Covid-19 pandemic has stressed the importance of digital and using technology to leverage the medium be it brands or even somebody like the BEST Services in Mumbai. Businesses were forced to change and adapt to a new normal, but what remained at the core of that change was technology.
BEST is the largest organised bus transport network among major Indian cities that caters to roughly 5-6 million commuters every day. The brief was to provide real time data from the buses to commuters to keep them better informed and make their commutes easier to plan. This would be the first step in a roadmap to a scalable, easy-to-access transportation system.
We spoke to Tanay Kumar- CEO, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Fractal Ink, Linked by Isobar on the challenges of designing the App and the research behind it.
In the first place why did BEST need an APP like this?
BEST is the largest organized bus transport network among major Indian cities that caters to roughly 5-6 million commuters every day. BEST is one of the oldest organisations of the country and since then has been relentlessly serving all segments of the population. Today, even though digital has deeply penetrated our lives, this lifeline still operated on manual methods of communication. BEST last year took up this mammoth task of creating a “Bus Information System” that leverages the power of mobility and digital tech to deliver real-time information of Buses.
What was Fractal Ink thought process in designing this APP?
BEST new information system was built with latest AI tech which gives design an edge over others to improve itself with time. It improves communication and personalizes it as per the individual using it. Whether it is to help person wake up before her/his stop because of the sleepy nature or build alarms for forgetful behaviour.
BEST Pravas is an app that is designed to breathe fresh life into the lifeline of Mumbai. Designed for users across a spectrum of education levels and economics, the app is simple and intuitive. We did not only designed the app but build a whole design system, so that in the coming times it’s scalable and adaptable to any situation.
What is the technology used in giving real-time data to the commuters? How much of data does it use?
Fractal Ink developed an Android mobile app that provides the user with real-time data on bus location. While the app works on Smartphones, it has been tested with the lowest phone variants available in the market. Data usage is low as it only uses data for bus status and the mode of transfer is through text data only. All other features work in offline mode. The app is light on storage and only takes up about 20MB of space.
What has been the response from the client and have the commuter benefited?
“BEST is an institution of Mumbai that has become iconic over the decades. Users expect much more from every aspect of their life and they expect more of BEST too. We have taken on the onus of making BEST bus service more relevant and convenient to the city by developing an information system which can be accessed on Mobile.The aim is to bring the service closer to people and to make information accessible at their fingertips. We partnered with Fractal Ink to design this experience in a way that it resonates with our users because they brought a deep understanding of user needs and expectations to this project”, said Surendra Kumar Bagde, General Manager, BEST
The app currently has over 100k+ downloads on the Play Store.
In this crisis and lockdown, the need for this APP?
It is called probably blessing in disguise. The lockdown probably gave an opportunity for this digital intervention to shine through. In the times when people are afraid of getting near to anybody, shaking hands or even talking at times, this app helps people answer their queries with just a click. Also with the low frequency of buses and staff, BEST is still able to now maintain accuracy of information through digital. This crisis has shown how fast organisations can evolve if they are digitally ready. As a case would urge the companies, to dig deeper and look for opportunities which can lead on to transformation.