Bangalore, India (PressExposure) November 04, 2009 -- Finding directions or locating places in the bustling city of Bangalore is not easy, especially so when there is high possibility that you will receive wrong directions by the heap from passers-by or with auto drivers who will take you for a ride- literally.
Inspired to help the average Bangalorean in the rapidly growing city, 4 former Infosys engineers hit upon a unique solution to this problem. The foursome- Sudarshan HS, Pavaman Athani, Sairam Rajamani and Rahul RS- combined their expertise in the fields of product development and running it to start an innovative search and directions service in 2008 called Latlong. It is an SMS service, wherein, people can search WHERE a place is and also HOW to get there from any other place in Bangalore.
In the one year of its operation catering to 50,000 users, Latlong has been moulded to suit peopleâs requirement by adding features which in Latlongâs words will surely âGET YOU THEREâ.
Latlong / 90088 90088 directions are easy to understand, explained in laymanâs language with familiar landmarks that virtually makes it impossible to get lost in the city ever again. All that the end user needs is a phone that has the capability to send and receive plain text messages. The SMS platform is easier to use, less time consuming and way cheaper than a GPS navigation service or other such services.
Approx auto fare: For those Bangaloreans who will think twice before hopping on to an auto and to those who never manage to get down from one without having an argument over the auto fare, Latlong provides a simple solution. Latlong provides information on the approximate auto fare and the distance in kms in the direction search results. Armed with the info Bangaloreans can now check the exact distance travelled as well as confirm if the meter reading is accurate.
E.g: For the search RT Nagar to SBM Avenue Road the reply sms will be as follows Dist: 7.2 km (approx. 50 Rs by Auto) BDA Complex RT Nagar, Cantt Rly Stn underpass, Indian Express Jn, Go on Vidhana Veedhi towards KR circle, Go 0.2k, Pass Blr GPO(L), Go 1.3k, Continue@KR Circle (After BESCOM Head Qtrs) into Post Office Road, Go 0.7k, Turn R at Deadend into District Office Rd, Go 100m, End SBM on Left.
Automatic language correction: To overcome hitches presented by miss-spelt place names and sms language, Latlong has been developed to be capable of phonetic matching. In this way the Latlong software will understand and also be able to give results to sms with âtypoâ errors. HS Sudarshan, CEO, Onze says âWe understand 95 per cent of the spellings as there is a pattern to the errorsâ.
Tag your business in Latlong: Latlong not only helping individuals in the city but also helps any company or business that has people visiting them. For example, Shops today loose out on many customers because their customers could not find them easily. Luckily, Latlong has solved this problem for numerous retail businesses. Retail businesses can get their business mapped, by sending sms MAPME with name of their business to 9008890088.
Feedback: To make the Latlong service interactive and fully beneficial to its users, Onze has introduced the feedback option in its search results. If the user is not satisfied with the reply sms or if more clarity is needed on the directions he/she can reply âNOâ to the sms result following which the Onze staff will analyze the results and correct any errors so that the same or similar error is not repeated again.
Continuous update of new/unmapped places: is carried out by the Onze team as part of Onzeâs effort to constantly update new or unmapped places in Bangalore. So if directions for a particular place do not appear the first time a user asks for it, it will appear after a few days as the Onze team will immediately set about mapping and including it in the Latlong maps.
âWe work hard to keep our maps updated. Our surveyors are on the road mapping the latest traffic diversions, new landmarks and other such changes to give the users the optimum resultâ said Sudarshan.
Expansion to other cities: âFollowing the benefits and success of the service in Bangalore, Onze is now looking at expanding Latlong to other cities and we will be launching the service in Chennai soonâ said Sudarshan. âLatlongâs foray into Chennai will enable the people of the city to experience a location based service at its simplest and best for free right on their mobile phones â he added.
How Latlong works: The user sends an SMS to 90088 90088. The request goes to a server managed by Onze. The server automatically and instantaneously entertains the request from the customer as the information is already preloaded into the server.
The service has been tailored to address the unique market requirements of India where people are not used to navigation maps and location based services are yet to catch up. Onze was founded with the aim of building India's best Location Based Service.
"There are a lot of challenges that the LBS industry in India is facing currently and most important of these is availability of accurate GIS (Geographic Information System). The problem lies in the fact that the current GIS data has been built for other requirements and not for LBSâ says Sudarshan H S, CEO of Onze Technologies.
Latlong overcomes the usual shortcomings that hinder the growth of such services in India by being programmed to function through the text platform.
The SMS service is available free of charge and all you pay is the standard SMS rate according to your plan. It needs no subscription. The Latlong system is equipped to understand the customersâ request and gives them what they want â directions! It can be used to look for restaurants, pharmacies, shopping centres, petrol bunks, ATMs etc., in Bangalore as well as localities and roads.