GoComm, a Y Combinator startup, is releasing an app to streamline communication and task management during high-pressure events. With a passive news feed, easy login and task assignments, GoComm aims to be a mobile-optimized Yammer for teams that need immediate collaboration and action.
Before an event, users download GoComm and login to the system with a secret password distributed to all participants. After being approved by the administrator, each user can fill in basic contact information including phone number and email for one-on-one contact. The app uses a passive news feed so people can check in with what is happening, but only get notifications when they are tagged in a post. Once in GoComm, you can view posts, tasks, participants and uploaded documents.
There are already many social collaboration platforms to maximize communication between co-workers and clients, including Yammer, Chatter.com and Convo. GoComm co-founders John Gedmark and Travis Dredd tell me the main difference with their app is that it’s made specifically for mobile communication during an event. While similar applications increase communication for employees at desktops, GoComm is more focused on work that need to be done right away.
“Yammer is built for folks who are in an office most of the day, and when you look at a mobile team that’s trying to get stuff done, there’s a lot of urgency,” Gedmark tells me. “You want to be able to get urgent messages through really quickly.”
This is the idea behind several of GoComm’s key features, such as the ability to track and manage tasks. Users can assign tasks to specific people, or put a task up for grabs. Others who view the task can select “Grab Task,” and then update the status to either “In Progress” or “Completed.” This makes it easier to know whether or not all bases are covered.
Allowing each user to independently login and upload contact information also mitigates the work to be done by administrators. For organizers who have several large events with changing teams, this is a lot easier than collecting and uploading all participants to a communication platform for each event.
Since GoComm is working on events with thousands of attendees, Gedmark and Dredd have taken into consideration the possibility of cell towers becoming overloaded. If mobile data connections are failing, GoComm switches to SMS protocol as a backup. So although users can’t access the application, notifications and messages will be sent via text to the corresponding phone number.
A downside of having a Twitter-like news feed is that it’s a lot easier for urgent tasks to be buried under other updates. If a task or post happens to go unnoticed, there’s no way to bump it up to the top. Another concern is security, without the need to be personally invited to enter the platform. While administrators can manage all the participants, it’s a lot harder track with hundreds of volunteers in the app.
The startup has gone from invitation only to public beta. It is still working on feedback and fine-tuning, and has yet to raise any outside funding. Gedmark tells me the team is rolling out a desktop version soon, but the main focus is on mobile. GoComm has also started trying out the app in other industries such as hotel resorts, construction, security forces and airlines.
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