Solution: The HyperTrack API framework
Over the past year, we have interacted with thousands of developers from over 30 countries and as many industries. These conversations have helped us understand the use cases that compel developers to build location tracking features into their products. Turns out, they are forced to build and operate complex location tracking infrastructure to make the features work.
HyperTrack APIs have been built to enable these use cases such that developers can focus on features that are core to their business and not have to worry about the infrastructure. In the previous post, we drew a distinction between location tracking features and infrastructure, and proposed a better primitive to solve the problem. In this post, we walk through the HyperTrack API framework and how the building blocks work for your use case.
The building blocks — the framework to enable your use case
Drivers start on a Trip and perform Tasks along the way at Destinations where Customers are located.
Start tracking by starting a Trip. Optionally use Driver to identify the person on the Trip. This would help generate the historical data for each Driver. Mark Tasks completed as you go on the Trip. Optionally use Customer to identify the person or entity for whom the Task is performed. This would help generate the historical data for each Customer. When Destinations of the next N Tasks are specified ahead of time, real-time ETAs become available for each of the next N Tasks. This helps provide a better customer experience and generates historical data for on-time performance for Drivers and Customers.
Tracking views are generated for businesses in a way that can be easily integrated into your dashboards, and for customers in a way that can be easily integrated into your product experience. Webhooks are available for events that happen along the way, especially delays for a variety of reasons. Metering is available for computing costs in real-time.
Besides the basic building blocks described above, Drivers may be organized into Fleets, Destinations may be organized into Neighborhoods and Fleets may be assigned a Hub. This would generate historical data such as metering and performance metrics for those entities.
- Ecommerce logistics, food/grocery delivery from own kitchen/store, utility service visits, courier, etc.: Deliveries are assigned to Drivers that are part of in-house or 3rd party Fleets at a Hub. Drivers leave with multiple orders, deliver them in an ad-hoc or planned route and then return to the Hub. Each such dispatch is a Trip with each delivery as a Task to be performed at the address or location of the Customer of that order. Customers can live track their deliveries within their current product experience. The return to Hub is the final Task after all deliveries are done so that the next Trip can be assigned to the Driver based on the return ETA. The Hub has a supervisor accountable for its P&L and can view cost meters and on-time performance for the Hub, Fleets and Drivers.
- Ridesharing, on-demand logistics, food and grocery delivery from partner merchants, etc.: Dispersed on-demand Fleets have Drivers spread across random locations. Drivers login to their Shift and make themselves available to receive orders, usually a pickup followed by one or more drop-offs. Orders get assigned to available Drivers in the Shift, including those expected to soon finish a current Trip. After the Driver accepts the order, they set off on a Trip to perform a pickup Task followed by one or more drop-off Tasks. Customers can live track the Driver and contact them within their current product experience. The Customer is billed based on the Trip meter for relevant Tasks and the operations team can monitor the route taken.
- Delivery management platforms for small businesses, pharmacy aggregators, at-home health services aggregators, etc.: Aggregators assign a Fleet of Drivers to a merchant. Merchants assign pickup and delivery tasks to their Drivers using their current dashboard provided by the aggregator. Drivers set off on Trips to perform the Tasks at Customer Destinations and return to the merchant. Merchant and aggregator keep tabs on metering and performance of the Fleets through their current dashboards. Since products being picked and dropped are within a regulated industry, it is critical to be able to audit the routes and time taken for historic orders.
- Mobile workforce, outbound sales, service visits, etc.: Drivers are assigned appointments the previous day or week. They go through their day working their plan and marking appointments as started or done on their calendar. The Trip starts at the start of the day with each relevant appointment or activity as a Task. Tracking is performed in a battery efficient manner so the battery lasts through the day. Drivers are metered for distance and time on the way, and measured for on-time performance of showing up for appointments. Customer gets link to live track the Driver with an ETA so they can plan their time in case of delays or early arrivals.
- Intra-city commute, long-haul transport, fixed route transit, school bus, etc.: Drivers start a Trip when they set off on the assigned vehicle from a Hub. They drive the vehicle on a fixed route, making fixed stops at Destinations that have Customers to be picked up or dropped off. Customers can see accurate ETAs factoring current progress and intermediate stops. This relieves their anxiety about missing the pickup and can better plan their time. Drivers mark the Customer as picked up or dropped off at each stop. Operations team gets alerted in case of unexpected delays and deviations in route.
- Expense management software, marketing visits, moving advertisements, etc.: Drivers can start on Trips with ad-hoc routes and no pre-specified destinations. They can mark Tasks done as they go so that supervisors can view the routes and activities post-hoc. Drivers end the Trip to generate trip summaries and distance/time meters for reimbursements.
- Customer service, accommodations, classifieds, etc.: Users such as customer service agents, hosts for accommodations, buyer or seller in an online classifieds may initiate a request by pinning their location as Destination, and requesting the user to allow tracking them live as they make their way to the Destination. When the user accepts the request, a Trip is started with the user as Driver and a Task that automatically gets marked completed when the user reaches the Destination. Customer service costs are reduced and co-ordination for one-off meetings becomes easy.
- Social apps, messaging apps, etc.: Friends use a messaging app to chat one-on-one or in a group leading to a meet up. Users in the chat track each other’s Trips with accurate ETAs and real-time locations when on the way.