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Commuteaze - Smart Ticketing app

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CommutEaze is a mobile application that intends to make people’s experience of
commuting in buses easier and richer.
Everyday, thousands of people use public bus transport systems in the towns and cities
of India. And everyday, the commute gets a little more tiresome, the buses a little more
crowded and a sense of general well being in the commuters, a little more faded.
We board buses not knowing if we would get a place to sit at any point on the long journey
home, or to work, or on our way to see our loved ones.
CommutEaze aims to help the everyday commuters who battle all odds in order to
transverse distances, great or small, to their destinations.This app will provide commuters
and transport providers with details of bus vacancies and track their positions en route in
real time.

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Commuteaze - Smart Ticketing app

  1. 1. NEW TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS, DESIGN AND BUSINESS MODELS FINAL REPORT Date of submission 20th August, 2014
  2. 2. INDEX 1. The app/ 2 2. The idea/ 2 2.1 Stage 1: Understanding a mobile application/ 2 2.1.1 App development 2.1.2 Key learning 2.2 Stage 2: Brainstorming for potential ideas/ 3 2.3 Stage 3: Precedent study and selection/ 4 3. The problem/ 4 3.1 Problem definition/ 4 3.2 Literature survey/ 5 3.2.1 Performance indicators 3.3 Primary research/ 7 4. Precedent study/ 7 5. App in detail/ 8 5.1 Features/ 8 5.2 Process flowchart/ 8 5.3 Value proposition/ 8 5.3.1 Products and services 5.3.2 Gain creators 5.3.3 Pain relievers 5.3.4 Gains 5.3.5 Pains 5.3.6 Customer jobs 5.4 The X factor/ 10 6. Design of the app/ 10 7. Lean canvas model/ 12 7.1 Unique value proposition/ 12 7.1.1 Commuters 7.1.2 RTC 7.2 Channels/ 12 7.3 Costs/ 13 7.3.1 Fixed costs 7.3.2 Variable costs 7.3.3 Key metrics 8. Business model & commercialisation/ 14 8.1 Business model/ 16 8.2 Financial feasibility projections/ 18 8.2.1 Target segment 8.2.2 Revenue assumptions and estimates 8.2.3 Team management and salary structure 8.3 Results of financial analysis/ 19 8.4 Risks/ 20 9. References/ 21
  3. 3. 1| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app
  4. 4. 2| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 1. The app CommutEaze is a mobile application that intends to make people’s experience of commuting in buses easier and richer. Everyday, thousands of people use public bus transport systems in the towns and cities of India. And everyday, the commute gets a little more tiresome, the buses a little more crowded and a sense of general well being in the commuters, a little more faded. We board buses not knowing if we would get a place to sit at any point on the long journey home, or to work, or on our way to see our loved ones. CommutEaze aims to help the everyday commuters who battle all odds in order to transverse distances, great or small, to their destinations.This app will provide commuters and transport providers with details of bus vacancies and track their positions en route in real time. 2. The idea The following 3 step process was followed to decide on the new technology application design idea: 2.1 Stage 1 understanding a mobile application In this stage, we gained a general understanding of the concept of mobile applications and their contexts of usage in today’s world through inputs from various books, blogs and a series of talks by experts from Microsoft and Nokia. A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps are usually available through application distribution platforms, which began appearing in 2008 and are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others must be bought. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone or Windows Phone, but sometimes they can be downloaded to laptops or desktop computers. Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval, including email, calendar, contacts, and stock market and weather information. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking, order-tracking, ticket purchases and recently mobile medical apps. The explosion in number and variety of apps made discovery a challenge, which in turn led to the creation of a wide range of review, recommendation, and curation sources, including blogs, magazines, and dedicated online app-discovery services. 2.1.1 App development Developing apps for mobile devices requires considering the constraints and features of
  5. 5. 3| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app these devices. Mobile devices run on battery and have less powerful processors than personal computers and also have more features such as location detection and cameras. Developers also have to consider a lengthy array of screen sizes, hardware specifications and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms. As part of the development process, Mobile User Interface (UI) Design is also an essential in the creation of mobile apps. Mobile UI considers constraints & contexts, screen, input and mobility as outlines for design. The user is often the focus of interaction with their device, and the interface entails components of both hardware and software. User input allows for the users to manipulate a system, and device's output allows the system to indicate the effects of the users' manipulation. Mobile UI design constraints include limited attention and form factors, such as a mobile device's screen size for a user's hand(s). Mobile UI contexts signal cues from user activity, such as location and scheduling that can be shown from user interactions within a mobile application. Overall, mobile UI design's goal is primarily for an understandable, user-friendly interface. 