Despite how connected humans are thanks to smartphones and social networks, important messages still get lost in the mix. That’s why Vancouver’s Progrid Technologies developed the iiris app, (short for important information relayed in seconds), which promises to ease multi-channel communications so that notifications never get overlooked again.
The brainchild of Harpaul Lehry, iiris is a SaaS (software-as-as-service) solution, which allows an administrator to send messages or survey questions via push notification, email, SMS text and voicemail to any desktop or mobile device. Once an organization sets up an iiris account and imports its contact lists, an email is automatically sent out prompting contacts to download the app so they can start receiving messages.
There is no fee to download the iPhone and Android app or receive messages. Only the organization using the service pays a subscription fee starting from $9 per month with a baseline of 50 contacts. Pricing then increases based on number of contacts and activity.
“Companies are constantly bombarded with IT security options but in terms of technology to facilitate communications in case of an emergency, there’s not much out there,” says Harpaul Lehry, CEO of Progrid Technologies. “Many institutions and schools don’t have a system in place to reach employees and parents if their internal network goes down. Since iiris is a third party provider, there is no interruption and the message will always get through.”
Iiris is a complete communication system perfect for disseminating important information like a school closure, meeting change or appointment reminder. When a message is sent out on its private, encrypted network, the administrator can verify who was notified and if it was actually read. Additionally, survey questions can be sent through the system and responses are automatically tallied with a report generated shortly after.
“For example, if you live in a condo, certain things can happen around your building like repair work that maintenance might not have the time to notify you about. With iiris, instead of taking the time to write a note and post it in the elevator message board, a push notification can be sent out right away,” adds Lehry.
Only two months old, iiris currently has approximately 40 customers in the evaluation phase and a handful of paid users applying the technology at their businesses. Lehry is also in talks with resellers in Singapore and Europe who are interested in acquiring the platform for their respective markets. Although SMS and voicemail is currently restricted to North America, Progrid is working towards expanding iiris’ functionalities across every platform including Blackberry and around the world in the coming months.
Like many bootstrapped startups, Progrid is actively looking to partner with an Angel investor or established VC to develop iiris even further. In the meantime, Lehry is involved with the BCTIA’s Centre4Growth CEO-in-residence program, which helps tech entrepreneurs across British Colombia accelerate the growth of their business by matching them with an experienced CEO to show them the ropes.
“I’ve always had a desire to develop my own solution but raising funds isn’t easy. Since I have a background in reselling, my strategy was to establish Progrid to generate cash flow and then fund and create my own software,” says Lehry. “I wish there was some sort of conduit or bridge that would help Canadian companies connect with the funding in Silicon Valley. Hopefully there will be a go-to platform soon.”