Before I downloaded the i-City SuperApp, I felt pretty sceptical. A super app is typically used in reference to apps that provide multiple services. Examples include Grab, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, and airasia.
I didn’t think i-City’s app would be robust enough to be a super app, because all I knew at the time was that it was a smart technology city that had a theme park.
Thus, I concluded that it was probably a simple app and the technology city had just randomly tacked on the term “super app” to make it sound fancier.
Alas, I was wrong.
Opening up the app, I was faced with rows upon rows of icons I could click into. From parking passes to gossip forums, the app seems to offer users a slew of various conveniences.
Some of the icons were more like ads, though. For example, there are tabs for Digi, Best Western, and DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City, which had newly opened.
Here, you can learn more about each brand and also get their contact information.
Other tabs include ThinkHub, where you can chat with the admin to get a temporary office space. There’s also Rent, where you can check out some properties for rent in the area. Jom! lets you host events in the neighbourhood, from book clubs to a friendly badminton match.
All in all, the app was definitely more populated than I expected. But first impressions aside, here’s what the app aims to do for users, and whether it actually performs as intended.
It’s actually more useful for i-City dwellers
One of the major features of the super app is the unique QR code generator for each account. Tied to this is the digital wallet feature.
Users can reload the digital e-wallet within the i-City SuperApp and use it to pay for various things through the QR code, particularly in the theme park.
After a bit of exploring though, it became clear that the app is designed more for the residents or workers in the city, rather than visitors and tourists.
Backing up this hypothesis was the parking page, which promotes season passes rather than one-time passes.
As we hadn’t made any plans to repeatedly return to i-City, we forwent that option, and instead assumed that we should be able to just use our QR code anyway to enter the parking.
This was after doing our research online and seeing users talk about it. However, we weren’t able to get past the boomgate with just the QR code.
Since we couldn’t resolve this without blocking the entire path, we ended up taking a ticket.
Later, according to a response from a user in the forum page, we learnt that visitors can use the parking QR code, but must put in a certain amount of balance in the app first.
The issue with this though is that once you reload your app, you won’t be able to get a refund or transfer.
To avoid this, visitors can check out the parking rates within the app to get a better idea of how much balance they’ll need for their trip.
Some other resident-friendly features include the “gossips” tab, which is more like a newsroom filled with titbits of information around i-City.
For example, there is some short news about DoubleTree by Hilton’s mooncakes and a grand automotive roadshow happening in town.
Remember the forum we mentioned earlier? Well, the function is aptly named whateverLAH and the available threads you can chat in currently include “Gamers Hideout”, “Theme Park”, “Part Time”, “Garage Sales”, and others.
We chatted in the Theme Park thread for our parking woes and got a response from an admin around four hours later—not the most responsive, but definitely better than radio silence.
We also tried the Support Chat, which is still in Beta. We received a response within an hour, though there was some back and forth between us before we finally got our questions answered appropriately.
But it’s still a theme park must-have, literally
Clicking into the app category simply called “Theme Park”, you’ll be able to check out the packages available, as well as refer to your own e-Tix (digital ticket).
You can also easily refer to the park’s map and stay on top of your available rewards, but more on the latter later.
To get into the attractions at i-City, visitors are essentially required to have the app on hand as the staff will need to scan your QR code before you go on any ride.
We bought the All Day Happyness Pass, which allowed us to experience almost all the attractions available, excluding the Red Carpet wax museum. Visitors who didn’t buy the package can also buy passes for individual attractions via the app.
The app sounds good in theory, but after spending a day using it in the theme park, I was rather disappointed.
As we had one person-in-charge who bought all of our package tickets (thank you, boss), we soon realised that the QR code was a bit for a drawback in our situation.
First of all, the tickets technically can’t be disseminated to different holders. Being the person who bought all of our tickets, our boss constantly had to use her phone to get everyone else into various rides.