2.1.2 Key learnings: a. Design  User interface should consider users' limited attention and minimize keystrokes.  UI should be task-oriented with a minimum set of functions  Most of the options should be embedded using icons that are universal in design in terms of the message they convey  Colour is a very important parameter  App may be integrated with various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. b. Business  The Freemium model generally helps attract new users to try the app.  Partnering with different stakeholders in diverse fields can help expand user base.  Data analytics is emerging as a very strong base for revenue generation. 2.2 Stage 2 brainstorming for potential ideas In this stage, we brainstormed over various gaps in the sphere of mobile app development and expanded their potential for development. 1. Medicine Patch A microchip implant on humans which will be used to release medicines into a patient's body. The time and dosage of medicine being released will be done by the patient using an app.
  6. 6. 4| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 2. EEG/ ECG on the Headphones An app which will make use of conventional wearable devices like headphones to take medical readings. These devices will be able to talk to a smartphone with the app displaying the data. 3. Bus vacancy tracker An app that allows its user to get the realtime data of seat available and the time of arrival of the bus to the bus stops to the mobile. 4. Bike ex An app to facilitate exchange of luxury bike to have change in the day to day travel life. 5. Piracy Killer This app will help users figure out whether a product which they bought (like tshirts, watches) is real or fake 6. Twenty questions Often people wish to remember name of a person or a place that they have been to or some other proper noun but they only remember characteristics of that entity and now the name. This app will prompt the users with the correct name based on the hints or characteristics which are thrown at them 7. Smoke zone locator This app will help users identify smoke zones within the building they are currently in or any building that they wish to check for. 2.3 Stage 3 precedent study and selection In this stage, the ideas for apps were filtered and eliminated to arrive at the final app. All the ideas were brainstormed and thorough background research was carried out for every idea. The remaining ones were expanded on the basis of their market potential on the basis of existing precedents in the market, market potential, feasibility for development and learning potential. According to the evaluation on the above parameters, the bus tracking app was finally selected. 3. The problem In this section, we will discuss the problem we are trying to solve and our take on it. 3.1 Problem definition Of all the hardships of public transport, the worst is boarding a bus and then finding it overcrowded. Standing in an overcrowded bus, squished between the sweaty flesh of an overworked and exhausted crowd of people is hardly a walk in the park. If the commuter can be provided with information about buses on his/ her desired route along with current and predicted vacancies by the time they board the bus, they will be empowered to make an informed decision about their travel arrangements. Real time tracking of the position of the bus on its route can help the service provider keep track of the progress, as well as the number of tickets punched on that route at any given point of time, while also giving information to the commuter about incoming buses.
  7. 7. 5| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app Besides, the data collected from the users can also be used by the bus service providers to improve their services by predicting and deploying the optimum number of buses on each route, thus vastly improving the experience for everyone- the commuter, the service provider and the bus service employees. 3.2 Literature survey In the last decade more than a dozen world cities have innovations in technology that are raising the efficiency and transformed their mobility through bus based public capability of bus transport systems. 1. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in its modern avatar. 2. Increased affordability of technology such as GPS devices and centralized control equipment along with fare collection devices, making close monitoring of system operations and continuous improvement possible. 3. Belief by local leadership that bus based solutions can for the procurement of new buses nationwide. Cities across the country that have received these buses are beginning to incorporate them into their existing fleets or are starting entirely new public bus companies to operate them. 3.2.1 Performance indicators The main indicators of bus system performance of each system are summarised below. With the kind of population that the cities of today have, and the large numbers of commuters on public bus services, empowering the people who depend on the bus services for their daily activities with vital information such as bus routes, real time positions and vacancy becomes all the more important.
