An app to help schedule Chinese New Year visits

The login page for Web-based scheduling app Terrabyte requires a handphone number to verify a new account.
The login page for Web-based scheduling app Terrabyte requires a handphone number to verify a new account.PHOTO: TERRA SYSTEMS PTE LTD

SINGAPORE - With Covid-19 restrictions such as a cap of eight visitors to each household a day, Chinese New Year visiting has become a lot more complicated.

But a Singaporean has come up with a Web-based app that allows users to schedule home visits over this festive period.

Mr Roy Toh, chief executive of IT company Terra Systems, came up with the app Terrabyte over a conversation at dinner just before Chinese New Year.

"Because of the restrictions, it's very hard for us to synchronise who goes where, so I came up with this idea of a calendar system for home visits," said Mr Toh, 43.

He said he hoped the app would encourage people to follow Covid-19 rules.

After creating an account, users of the app can indicate when their homes are available for visitors by using the notes function, and invite friends and family to book time slots via a unique URL or QR code. The calendar will then display the number of visitors each day.

Besides Terrabyte, other apps have been developed in response to Covid-19 curbs.

With no shouting allowed during lohei, or the tossing of yusheng (raw fish salad), some have come up with apps that allow users to play auspicious sayings such as DJ Beng and Lo-volume Lohei.

Terrabyte also lets users record up to nine voice recordings for lohei, in what Mr Toh calls a "fun addition" to the app.

While the app was created to ease difficulties faced during Chinese New Year, Mr Toh says it can also be used to book company meeting rooms and manage the number of people at funeral wakes, which is currently limited to 30 at a time.

When asked about Terrabyte's user numbers, Mr Toh said he does not track these figures as he does not intend to make a profit from the app, which is free to use.

"Because of what my family and friends have had to go through, I thought that as an IT company we could do something that can benefit everyone," he said.