etc. This will let the user to communicate directly with the products or to directly connect with manufacturers, retailers, suppliers of specialty or support services.

A new CRM channel for manufacturers

On the other hand, qipp may well be a new channel for manufacturers to reach their customers, enabling a different point of interaction, directly through the product, says Claudio. This is one way of monetizing on the service, and sounds really promising. Actually, once the user base grows to a meaningful size, any link on certain product pages that forwards the visitors to relevant corporate and/or CRM sites will be instrumental for both the client and the vendor. Think of a search tool on your bike’s page, that will take you to a store where you can buy the matching tyres for your bike.

Another tool to make money is to give the user the chance to buy upgrades and additional services for the products, like a lost and found service or insurances. qipp is currently functional on the web. Claudio said they have designed it as a responsive web app because they think that’s were the future goes. They don’t have a schedule for native apps but it’s not totally ruled out, he added. Company is preparing to introduce the manufacturer variant and a first generation of smart tags for everyday products during upcoming Mobile World Congress in late February.

Here is the ‘qipp in a nutshell” video to give you a quick idea on how it works:

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