  8. 8. 6| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app
  9. 9. 7| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 3.3 Primary research A small market survey of a sample set of 10 students in Ahmedabad (age groups 15-25) and 10 Ahmedabad locals above the age of 30 were approached and asked if they would want to use a bus vacancy tracking service if available. And if they did, would it affect their decision as to which bus to board? Yes- they would use it to avoid overcrowded buses No- it would not affect their choices Students 7 3 Working class 5 5 Total 12 8 A large percentage of the students we asked, especially the female students, were enthusiastic about a service that would help them avoid overcrowded buses. They would not mind waiting for another 10-15 minutes if they knew that another, less crowded bus is on the way. The working population, however, showed interest in the service only in case the journey was being made in the evening time, and that too only those who had to travel long distance to reach their destinations. 4. Precedent study While we did find apps that helped commuters track bus positions and get information about other factors such as weather forecast, traffic hotspots, etc., none actually solved the purpose of tracking bus vacancies and providing information about the same.
  10. 10. 8| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app Sign in/ Sign up/ Guest user Choose FROM station Choose TO station Save route (optional) Check buses available Check bus vacancy Save trip Search again (repeat) 5. App in detail In this section, we shall discuss features of the app, the value proposition through the value proposition canvas and see the factors which will make the app more successful. 5.1 Features The app will have the following features for the user  Track bus vacancies for buses on particular routes  Give information about when the next bus will arrive at a stop and how crowded/ vacant it is.  Search for possible routes that will provide the least crowded buses  Bus conductors will be able to save routes on the ticketing smart machine using the app and punch tickets with the tap of a button. This will enable the service providers to keep track of the buses and their occupancy at any given point of time.  The data provided by the users can be used by the transport companies to analyse and determine which routes need an improvement in services and thus contribute to overall development of fleet.  Users can save bus routes and use the app to plan their travel and overall itinerary for the day. 5.2 Process flowchart In this section, we will describe the entire process to be followed while using the app for a very simple base scenario. 5.3 Value proposition In this section, the value proposition of the app will be discussed on the basis of the value proposition canvas.
  11. 11. 9| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 5.3.1 Products and services The app will provide the following services:  Search for buses on a specific route between two stations  Provide details of the next bus at a specific station  Provide details about vacancy in each bus on a particular route  Analyse and predict vacancies on a station along the specified route.  Save routes and customise interface for users.  Save routes for the bus conductors.  Provide real time tracking of buses and occupancy on specified routes. 5.3.2 Gain creators  It will save customers time, effort and money by giving them cheap and quick solutions.  It will produce outcomes in tandem with customer expectation and needs on the basis of their preferred bus routes.  Outperforms current solutions by enriching the customer experience.  Creates positive outcomes in terms of standard of service by ensuring customer satisfaction.  As there is virtually no extra cost to the smartphone user, this solution is easy to adopt. 5.3.3 Pain Relievers  Enriches the traveling experience of the customer by empowering them to make decisions about their commute  Fixes current solutions which underperform.  Eliminates uncertainties in the course of the journey.  Limits the chances of the commuters boarding the wrong buses. 5.3.4 Gains  Savings of time, money and effort.  Customers expect an outcome where they would get a list of travel suggestions according to their route preferences. They, however, will be additionally presented with occupancy details and route suggestions as well, thus improving their experience.  Fulfils the purpose of current solutions.  Likelihood of adopting the solution increases the appropriateness of the search results is improved. 5.3.5 Pains  Planning bus routes for optimal time and energy.  Overcrowded buses affect general well being of customers.
