Internet Taxi

cyber taxi

We have developed the world's first taxi app that works without the Internet. The spread of smartphones in India has multiplied in the last three years. Smart-phone subscribers will exceed 650 million by 2016, and this figure is therefore likely to rise at an exponential rate over the next few years. However, affordability and reliability of Internet connectivity remains a challenge not (yet!) resolved in India.

Describing how we addressed these issues for our app-first motorbike taxi call services, this article is the world's first taxi-on-demand application to work without the Internet. Of the 650 million smart phone subscribers in India, only 312 million have Internet connectivity, of which only 103 million have regular use of the Internet.

Most of these subscribers are focused on towns, with several areas in suburbs and countryside having little or no Internet connection. In spite of being available, a dependable Internet connection is still a major concern even in metropolitan areas. Within the framework of real-time applications, an Internet connection always results in bad usability. Because of its wide distribution, SMS has become very dependable, and it has of course become a key part of our concept to create a smooth UX in our application.

Prospective clients who own a smart phone but have no (or poor) Internet connection usually cannot sign in to an application store/download our application. In order to avoid this issue, we have made good use of our natural ressources. Because our service can also be used by going to our riders at the dedicated motorbike taxi stalls, our riders have been taught how to use favorite shared applications such as ShareIt and Xender to easily exchange application binary files with them.

Creating an off-line stream for our application is a simple issue for those who have already signed up and used our application. But for those who had never used our service before, there were some areas that needed to be shortened. As an example, for new members, we would need to add information that we need to register the member.

In the case of recurring user, this would involve the trip evaluation for the preceding trip (if not already done online) and some other parameter. A unique rationale for developing such an application was to resolve a genuine issue facing our website ?to - to in order to make it easier for them to use our service and give us a small advantage over other companies in this area.

A further important part of our application was the management of the incoming communications from the servers and their integration into the processes in order to offer the users a good viewing environment. In order to be able to communicate important incidents from the servers to the mobiles, the contents of the message have been reduced to a minimal. SMS was used for all important server-to-client communications.

Part of this is also the client's collection site. It contains for recurring drivers some information gathered at the end of the last journey (evaluation of the journey and whether the client later added the rider to his favorites ?more-?more). It contains for new members the information we need to be able to enroll a member, along with the recommendation key used for enrollment.

The character chain is then scrambled, coded and sent by text messaging to a specific number. Privile keys are used to i) encrypt message signatures so that the mail servers know that no user has changed the mail, and ii) encrypt received mail signatures. Since in our case the news were sent as plain text, it was not too alarming since there are other controls on the servers that would intercept and refuse fake news.

Upon receipt of the text messages at the specified telephone number, an authentified call is made to our REST API via a specific dedicated service. Subsequently, the messages created on the portable application, along with some other information such as the telephone number of the client with whom the messages were sent, are forwarded to the carriers and the networks.

Charges to the ISP for SMS-based booking that do not come from the intended servers are immediately denied and sent to our scam tracking system. As soon as a call is acknowledged as originating from the intended system, it is de-encrypted and analyzed by the servers. Few month later, sound competitors have catched up and some other businesses in this sector have actually introduced similar SMS-based taxi calling schemes.

Mehr zum Thema