Many have raised concerns about the voting systems of some Reality TV shows; these concerns may be genuine. They may also be as a result of the grief fans feel when their favorite contestants are eliminated. Whatever the case may be, there is the need to provide a platform that will both satisfy fans of these shows and also the organizers and even the SMS aggregators.

This is what Osiki seeks to achieve: providing a platform where fans can cast votes more easily and accurately and organizers can also receive insights into voting patterns and other information. Zottech designed Osiki. Zottech is a tech startup co-founded by 4 young men three years ago whilst they were in University. They specialize in Web and Mobile Applications Development, Online Marketing and IT Training and occasionally consult for organizations.

We interviewed Divine Puplampu, the User Experience Engineer at Zottech. He spoke at length about the app and how it operates. Below are excerpts from the interview:

What is Osiki and what does it do?

Divine Puplampu: Osiki is an SMS voting, polling and audience response application.

We’ve got the Mobile and Web App. The native app is only available for Android devices only (for now). It serves businesses, event organisers, presenters, advertising agencies, educators, faith-based organisations, non-profits or anybody interested in conducting SMS voting, polls or seeking audience response on a topic.

Which problem/s does Osiki seek to solve?

Divine Puplampu: Osiki seeks to

Make it very easy for people to vote for their favorite screen idols in voting based shows e.g. reality TV shows

Make it easy for event organizers to get insights on the their events. This we hope to achieve through careful mining of data collected on shows listed on Osiki in general.

Osiki seeks to be the ultimate lifestyle application for all. Hitherto, if you wanted to vote for your favorite contestant in a show, you would have to recall their category and short-code before you can cast your vote. And if someone wanted to vote 10 times, that person would have to wait for 1 text to go through then wait and send another one – this activity would continue till the 10th text is sent. Osiki eliminates the need to remember category short-codes or SMS codes. It also affords users the opportunity to send multiple votes at once.

Is there a way to re-vote once i submit my vote? (Maybe upon realizing that i made a mistake)

Divine Puplampu: No! The app demands that you confirm a vote before it is cast. The problem of making mistakes is one that Osiki addresses because unlike the traditional sms way, Osiki allows you to see the face of the contestant therefore it is less likely users will make mistakes.

How do users make payments for the votes they cast?

Divine Puplampu: it depends on how event organizers want it. Some events charge per sms voting – others don’t charge. So if the event is charging per sms, we go by that. Actually what Osiki does is to interface with the SMS on the user’s device.

In the situation where the organizer does not require users to pay for SMS, we allow that too. So a user can just click to vote. Normally such awards also require a user to vote just once and Osiki is programmed for that. Example is the recently held Citi fm Mogo Awards – users were supposed to vote once on Osiki.

Osiki is also working on a new payment system which we foresee disrupting the traditional SMS voting. It is a voucher based system. Users will need to buy an Osiki Voucher. Unlike the current SMS system where a user pays say 40 pesewas or 50 pesewas per vote, a 1 cedi voucher will entitle a user to 3 votes. Event organizers will also get their share of voting revenue as soon as a voucher is sold. Currently, after voting, organizers will have to wait for 30 or 60 days before receiving their remittance from SMS aggregators. The Voucher system we hope will be more attractive to users and event organizers.

How successful was Osiki during the Vlisco Women’s Month event? (How satisfied was your client?)

Divine Puplampu: On the whole, they were very pleased. VLISCO were so enthused about Osiki that they printed a pull-up banner and thousands of fliers to promote Osiki. It was a flier dedicated to Osiki, containing instructions on how to use it to Vote for the VLISCO Women’s month awards. The SMS aggregator that was handling the short-code for the awards was also impressed by the high number of votes that came in from Osiki.

That should be very encouraging for young guys like yourself; starting something and almost instantly getting recognition for it.

Divine Puplampu: Right! But things were not that instant. Actually we used the maiden MTN Apps Challenge to test the acceptability of our concept and being among the top 5 apps showed we had a high probability of succeeding with our idea. The Apps challenge was in 2013. Our first interface wasn’t the best, hence we went back to the drawing board to fine-tune it and make it ready for the market. We launched Osiki on 6th March, 2015 alongside the VLISCO Women’s Month Award. Citi fm also subscribed to Osiki for the Mogo Awards and now GUBA Awards is using it for the public voting of GUBA Awards 2015. GUBA is actually using the Web Version of Osiki available at gubaawards.co.uk/vote

In the next 5 years, how do you think the app will evolve? And will it still be nationally relevant?

Divine Puplampu: We are looking at it going international; at least on the African Continent in the next 1 and half years. Currently we have a little over 300 downloads

but we have over 2700 users. This is because Osiki is not just about the mobile app, the web app also brings in many users. In the next 5 years it will really evolve and will surely be relevant. The vision is to let it be your total lifestyle app. If you are interested in awards shows – it’s Osiki. If you like reality shows – it’s Osiki. If you want to contribute to a topic under discussion on radio – it’s Osiki. If you want to follow live feed of events – it’s Osiki. It should be Osiki everywhere. That’s the vision.

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