|APTNER mobile phone application offers apartment residents various convenient functions to live in large housing complexes. / Courtesy of APTNER|
APTNER app changes apartment management from analog to digital
By Jun Ji-hye
An apartment complex is one of the most common types of residence in Korea, but various problems such as complaints about noise inevitably come up as a lot of people are living there together.
Kwon Hae-suk, founder and CEO of APTNER, said in a recent interview with The Korea Times that an apartment complex involves a wide variety of people including residents, construction companies and local governments. The absence of communication between them makes those problems worse, he said.
The idea led him to develop the APTNER mobile phone application with three colleagues in September 2017.
"APTNER aims to be a living portal platform, bringing together residents as well as those from management offices, construction firms and local governments," he said. "The app helps all people involved communicate more easily and efficiently, while offering various convenient functions that residents need to live in large housing complexes."
|Kwon Hae-suk, founder and CEO of APTNER, speaks during an interview with The Korea Times at the firm's office in Seoul, April 2. / Courtesy of APTNER|
Kwon said more than 92 percent of users appear to use the app consistently, showing a positive response.
The firm, headquartered in Busan, has also signed business agreements with about 10 local governments and apartment brands including Xi of GS E&C and Hillstate of Hyundai E&C.
"We are now in talks with other apartment brands to expand our services. We are also consulting with telecommunications companies to make services more convenient," he said.
He said one of the biggest achievements of his company was receiving an ICT award from the National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) this year in recognition of the excellence of its service.
Kwon said the APTNER app has changed apartment management from analog to digital, raising efficiency and convenience.
Through the app, residents have been able to check on apartment maintenance fees online, and choose their representatives through online voting. They are also able to make online reservations for facilities at their apartment complexes such as gyms.
The app offers information such as inspection times for apartment facilities such as elevators, and sometimes becomes an online marketplace, in which residents can exchange goods that are no longer used such as strollers.
Parents can also check closed-circuit televisions through the app to see if their children are safe in playgrounds.
Management offices can utilize the app to send regular reminders to residents and post important announcements as well as carrying out surveys.
Construction firms use the app to offer information on apartment construction and receive requests for defect repairs from residents.
Local governments use the app to offer administrative information and other notices such as news of disasters.
Kwon said the biggest difference between APTNER and other apartment service apps is its wider coverage as other apps tend to focus on residents and management offices only.
He stressed that APTNER offers fully customized services for specific client uses as each apartment complex is in a different environment.
The CEO said the app is equipped with a variety of advanced technologies including big data technology, noting that the data accumulated through the app is used to improve the firm's services.
The data can be also used for studies, for example, on ways of resolving noise complaints and reducing apartment maintenance fees.
"We have data on what happens in apartment complexes and what residents require. Such data can be used to study ways of improving apartment environments," Kwon said.
Based on the notion that people of different age groups live in apartment complexes, APTNER has also made efforts to find a solution to the digital isolation of senior citizens.
"We have found that about 10 percent of apartment residents are elderly. To help them use our app more easily, APTNER employees teach them how to use it in person," he said. "We are also working to develop an app, exclusively designed for elderly people, which will enable them to log into the service more simply. We will use a larger font for the service for the elderly."
For this year, the company has set the goal of increasing the number of its clients to 1,000 apartment complexes.
The firm is also seeking to expand its services to shopping malls around apartment complexes to enable residents to book, for example, appointments at nearby hospitals and beauty shops.
"We plan to connect apartment complexes and nearby shopping malls within the year," he said.
APTNER, which has focused on the domestic market so far, is aiming to make inroads into the global market, especially Southeast Asia where demand for apartment complexes is growing.
Kwon said his firm is currently carrying out working-level discussions with leading construction companies that are actively conducting overseas business.
"We see Vietnam as the first target," he said, noting that his firm has been recently contacted by a local service company in Vietnam for business cooperation.
For overseas expansion, APTNER plans to add services in different languages such as Indonesian and Vietnamese.
"We already have English services as an apartment complex used by U.S. soldiers stationed in Korea uses our app," he said.
Kwon said his firm has grown 570 percent in terms of sales since the launch of the app, taking the No. 1 position among apartment service apps in Korea.
About 20 employees now work for the company.
"Developers are mostly based in Busan, while members of the sales and strategic planning teams are in Seoul," he said.