Tech Round-up: Your phone as your butler

There is an app for every kind of request, even arranging for a helicopter


Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Smartphones are changing the way we shop, handle money, book cabs, listen to music, watch TV shows, and much more. There is an app for everything. In a December paper, research firm Gartner predicted that by 2019, 20% of all user interactions with smartphones would be conducted through virtual personal assistants. Why wait? Here is how you can start, now.

Haptik

With this app you can book flight tickets and do Web check-ins, book cabs, order food, make restaurant reservations and hotel bookings, pay bills, recharge phones, and find stores and public utilities near your location. There is a lot more. Haptik is a first-of-its-kind personal assistance app that uses AI, natural language processing and machine learning techniques to answer user queries, throw up contextual suggestions, and send reminders for pending tasks. It is free to download and use on Android and iOS.

Wishup

The app offers services such as home-care assistance (interior decorators and handymen, etc.), links you with professional and legal assistance, shops and delivers groceries and medicines, and even helps you select gifts. There are specific, requirement-based subscription packages. The Family Care subscription covers delivery, everyday assistance and pet care for Rs10,499 per month, while the bespoke Grande subscription (Rs17,499 per month) also helps with extras such as arranging your own helicopter. It’s available on Android and iOS.

Lookup

This is a directory listing for pretty much every category of business establishment you can think of—chemists, travel agents, departmental stores, restaurants, handymen, clinics, spas, hospitals, salons. Once you have selected the establishment, you can get in touch with them directly. Or you can tweet @lookuplite with your request. It’s available on Android and iOS.

UrbanClap

UrbanClap brings order to a fragmented services industry. Be it finding a professional home-cleaning service, carpenter, wedding photographer, packers and movers, party planners or even pest control, the app lists professionals and businesses across a variety of service areas. You can check service prices before placing an order. It’s available on Android and iOS.

Voler

The Voler app helps you rent a vehicle to drive around yourself. Book a car depending on your requirement (for example, a Tata Nano is available from Rs30 per hour, a Ford EcoSport from Rs90 per hour and a BMW X1 from Rs240 per hour). The cars are owned by Voler and the service is currently available in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh. The app is available on Android and iOS.

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