Whether we like it or not, location tracking has become an essential part of our lives. From booking a cab to ordering food online to simply sharing your location via WhatsApp, pretty much everyone has used location tracking at some point. For most people, location tracking is just about convenience, such as knowing where your cab is. For businesses, however, location tracking does a lot more.
UK-based firm Letstrack, which began operating in India in 2016, sells location-tracking hardware and software to businesses and consumers. Its CEO Vikram Kumar says the company has been working hard to change the negative perception around location tracking. He says that location tracking is very useful for personal safety and to improve companies’ efficiency.
Letstrack says it has been selling more personal safety devices, such as child trackers, than business-oriented products in India. However a product called Letstrack School is proving to be especially popular, company CEO Vikram Kumar claims. “It is installed in school buses. Parents will get an alert when the bus is five minutes away from the nearest stop and when it reaches the school,” Kumar adds. This allows the fleet owner to monitor the buses and allows parents to know whether their child has reached the school too.
On the business side, the company offers relatively simple products such as Letstrack Attendance, which allows companies to track their workforce. Kumar says sales teams in particular don’t always operate from offices. Since most of their work takes place outside office, Letstrack Attendance lets them log in remotely and allows the company to check whether they’ve actually been working.
Letstrack’s products are an example of a company building a complete solution for other firms. On the other hand, Hypertrack is an Indian company based out of New Delhi and with an office in San Francisco that lets other firms build live location features quickly. Zomato uses HyperTrack to allow its customer support teams to track your food orders. When you ask them where your order is, they can quickly check and let you know. In this case, Zomato chose to build its own order tracking feature via the HyperTrack SDK.
Amit Rathi, a Delhi-based software engineer at HyperTrack, says, “So far businesses have focused on improving efficiency at the workplace. Not much has been done about improving efficiency on the way.”
Rathi adds, “We provide a dashboard view which tells the operations team where their workforce is at the moment, where they have been in the past and provide them with heatmaps to understand where their users spend most time.”
When some of your employees are commuting around the city to get work done, it’s not easy to work on improving efficiency. “Most businesses have people that are out and about, and it has been very hard to build software for better efficiency for that. We solve that problem,” Rathi adds.
That's not all though - tracking is just half the equation. For example, Bengaluru-based Locus offers tools to plan the routes for delivery vehicles, and even tools to plan the loading of vehicles. Locus co-founder Nishit Rastogi earlier told Gadgets 360 that companies are now moving from 48-hour logistics to 24 hours, and this means that you have to be able to plan on the level of individual trucks, with dynamic route planning and reporting. Locus has proprietary software it uses for these decisions, he said.
Beyond this, optimising for poor networks is something every app company operating in India has to do and HyperTrack is no different. “Our customers rely on our technology to work cleanly when the network is patchy, app goes offline, crashes or hundreds of other corner cases happen on the field. We solve those problems so our customers don't have to,” Rathi adds.
HyperTrack says one of its best features is improved battery efficiency. Amit Rathi says, “Everyone wants pinpoint accuracy of locations in real-time with zero battery consumption. This is our biggest area of innovation. Maximum accuracy with near-zero battery consumption.” It’s always a good thing if a person on the field doesn’t have to constantly charge a smartphone and HyperTrack claims its tech allows for that.
UK-based Letstrack on the other hand offers custom-built solutions for various industries. CEO Vikram Kumar says, “We work with insurance companies as well, to inform them about your driving style.” A tracker in the car monitors how you’ve been driving and insurance companies use that data to offer lower premiums to better drivers. This, Kumar says, is operational in the UK currently and is a good example of location tracking being used to reduce risks. It's part of a growing trend of connected car devices, and just one of the many ways in which location services can make a difference beyond letting you know how far away your lunch is right now.