THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON TRANSPORT SYSTEM (PART 1) BY WEREYADIA INSTITUTE

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON TRANSPORT SYSTEM (PART 1) BY WEREYADIA INSTITUTE

 USING A CASE STUDY OF UBER, IVM CONNECT AND
COWRY PAYMENT USED BY LAGOS STATE

UBER

The infamous
snowstorm incident took place in Paris, in December, 2009. Experiencing the
common urban woe of not getting a cab in a storm, Travis Kalanick and
Garrett Camp soon brainstormed an idea for a new company called UberCab.

The name Uber is
derived from the German word meaning “above all the rest,”
a bedrock principle Kalanick and Camp wanted for their fledgling company.

With UberCab, the
origin of the connectivity portion of the company-client dynamic was introduced
– all a rider had to do was open their mobile phone, tap a button, and find an
affordable ride in minutes.

Within months, Uber
dropped the “Cab” portion of its company name, opting to stick with
Uber and Uber alone – the company’s founders reasoned that Uber really wasn’t a
taxicab company in the traditional sense, so there was no reason to attach the
term “cab” to its name.

The company began
hiring right away, with one noteworthy story about how Uber found its eventual
chief executive officer. One year after its rollout, Kalanick sent a note out
on Twitter (
TWTR) . Ryan Graves was one of the
first responders and became Uber’s first employee.

March,
2009. 
Kalanick
and Camp, along with college buddies Oscar Salazar and Conrad Whelan, create
the “black car” ride service model that would ultimately become
UberCab.

June,
2010.
 UberCab is
launched in San Francisco, and the ride service immediately connects with the
city’s tech-heavy, and car-ownership averse, urban professionals.

October,
2010
. UberCab is
renamed Uber, and the company snares $1.25 million in capital funding
to expand. Former Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning is an early investor.
Two months later, CEO Graves steps down and is replaced by Kalanick.

May,
2011.
 Uber rolls
out in New York City, and is met with heavy resistance from the city’s massive
taxicab industry. Six months later, Uber launches in Paris.

December,
2013
. Uber drivers join
up to file a lawsuit against Uber, looking to be designated as employees, and
not contract workers. It’s the first of multiple showdowns between drivers and
Uber.

August,
2014
. Uber introduces
UberPool, a ride-sharing model that enables riders to “pool” their
rides and split the fare between multiple parties.

April,
2015.
 UberEats is
launched in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, giving consumers the Uber
experience with food delivery. The service immediately catches on with young
millennials too busy on the job to cook dinners – giving Uber another
profit line in the process.

February,
2017
. Uber is hit with
its first of several charges of sexual harassment in the workplace. A blog post
from a former company engineer lights the fuse with charges of a sexist
workplace culture at Uber. Management responds to the resulting outcry by
hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the matter, and
to look into the company’s workplace culture. Five months later, Kalanick
resigns as CEO after strong pressure from the company’s board of directors. He
is replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, the former CEO at Expedia (
EXPE)

May,
2019.
Uber goes public on
the New York Stock Exchange, with an initial share price of $45, and a market
capitalization of $75.5 billion.

PROGRAMMING
LANGUAGE USED BY UBER

Uber
website is developed with Python and Node.js to make the site usage easy
.

How Uber works: the technology stack

Geolocation

Uber’s
co-founders called Uber a location-based startup from day one. To create Uber,
Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick needed to understand the specifics of iOS and
Android geolocation features.

You’re a
bit luckier than they were back in 2010. Technology has progressed,and it has
become way easier to get information about the specifics of location features.
You can actually get this information right here, in this article. I hope it
will help you figure out how to make your own app like Uber.

Taxi-booking
apps rely on the following mapping and geolocation features:

1)
Identifying a device’s location

The Uber
app for iOS uses the CoreLocation
framework
 to locate a user’s device. The CoreLocation framework
provides classes and protocols to configure and schedule location delivery and
send location events to the server. The CoreLocation framework also lets Uber
define geographic regions and monitor a device’s movements as it crosses
defined boundaries.

Geolocation
for the Android version of the Uber app was implemented using Google’s Location
APIs. They can intelligently manage underlying location technology while
meeting various development needs when implementing location-based features.

2)
Providing driving directions

To
display point-to-point directions on a map within the app, developers of the
Uber app for iOS used MapKit.
Registering the app as a routing app then makes directions available to the
Maps app and all other mapping software on a user’s device.

Android
routes and directions are made possible by the 
Google Maps Android API.

3)
Integrating with mapping software

Uber
didn’t go it alone with maps and did what you would expect any location-based
service to do — implemented Google Maps for both iPhone and Android versions of
their app. Now, Google Maps offers 
integration with
Uber.

But
Google Maps isn’t the only service that Uber uses. To avoid paying Google for
access to their solutions, Uber buys mapping technology companies to solve
their logistics issues. And why wouldn’t they? After all, Uber wants to be the
global king of “local logistics and delivery of people and things.”

Geolocation
is indeed the most important technology in Uber’s technology stack. But you
might be interested in other functionalities as well if you want to know how to
build an app like Uber.

 

 

Push Notifications and SMS

After you order a ride, Uber sends you a couple of notifications: the
first when a driver accepts your request, and the second when the driver is
less than a minute away. They also notify you when a ride has been cancelled
for some reason.

You can receive these messages as SMS or push notifications (you can
set your preferred method in the settings).

You’ve probably heard of Uber’s surge pricing, which has been
vigorously criticized. Charging a premium for a ride (during peak hours,
inclement weather, holidays), the company argues, it gets more drivers on the
road and reduces demand from potential passengers.

