One Thousand Hands for One Thousand Needs: Auction your problems away with a Single Tap on your Phone
Kuala Lumpur (8 September 2017) — One of the biggest assumptions many of us make on a daily basis is that everything will be fine while we tackle the more salient and immediate tasks that take up most of our time. We have this blind faith that our laptops will continue working despite the heavy processing work, our washing machines won’t break down despite the constant rattling, and our air-conditioning units can survive one more night without disintegrating. And then, the inevitable happens.
We become disappointed, distraught, and lost. Who do we call? How much will it cost? With the amount of distractions at hand, we simply can’t afford—literally, and figuratively—one more jumping at us at the most inopportune moments. It is a nightmare most city dwellers would rather not endure: the prospect of having to deal with problems we have chosen to ignore. But they exist, and they need to be addressed. So what is the solution?
To Hong Kong-based tech entrepreneur and investor Mr. Harry Cheung, it is an app, aptly called “Thousand Hands”. I remember the frustration of having my air-conditioning unit break down, then being unable to find someone to help fix it for me at a reasonable price, and I think this is a common problem many of us face. Something breaks down, and then we face the difficult decision of whether to fix it, to dispose it then get a new one, especially once we realize how incredibly expensive it is these days just to have something serviced,” comments Cheung.
It was this experience that led Cheung to come up with the idea of introducing a virtual marketplace that connects service providers and customers in the form of an app, and thus, Thousand Hands was born. Simply calling the app a virtual marketplace might be a devaluation of its true worth though, as a focal point of its conception revolves around giving back more power to consumers, specifically when it comes to appraising the value of the service required. Director of Thousand Hands (Malaysia), Mr. John Hwang, explains further, “While the app was developed to benefit both service providers and consumers, we felt it necessary to design a system that addresses a long-standing frustration many people have faced and that is the experience of being overcharged for something. People generally have an idea of how much they are willing to pay to get something fixed, and Thousand Hands provides that platform for consumers to state their price, so to speak.”
As “customers” on the app, users are able to list jobs that they have on Thousand Hands (e.g. lawn mowing, laptop fixing, plumbing, etc.) and attach the range they are willing to pay to have these jobs taken up. The jobs will then be listed and auctioned to bidders, or service providers, who can then place a bid on the job by matching the customer’s price tag. Once the customer has amassed a number of bids on the job posted, they are then able to pick and choose the service provider they would like to hire based on the cost of the service, along with ratings and reviews of the service provider. The economy is ultimately one that greatly benefits customers, as they are now able to dictate how much they are willing to pay for a service, and service providers, who also have the option of taking up jobs that they deem worthy of their time while gauging how much people are willing to spend on the services they offer. “It is an app that serves as the ultimate check-and-balance system,” comments Cheung. “Thousand Hands not only connects service providers and customers together, it also allows for people to assess the value of the services they provide against their own expectations.”
While Thousand Hands will officially launch on Friday, September 8th at the Malaysia IT Fair, the app has been made available for download on iOS and Android platforms. As it stands, there are currently 9 core categories on the app: (i) Cleaning;(ii) Landscaping and Gardening; (iii) Laundry Services; (iv) Air-Conditioning Services;(v) General Domestic Repairs (“Handyman”); (vi) Shopping Assistants; (vii) Wait and- Queue Assistants; (viii) Delivery Services; and (ix) Tech Support and IT Services.
Thousand Hands is a free app, and the only transactions that occur will be between service providers and customers. All transactions will be cashless and processed via the application itself, and ezyPlanet Limited, the company behind the app, is currently working with e-Wallet by Boost (owned by Axiata Digital) to give users a new experience in the digital world.
“Boost is excited to partner with Thousand Hands as we aim to bring secure & seamless digital payment experience to services such as theirs within the next months. Our mission is to spearhead the journey towards a cashless society in an increasingly digital world, starting with the day-to-day services that Malaysian consumers are used to paying with cash. With Boost, they can now experience the convenient, faster, secure and more rewarding way of paying across all physical and digital channels, right from their smartphones.” Chris Tiffin, CEO of Boost.
Thousand Hands will also focus to better support the needs of the e-commerce community by releasing some of their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for a more flexible method of transmitting real-time fulfilment data to improve merchant and consumer experience. It is hoped that this will further strengthen the app and allow it to grow even faster.
“With technology, we are able to connect faster and better than ever before, and the demand for apps like Thousand Hands is at its peak,” says Hwang. “We believe our product is the perfect solution to the growing, savvy online community in Malaysia, and we are thrilled to see how we can further develop Thousand Hands to encapsulate and address other concerns the community may have.”