Turning the traditional handbook into a social experience, the service allows smartphone users to check which television shows their friends are watching, interact with them through the platform, watch some channels live on their device, and send reminders of when their favorite TV shows will be on.
“There was an opportunity to improve this experience especially with statistics showing that 50% of television viewers use their smartphones while watching TV. So we decided to reinvent the television experience by setting up the Remotak platform,” says Ahmed Fathalla, CEO of startup GyroLabs which developed the service.
Scanning channels might soon be a thing of the past, as Remotak lets users search for their favorite shows and even check out their friends’ recommendations. The platform also calculates each show’s popularity and notifies users about friends watching the same program. Users can then comment on a specific TV show and share their comments through social media. Particularly useful for local consumers, Remotak offers listings in colloquial Egyptian Arabic.
“As a startup, we focus on employing fresh graduates who make up for their lack of experience with hard work and enthusiasm. We have made a big effort to create a work environment that promotes creativity, says Ahmed.
The GyroLabs team, one of the first graduates from Egyptian incubator Flat6Labs, currently has 6 members: Ahmed, two Android OS app developers, a developer/programmer, a social media specialist, a web designer, and a project manager.
Challenges & Future Plans
While the platform is still in beta, Remotak currently supports more than 100 open and encrypted NileSat and ArabSat channels.
But the startup has not been without its challenges. “The biggest obstacle was building a cohesive team and acquiring the necessary funds to begin working on the concept,” says Ahmed. “But the team-building and funding problem didn’t last long, as Vodafone Ventures Egypt investmented in the company soon after our launch.”
Their business model is based on advertisements; content providers (television channels and show producers) can use Remotak’s platform to communicate with the public, see how users are sharing their shows, and offer promotional offers that match the viewers’ interests.
In the near future, the team hopes to add more channels to the Remotak platform and improve the user experience by adding new features to the website. Remotak also plans to launch on iOS soon.