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Building location features in CarDekho apps using HyperTrack

This is a guest post by Saurabh Jain Tech Lead at CarDekho India’s leading car search venture that helps users buy cars and bikes that are right for them.

We have built multiple apps at CarDekho and building many more. For example:

  1. A roadside assistance app (RSA) for consumers to request 24/7 emergency services in the event of a flat tire dead battery key loss/locked out of fuel etc. There is an accompanying RSA partner app for registered service providers to manage service requests.
  2. Owner Drive Experience app for Ford owners to provide candid drive experience to prospective buyers
  3. Private label apps for automobile manufacturers like Mahindra and Ford to manage test drives and service appointments.

Besides a strong technology platform for the automobile industry the parent company GirnarSoft has built apps and platforms for ecommerce travel and health among others.

Location tracking features are critical to these platforms for multiple reasons.

  1. For customers to get visibility into the location of the mechanic or test drive and how far they are from reaching them. Imagine being stranded on the roadside with a car that has broken down. This way we can help relieve a lot of anxiety of these customers.
  2. For us to make better assignments of service requests based on location of nearest partners and cars. While we know the business location it is more useful to know where the person or vehicle is at the time of assignment.
  3. For managers to be able to see what happened for a particular request. Replays of trips for all historical requests turn out to be useful for looking at the route taken and the time when the person reached the customer.
  4. For customer service to answer the most frequent question “kahaan pahunche?” (“where have you reached”). Having that visibility when on a call or chat with the customer improves customer satisfaction and eliminates costs of following up.

Due to the critical nature of these features we first started building the location infrastructure a few months ago. On the way we faced many problems. If we streamed the location data more frequently we saw high battery usage. If we streamed less frequently we missed crucial points. Plotting these locations on the map makes the vehicle hop and skid. Polling for continuous ETAs and rendering maps on the web started getting expensive because of Google Maps API fees. When we stopped getting location data we just didn’t know what went wrong on the device – did the partner turn off location did the phone conk off did the battery die etc. Storing and managing the location data on the server so we can query it later required us to invest in lot of design and architecture. Lastly making all of this data available to our team required us to invest in front-end work to build dashboards.

And then I heard of HyperTrack through Umang our CEO. It took me less than a day to do my first integration with one of the private label apps. The more I used it I realized how it had addressed all my problems beautifully. For our business it’s a no-brainer at the cost at which the service is offered. If you see the value of a service request or test drive this a small fraction. In fact it saves money because we would have to spend a lot of engineering resources to build all of those things and it will still take a long time.

Based on my experience I recommended all my fellow teams within CarDekho to start using HyperTrack to build location features and within a month I saw three of our other apps built on top of the HyperTrack stack.

The HyperTrack team is quite helpful and supportive. I like using HyperTrack and will recommend it to any developer who wants to build location tracking features. Instead of trying to crack the code on the device server and maps just plug HyperTrack and focus on the application you want to build.