Project name: Timed
Sagar Aryal(Abstract Creation)
41 years after the birth of handheld cellphone, the weight of cellphones has shrunk from 1.1kg to around a mere 100 grams and the features have expanded from making a maximum of 30 minutes of call each time to using millions of applications in one’s cellphone. Cellphones have now become something like an integral part of living and apps have become something of a life tool that makes cellphones capable to bring about changes in the social structure and the style of life people live. They can and must be used for the betterment of people’s life.
Living in the city of a million people and a billion problems, it’s really hard to think about an app that can really simplify the life of people. What problems on the earth do we not have in this city? But when developing an app, we need to ask ourselves if realistic solutions to the targeted problems do exist and are technologically attainable. We asked ourselves the questions, and we were confused like we were in the midst of the Minotaur’s maze! And Heavens blessed us, we were stuck in a jam!
Kathmandu is really prone to traffic jams and other problems regarding transportation like strikes or rally or demonstrations that start out of the blue and we’re never really informed about these stuff. So what if we had an app that could tell us about everything regarding traffic? What if we had an app that could notify us if there was any traffic obstruction in our way to college or office? What if a mere phone app that would always be it could save us from the dreaded creatures called the bosses?
So here we have it. Modern phones are blessed with GPS/A-GPS that can pinpoint the user’s location with an accuracy of a few meter and can readily access high tech stuff like Bing maps or Google maps. So if we could build an app on top of those cool stuff and help people reach places in time, we could be celebrities. So let’s do an app that can pinpoint the user’s location by the use of GPS/A-GPS, place it in a real time map that we take from Google or Bing and give them authentic information the traffic of their daily route of their office or college with every info they need to know, like the exact location of the traffic jam, the reason for that jam, the duration it’s been jammed and how long is it expected to last? Here’s how we plan to do the app, the app will have a registration system, that will prompt users basic details like cellphone number and maximum five routes that the user travels daily or regularly and the specific time they travel by that route. The app will also have a special authentication area for authorized users i.e. traffic police. If a user is travelling by a route, he can simply tap in the location balloon and enter the jam info, that info will be displayed in the rumored jams section of the app and a notification will be sent to the to the traffic control body that would verify the jam status and also put some effort to clear the traffic. If the jam info is verified by the traffic control body a notification will be sent to every user travelling by that route at that particular time along with the list of jam free alternative routes. And we do not at all intend to or support the use or sale of user’s private information. Privacy and accuracy will always be our first concern.
This app targets basically everyone who owns a smartphone. Emergency services like ambulance and fire brigade could and must use this app to find themselves the best possible route to save some lives or contribute in the betterment of some more lives and save the destruction of a lot of wealth. This could be of very great application to students and job holders, so that they’ll find a way to reach to their college or workplace in time and college admins and bosses could use this app to find out if the student or the employee was true about traffic jam being the reason for late arrival. So, beware folks, traffic jams aren’t always going to be easiest reason you can make for your late arrival. Everyone else could use this app to find about routes and jams and prevent themselves from being stuck in endless traffic jams and wasting their precious time.
The first guy I talked to about this concept was a senior brother of mine, a student of Business Administration, a management freak who almost always complains about mismanagement this city suffers, his jaws dropped and he asked me, “Really?” He even asked to get hands to it soon as possible. And my girlfriend, who’s generally sick of waiting for me when she calls me for a cup of coffee and some saccharine coated talks got to hear about this as an excuse for me being late and that was the first time she was happy to hear the reason of my late arrival, she knows she’ll be among the first people to use this app and I can no more use traffic jams as an excuse for my late arrival, I regret telling it to her, I need to find some other excuse. May Heavens help me!
There are not many apps of this kind in the app space, probably there are a lot more being developed. This app will first struggle to get its share of recognition in the app space and enough of trust level from the user. After attaining the recognition and trust, this app can directly compete with big name mapping technologies and navigation apps. It’s going to be a hard struggle to survive alongside mapping giants like Google and Bing but our community based approach to collect information and the verification of all the published information by the local traffic governing body sets us apart. It’s really great to be able to get and give information and have them verified by local governing body because always provides genuine and trustworthy information. It will soon be a must have app for people residing in big Asian cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Mumbai, Delhi and Kathmandu to name a few.
