We’ve always been passionate about creating solutions for small businesses.
Provo-based startup FotoPunch recently announced the launch of its innovative mobile time tracking technologies.
“We’ve been working with enterprise clients for a couple of years now, but this is our first major offering to a wide range of businesses,” said Founder and CEO Tom Loveland.
FotoPunch has figured out a way to successfully combine facial recognition, mobile GPS, and cloud-based portal technologies into a SaaS-based, self-service sign-up and usage model.
“We’ve always been passionate about creating solutions for small businesses,” said Loveland. “So we’re excited to be able to incorporate our robust mobile time tracking technologies into a self-service model. We love the idea that small businesses with mobile employees can easily sign-up online, try it out, and deploy our mobile time tracking technology.”
Prior to striking out on his own, Loveland worked for Xactware, a local software solutions company based in Orem. After graduating with a degree in computer science from BYU, he started a local development company that initially focused on web design. Once Loveland’s dev shop became more serious about software development, they began working on software for a client that needed to manage hundreds of events at Costco locations throughout the country. The only problem with the software was it lacked the ability to effectively track an employee’s time.
“We did a lot of research to try to find existing time and attendance systems that would integrate with the event management software we built for them, but it just didn’t exist,” said Loveland.
Loveland saw a need for an effective time management system and decided to launch his own product. At that point, he rolled out a separate business and began to raise funds to get FotoPunch up and running.
“We came up with the idea: ‘Hey, why don’t we have them use their phone to take a photo of themselves,’” said Loveland. “In the very beginning it was all about them taking that photo and us aggregating that information to punch them in and out. We quickly realized this was a unique idea. Especially the idea of a photo being the primary modality to punch somebody in.”
FotoPunch validated their idea by attending a number of trade shows to get feedback from potential customers. Once they decided they were really onto something, they began to heavily invest in the development of facial recognition software. FotoPunch will soon be announcing facial recognition products that Loveland describes as being “pretty groundbreaking for the industry.”
“Studies have shown at least one to two percent of payroll per hourly worker goes to fraud — for example, buddy punching,” said Loveland. “So traditional ways of punching in with a swipe card, or tracking your own time, costs a company a lot of money. Even honest people round their time in their favor every time. They’ll round down when they’re late for work, and of course the other way when they leave early. So biometrics is very effective. It’s very difficult to beat a biometrics system to cause fraud.”
Even in this era of technological advancement, pencil and paper is still the most common method of tracking time. It’s 2014 and we still haven’t come up with a more convenient way of clocking in and out that can easily be adopted by the masses. Time tracking is a market just begging for disruption, and FotoPunch believes they have the solution.
“It’s really convenient,” said Loveland. “In our office, we have some hourly workers that work on a variety of things and they use FotoPunch. It’s not a matter of not trusting them, or anything else, it’s just really easy to use because we have so many ways you can punch in. When I’m tracking my hours and billing a customer, I’ll use FotoPunch. A lot of times I won’t do a picture punch; you can text in a punch, you can voice-call in a punch, you can use our smart phone app, or this wall mount we’ll be releasing in a month. Employee convenience is huge. And if it’s convenient, then it can be adopted. If it’s not convenient, then it won’t be adopted.”
Because FotoPunch has developed a biometric solution that can be used on any phone, including dumbphones or flipphones — any cell phone with a camera and SMS capabilities — the company believes they’ve come up with a cost-effective, fraudless, convenient solution for small business owners to track the time of their employees.
“I think our sweet spot, frankly, is the small businesses that don’t currently use any sort of sophisticated method to track time,” said Loveland.