  12. 12. 10| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app  The overall experience is spoilt when the customer encounters overcrowded buses, or boards the wrong bus. 5.3.6 Customer jobs  Customer plans his travel in order to make it time and cost effective.  The experience and quality of life of customer is enriched.  Customer increases revenue for the service provider, thus increasing the revenue for the app in the long run. 5.4 The X Factor There are several factors that ensure the success and relevance of the app in the long run.  Uses transport providers to attract consumers and vice versa  Accumulates occupancy patterns over time and makes accurate predictions.  Makes early infrastructural investment in buses.  Provides a one-stop solution for bus travel woes. 6. Design of the app The screenshots of the prototype developed are as below. Here, a person selects a bus route by choosing the ‘to’ and ‘from’ stops. This is a very basic case and can be improved after alpha and beta testing.
  13. 13. 11| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app
  14. 14. 12| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 7. Lean canvas model 7.1 Unique value proposition The app offers unique value to both commuters and Road Transportation Company. 7.1.1 Commuters Commuteaze provides a one stop solution for planning their commute over public transport. This app provides real time information of the buses with the highest level of accuracy and provides occupancy details. This will greatly help the commuter in travelling on time and at his/her own comfort level. 7.1.2 Road transport company Commuteaze will provide a real time update on the entire fleet. In addition to location information, Commuteaze will also give visibility around the occupancy rate of the buses. This will help the Road Transport Company to dynamically address fluctuating demands or sudden spike in demands. This will help the Road Transport Company keep their occupancy rates high and reduce the attrition of commuters from buses to auto rickshaws or taxis. 7.2 Channels The customers will be reached over various Channel Phases in the following manner: Road Transport Company Commuters Awareness  Reach out through direct sales team and make a sales pitch  Generate awareness by increasing usage of commuteaze among commuters of other cities  Reach out to the innovators and early adopters through public transport related online forum. Eg – skyscrapercity.com  Run outdoor advertising at each Bus stop in collaboration with road transport cooperation  Generate buzz in the social media by having a social media campaign. Education  Run a pilot study in the first city where Commuteaze will be operationalised  Create case studies on successful implementation of Commuteaze  Share best practises on using Commuteaze platfom  As part of the outdoor communication, explain the basic steps of installing and using the app  Create informational content online to help the customers understand the app better
  15. 15. 13| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app Purchase  Annual subscription model  Value added services provided as SaaS  Keep the application free for commuters Delivery  Provide smart ticket printing device  Provide software to receive data from smart ticket printing device across the city  Through the app store with the launch of app on android ecosystem at the earliest After Sales  Conduct training sessions for bus conductors  Provide technology support in managing the operations. It may be an additional source of income  Monitor the user experience through app store ratings, comments and feedback on social media  Provide call centre service for people who are unable to use the app 7.3 Costs The costs incurred can be divided into fixed costs and variable costs. 7.3.1 Fixed costs The fixed cost component will consist of the following:  Cost of developing the core commuter app  Cost of developing the core bus conductor app  Cost of developing the software necessary for receiving the bus conductor data in real time 7.3.2 Variable costs These are the costs incurred each time a new city is added to the ecosystem:  Cost of customizing the commuter app based on the city. Eg – Language support etc  Cost of customizing the bus conductor app. Eg – Fare structure etc  Sales and marketing costs  Customer support costs 7.3. Key metrics To ascertain the success of commuteaze, we may track the following measures for a given time period:  Number of Transport Companies brought on board
  16. 16. 14| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app  Number of downloads of the app  Ratings on the app store  Number of positive and negative reviews on the app store  Number of requests made on the app  Number of complaints filed through the call centre The above metrics can be segmented on the basis of cities and measure the success in each city. Additionally, there are some other metrics which can be used to understand the behaviour of Transport Companies:  Number of route changes being made to handle high demand in a certain area  Percentage coverage of Smart Ticketing Devices in the city buses 8. Business model and commercialisation In this section, we shall discuss the business model in detail and the commercialisation process for the app.