1. Mr. Jeevan Prakash Pant is an entrepreneur and a student of information technology. His office is located at Kirtipur and his college is located at Kamaladi. He travels to and fro the route from Kirtipur to Kamaladi via Kalimati and Tripureshor every weekday and he’s almost always late to college and to office because he’s always stuck in jams in Kalimati or Tripureshor. What if he had this app in his phone? He would get traffic notifications 15 minutes before the time he intends to leave and then he could choose the best way from the list of alternative routes available and reach in time and save himself the trouble of being a late student and a late boss.
2. I’m not much a cab rider. If there’s no any emergency, I prefer public vehicles to cars as they’re cheap. But a week ago when I was crazily working on the app, I happened to ride a cab because my girlfriend, too excited to see me after a long while (a fortnight to be precise), didn’t let go of me till it was very very late for me to attend a meeting. I rode a cab and asked him to speed up, he did. And I was peeping through the app in the emulator and I immediately knew there was a jam at Tripureshor, going from New Road to Kirtipur would cost me ages and ages of time. I turned to the driver and asked him to take one of the alternatives which he thought was more feasible, he was shocked, amazed and everything, his face displayed a cocktail of emotions and took an alternative. I did reach there in time but I was late for the meeting, he took almost half an hour asking about the app and trying to persuade me to give him the app. This conversation saved me a hundred bucks, but it did cost me a bomb, the boss was furious.
Top User Stories
1. Timed, as we folks call it, saves a lot of time
Mr. Krishna Muraree Ghimire is the Deputy Director of Nepal Rastra Bank. Every workday at 8:45 am he leaves his residence in New Baneshor to his office in Baluwatar in his car. He is among the people closely following the development of this app and has an alpha version installed. The very first thing he does before leaving his home for the office is viewing the Timed alerts if any and deciding which route can take him to the office the quickest. He said in a conversation we had about the updated algorithm of Timed, “Timed, as you folks call it, has saved me a lot of trouble going to office and back, it helps me reach places in time. You’re going good folks, but I expect even more”. Saving your time, Mr. Ghimire, is helping the economy of the country, we’ll come up with an even better app!
2. Awesome! Jams are not so much trouble anymore!
This is what my friend, Mr. Bibek Adhikari said to me when I invited him in a café to show him the app we were doing and ask him to help name it. Mr. Adhikari is an engineering student and an internationally published writer and well, he is popular. He owns an android device and he was very keen to get an android version of the app. He said, if you can preplan the routes and get alerts before starting the journey, jams will not be much of trouble anymore. Do it fast, do it good, I don’t want to miss my lecture to attend a book talk and miss parts of both. If I knew the real time traffic stats, I can subtract the jam time, attend my full lecture and then catch a public transport to the venue of book talk, which generally happens to be B.P Koirala Memorial Library. We meet once in a while, and the very first question he asks is, do you folks have anything for me yet?
3. The Doctors Story
Dr. Reema Rajbhandari is a medical practitioner, a general surgeon and an anesthesiologist. She works on multiple hospitals and owns a car. But owning a car couldn’t save herself the trouble of getting stuck in lengthy traffic jams. Dr. Rajbhandari happens to be the doctor I consult and in one of those regular medical appointments, she asked me if I was doing anything new and I told her about this concept. The next appointment, she owned the app, being a doctor has certain privileges, she got it for free. A person’s life or wellbeing is at stake and there she’d be stuck in a jam, sweating and thinking about that child in some hospital who she had to operate for appendicitis. Things are different now, she can now plan her routes and even take shortcuts. Instead of just sitting in her car and worrying about that child, she can be there and act! She can be in the operation theater removing that child’s appendix when she’d have been in a jam otherwise. She called me immediately after the operation and thanked me for the app. Well, she gave me yet another reason to thank her, my medical expenses are zero!
As we first mentioned we are teaming with the community to get the real time traffic status and with the traffic control body for the verification of those information. As we will be operating on community basis, privacy of personal data will always be the concern and the data will not be lend to third party for any purposes. We think of making money by charging a minimal sum to download the app and asking people to donate for the betterment of the app. We do not intend to be millionaires by developing this app, helping in the betterment of a few lives by some labor of us will be the greatest achievement we can have.