(The way we got around it was by taking a screenshot of the QR code and sending it in our group chat. Then we could just get the staff to scan the screenshot on anyone’s phone.)
The map is also a hard to use, as it’s essentially a digital brochure, and not much else. To be properly useful, it should have been interactive, so you could search up the attraction you want to visit and it would be highlighted in the app.
It would be even better if you could click on each attraction and see its operating hours too, and get some information on each ride so you can decide if it’s worth the walk.
To add, since the map doesn’t show you what direction you’re facing, navigating the 72-acre theme park gets even trickier.
Other than attractions, the app can also be used at select vendors to purchase items such as snacks and drinks. We used the app at a stall inside Water World, which only accepted credits from the app and not cash.
Although we accidentally scanned our code twice here, which resulted in a negative balance on our account, the staff at the stall was able to request for a refund for us.
Are its rewards really rewarding though?
Remember the rewards we mentioned earlier? Well, we have thoughts.
When you click into the rewards tab, you’ll be informed that every RM1 spent equals one iReward point. The issue with that is how high the number of points needed are to redeem a free ticket.
Take WaterWorld for example. The amount of points needed to redeem a ticket for this water park is 10,000 points.
That means you would have to theoretically spend RM10,000 over the course of other visits just to get a free entrance into WaterWorld.
By the way, one WaterWorld ticket is RM35. You would have to buy at least 286 tickets to the water park to get one free ticket. To rephrase, you need to spend RM10,000 to get RM35 off, making the earn rate 0.35%.
Let’s compare this rewards system to Grab, though. Here, you can exchange 750 points for RM5 off GrabFood Signatures.
You earn 0.75 GrabRewards points for every RM1 spent (if you’re not a GrabUnlimited subscriber), so you’ll need to spend RM1,000 to get RM5 off. This gives an earn rate of 0.5% in your GrabRewards.
The difference between the earn rate might seem small, but the fact is, you probably use Grab a lot more than you’d use the i-City SuperApp.
In my opinion, the rewards for the i-City SuperApp do not incentivise the usage of the app at all.
What could’ve been better
Some features in the app seem to still be in beta mode, such as the support chat function. Due to this, responses are rather delayed.
As mentioned earlier, I also have some qualms with the theme park features, especially the map and ticketing system.
But one of the bigger issues is regarding the fintech capabilities of the app.
While the incident where we were charged twice might seem silly at first, it showed us the potential dangers of the app.
The fact that the payment went through so easily without any confirmation is one thing, but the fact that the account’s balance could even go into negatives is another cause for concern.
Logically, shouldn’t there be a safeguard that tells the user they have no balance left, rather than let the transaction go through anyway?
I also find it a bit odd that instead of having separate QR codes for the tickets, it’s all packed into the one QR code that doubles as the wallet.
While this might sound convenient at first, we realised the downsides in the evening, when we were accidentally charged for one of our rides without our knowledge. We had assumed that they would deduct from our tickets in the package.
Judging from what I saw when I looked at the staff’s tablets, which they use to scan the QR codes, I know that it showed that there were 8 available tickets on the QR code.
Yet, the staff must’ve missed that and ended up charging us. The payment instantly went through, and even the holder of the wallet wasn’t aware that the transaction was made.
Thus, human error on either end of the transaction can still, quite literally, cost you.
Overall, our verdict is that the i-City SuperApp is a little too ambitious, yet not necessarily in ways that benefit users.
It’s still rudimentary in various aspects, despite being released in 2018. If it can overcome the transaction concerns we highlighted above, it certainly has lots more potential for those who reside there or visitors.
|Rather robust app, especially for residents and workers in the region||Non-refundable and transferable e-wallet balance|
|The e-wallet transactions are straightforward||QR code for the wallet and the theme park’s packages are the same, which might lead to accidental charges|
|Support chat and thread are decently responsive||E-wallet balance is able to go into the negatives without prior notice|
|The rewards do not incentivise users to spend more|
All Image Credits: Vulcan Post