The way Franklin Tang, CEO of Habitap, sees it, smart living is modern living. And through his company’s flagship app that integrates smart home controls, community management and lifestyle services, he endeavours to make smart living more convenient for users across offices and residences in Singapore.
With new offerings like Tap Residential and Tap Commercial, Tang wants to build on the seamless user experience Habitap has achieved by harnessing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet-of-Things and strengthen residential and office communities.
Habitap’s flagship app has more than 82,000 users across 12 commercial buildings and 13 residential properties in Singapore. Why did you decide to launch Tap Residential?
We are essentially making modern luxury living available to more homes and allowing more people to plug into the future of smart living. So for Tap Residential, we extracted the most popular features from Habitap to create a “lite” version at one-fifth of the latter’s price. Tap Residential offers the same user-friendly experience, allowing the seamless pairing of Internet-of-Things and smart devices within a single app platform.
For example, you can configure cooler lighting in the study during work hours or warmer lighting for winding down at the end of the day. It also makes facilities booking and visitor management easy with real-time updates so residents and staff are always kept informed. Smart home boxes also ensure important mail is secure and easily accessible without the need for keys. Since Tap Residential offers a standardised solution, it facilitates quick retrofit projects and rapid deployment to regional markets. This year, we will launch it in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Malaysia.
You launched Tap Commercial recently. What role does it play in offices in the post-pandemic future?
With Tap Commercial, buildings can seamlessly adopt digital access for more efficient tenant and visitor management. Instead of physical cards, entry is via a Dynamic QR code or SMS, and visits may be conveniently extended through the app. So it can help ease the workload of the concierge and security personnel. Plus, the real-time data it provides is especially important to facilitate contact tracing that’s required to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Why did you set up Habitap?
In 2011, I became CEO of my family business Phillip Tang & Sons, which customises software design for clients. I shifted the focus to developing our own software as well as to launching Proof of Concepts. In 2016, while co-building a smart home prototype with a global brand, we realised that many smart home products were poorly integrated. Most required a specific app for their functions and homeowners had to struggle with multiple apps. I felt this was not going to encourage the use of smart technology in Singapore, so I decided to build an intuitive platform to make smart living more user-friendly and seamless. It was a bold move given that I had no experience in real estate or building and construction!
What changes do you think 2021 will bring in terms of living and working?
Clearly, everyone is still adjusting to the new normal, which will be here for quite some time. Amid travel restrictions and WFH, the boundaries between work and play have become blurred. As companies begin to view their workforce on the global scale, real estate requirements will alter. Co-working spaces, for one, is expected to grow exponentially due to their flexibility: in 2021, Habitap will launch a product for co-living and co-working so people can continue to plug in to their community and enjoy a sense of belonging.
Finally, strangest thing you’ve ever tried to get Alexa to do?
“Alexa, can you fart?” [laughs]