News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

GoReception is using Oi’s API to keep an office’s visitors safe

When Adelaide tech entrepreneurs Steve Barrett and Chhai Thach first launched their nanosocial app Oi! last year, a few startup watchers – including one at this very publication – rolled their eyes.

Like its American counterpart Yo!, at its simplest Oi allowed users to send each other an ‘Oi’ sound. However, Barrett and Thach always had a big picture plan for Oi, using its API in their visitor management GoReception app (at the time called Reception for iPad).

“When the Yo! app came out to the market, we were looking for something we could use for GoReception that would notify employees that visitors have arrived to see them using a smartphone app, which is really simple to use and lightweight,” Barrett said.

“We saw that Yo! had a real purpose in terms of a business case usage, as opposed to just some silly app that says Yo! to people. So we built the Oi! app around the same context, basically messaging through sending an audible tone and emoji to a person.”

The pair recently relaunched Reception for iPad as GoReception, a completely visitor management system that aims to complement the company receptionist rather than replace them; the system can print visitor passes, send notifications to the employees they want to see, customise language, take photos of visitors, and provide on-screen non-disclosure agreements.

However, for Barrett, the system isn’t just about visitor management, but productivity and visitor safety.

“When I pitch GoReception, I talk about visitor safety, visitor security, visitor privacy and workplace productivity – productivity meaning where can we save time for businesses and where can we save time for their employees, and obviously automating processes leans towards solving productivity solutions which, in the end of the day, saves time and saves money,” Barrett said.

When it comes to safety, the company can collect any kind of information they want from a visitor, which is then stored securely in the cloud. The app can track in real time who’s on site, who they’re there to visit and, in turn, potentially where they are in the building, which can be invaluable in the event of an emergency evacuation.

“We’re also working on a companion app which will let visitors and employees manage their own details, including adding things like next of kin or emergency help information which can be accessed by an organisation,” Barrett said.

He explained further, “If a visitor is checked in and you’re meeting with someone that has an anxiety attack, you’ll be able to look up what’s wrong with them while you’re waiting for an emergency service to arrive. You can know that they’ve got their pills on them, which means you know how to give a certain level of care to that visitor.”

The startup is actively looking for sponsorships for GoReception, hoping to sell the product to big companies that can then offer it as a freebie or bonus to their clients.

Barrett is also not too concerned about competition; he believes GoReception is “the kitchen sink of solutions” that not only improves productivity and keeps track of visitor safety, but also can help improve brand image.

He said, “The good thing about this product is it markets itself. If you can imagine for example, we’re actually in McDonald’s Belgium head office. So imagine the type of executives that go to that site meetings and see our products; they’ll want that in their office as well.”

“It’s not just about improving processes internally, it’s about improving your brand and your image. If you can be seen to be forward thinking, digitally savvy, then that makes you a much more modern business.”

GE, Rackspace, Sydney Airport, and iinet are also using GoReception, which Barrett and Thach developed and launched without taking on investment.

“This has purely been built and marketed by building our own runway, essentially. We’re a big believer in building an app as best as you can and growing through revenue,” Barrett said.

As well as GoReception, Barrett and Thach are currently working on a couple of other projects: they’re in the process of launching payment system Payhero, and are also developing MVPs for other startups through their company Furio.