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  18. 18. 16| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 8.1 Business model
  19. 19. 17| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app
  20. 20. 18| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 8.2 Financial Feasibility Projections We have segregated revenue source into two, first is annual contract with bus transport services and second is advertising revenue. According to our projections advertising revenue are quite minimal and are not the focus for us. They are just another bonus promotion tool helping in sales of the contract. Our cost structure is divided into promotion costs, Salaries and Infrastructure cost. Our target segment are tier2 and tier1 cities. At the maximum clientele level the cities which we can cater to is 67 tier 2 cities and 5 metro cities. We carried out a breakeven analysis over the financial year 2015 and found out the required breakeven number of clients needed to make this model work. Below are some of source side variables and constraints for the financial model: 8.2.1. Target segment 8.2.2. Revenue Assumptions and Estimations 8.2.3. Team management and salary structure Below are the financials for the optimistic view that we can get 10 clients in 1 year. We created a model through which we can adjust cost heads. With a standard assumption on costs we get that can see positive cash flows coming with 4 clients. Our initial lump sum expenditure would be in promotional cost. But to offset initial cost we would need more clients.
  21. 21. 19| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 8.3 Results of the financial analysis  The time of breakeven will depend on number of clients we have. Higher the number of clients, lower is the breakeven time.  With 4 clients at the end of first year, we breakeven after 2 more years of business, with the assumption that contracts are maintained  With 10 clients at the end of first year, we breakeven the next month.  A conservative guess for us would be to have around 4 clients at the end of first year and 10 clients at the end of second year.  Tech developer and designer costs would be fixed over the span of business and would not increase proportionally with the business. Thus it Is essential to hire quality tech developer and designer for the development.  We have reserved Rs 2,00,000 for the promotions in the first year spent in the lump sum of Rs 50,000. The promotions costs is estimated to remain same for first three years and then gradually decrease. The lump sum promotion costs are easily absorbed according to the model.  Extension of contracts is the most important aspect in this business.Effort should be spent on making the App more user friendly and pertinent making sure that the bus transport corporations extend the contract
  22. 22. 20| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 8.4 Risks: Like any other product, Commuteaze faces some risks as it brings product to the market and expands its operations. Risk Mitigation Low adoption rate of new hardware: The bus transport company may not want to upgrade its hardware at the same point of time but phase it out. This might lead to results not being available for various bus routes within a city and would spoil the commuter experience and would then lead to lower adoption rate. Create a user experience without occupancy data: The app should be able to provide an experience to the user without occupancy data which would show static timetable to the customers. Low migration of customers from existing transport apps to Commuteaze: With a lot of bus commute apps on the marketplace and in the commuter’s phone, the commuters might exhibit inertia in moving from the current apps to Commuteaze Promotional offers to encourage download and usage: Provide discounts or free tickets if the commuters download the app. Inaccurate occupancy prediction algorithm: A poor occupancy prediction might lead to a lower customer satisfaction Collect data before starting prediction: If the prediction algorithm is seen to be displaying inaccurate predictions, the feature should be stopped until sufficient data has been collected
  23. 23. 21| CommutEaze: Bus vacancy tracking app 9. References 1. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc 2. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/business_model_canvas_pos ter.pdf 3. https://canvanizer.com/new/business-model-canvas 4. http://practicetrumpstheory.com/2012/02/why-lean-canvas/ 5. https://leanstack.com/LeanCanvas.pdf 6. http://practicetrumpstheory.com/2010/08/businessmodelcanvas/ 7. Fling, Brian, Mobile design and development, Sebastopol, O’Reilly, 2009 8. Basant, R and Devika Vyas, ‘Elements of a business model’, Teaching Note, IIM-A, 2010 9. Alexander Ostwalder, Yves Pigneur, Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, Game changers.

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