This business model, however, didn’t always let a customer know when
surge pricing ended. Today, Uber users are notified when the price multiplier
is turned off.

Uber text messages are powered by the Twilio telecommunications provider. To
implement push notifications in the iOS app, Uber must have used 
Apple
Push Notifications Service
, and for the Android app they must have
used 
Google
Cloud Messaging 
(GCM).

NOTE: The Apple Push Notification Service doesn’t guarantee
delivery of push notifications. Messages are queued in such a way that if a
user’s device is offline or unavailable, not all push notifications will
necessarily be received. From a developer’s standpoint, APNS is
uni-directional. This means that there is no way to know if a user’s device has
received a notification, or, if it has been received, when it was received. On
the other hand, an SMS will always be delivered. If it isn’t delivered
successfully, your SMS provider will inform you that your message failed.
Unlike APNS, Google’s Cloud Messaging service allows you to monitor the
delivery of push notifications.

Payment Integration

Uber uses a cashless
system. You can pay via debit or credit card, or use a promo code. This removes
any human-to-human cash transfers from the equation, including tips. (Uber
takes 25 percent of a driver’s fare, which makes for a rather profitable
business model.)

When accepting card
payments, there are certain requirements that companies must comply with. In
the US, these are known as PCI requirements. The Payment Card Industry Data
Security Standards (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that
all companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain
a secure environment. In effect, this applies to any merchant that has a
Merchant ID (MID).

Uber chose to partner
with Braintree, one of the leaders in the mobile payment market, to accept card
payments. Just for the record, we should mention another great payment system,
Stripe, which provides its payment services to Uber’s competitor Lyft and to
other popular on-demand economy startups such as Postmates and Instacart.

Uber also uses
PayPal’s 
Card.io service for credit card scanning on
iOS. Card.io allows you to input credit card information by simply holding up
your credit card in front of your phone’s camera. The app ‘sees’ the card,
reads the numbers, and enters the information for you. With Android, though,
you have to manually enter credit card data to link a card to your Uber
account.

In
addition, PayPal’s system has Uber integration, meaning that customers can pay
for the taxi service directly from their PayPal accounts (though this is not
available globally in all of Uber’s markets). You can also 
split your fare
with your friends directly in the app.

 

How Uber Used Mobile Performance Engineering To Pull Ahead

 

Uber is the
quintessential “unicorn”—not much of a track record, but a valuation
that tops $1 billion. But is its success really that ephemeral? Matt Ranney,
chief systems architect for Uber, who explained that it all comes down to
performance engineering.

Yes, the company
has a great business model, but its explosive growth was only possible with a
relentless focus on performance. And Uber’s approach is not as unusual as it
might seem. The problems Uber faces—and the tools it uses to solve them—are
common to enterprises around the world
.

Why Uber’s challenge is your
challenge

The list of
companies modeling the disruptive sharing economy and crowdsourcing is well
known: Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, etc. These companies have no inventory and no
products, and yet they are worth billions. They seem to have unique business
models that you could never hope to duplicate. But perhaps they are not so
unusual.

Consider this: At
its core, Uber’s business model is a dispatch system. How many businesses are
built around dispatch systems? Cleaning services, mechanical support, technical
support, even food and education services can be controlled through dispatch.
What makes Uber so incredibly successful is not its business model, but how
easy it is for people to work inside of its business model.

What Uber has
exposed is that companies can transform a business if they engage with
customers more effectively. But getting that engagement is tough.

According to
Ranney, “Each person connecting to Uber is having a unique experience with
highly personalized data. This level of personalization at the scale Uber
operates brings problems. Uber’s business is not one where the data can be
cached or deployed through CDNs [content delivery networks]. What complicates
issues is that mobile networks are simply not as fast as a traditional PC. As
an example, the session time for a typical mobile device is ten times longer
than a PC.”

“Another
challenge is that Uber cannot afford a system failure. Ever,” said Ranney.
“If a Uber customer cannot get a Uber car, then they will switch to
another app. There is no brand loyalty. The systems must always work.”

Ranney lists three
key areas that Uber needs for a fully redundant system:

·        
Performance: What types of tests do you run to ensure that
your systems keep running?

·        
Data: How can data operate in an environment where a
data connection is intermittent?

·        
Future proofing: What technologies does Uber invest in to
improve efficiencies in its systems?

Ranney sees this as
necessary to support the load data stores require. “The result is that all
processes are treated the same, whether they are running on the same machine or
not,” he said.

How Uber gets killer
performance

A common thread
through all of Uber’s systems is performance, performance, and performance.
Each technology is chosen because it is the most stable and delivers the
fastest response.

In addition to
this, Uber looks to ensure that tools work independently of each other and are
destructible. To this end, Uber actively attempts to crash its systems,
including networks, databases, and APIs. The system must work even when it is
down.

Starting with the
mobile apps: Uber does not use HTML5 or hybrid solutions in them. All of the
coding is completed with native code using the performance and analysis tools
in Xcode and Android Studio.

The next step is a
stateful server model to manage the high levels of demand. Uber’s answer is a
mixture of open source solutions and homegrown magic. Wrapping the process is
Uber’s Ringpop technology, which is similar in concept to big data solutions
such as Riak, Memcache, and Amazon’s Dynamo. Ringpop also manages cluster
membership and failure detection using SWIM (Scalable Weakly-consistent,
Infection-style Process Group Membership Protocol).

The level of
performance does not stop at the server. The communication channel, or RPC, is
also modified. Uber’s version is called TChannel. It is based on Twitter’s
multiplex RPC protocol, Mux.

Uber needed to
invent its own RPC communication channel because it supports more languages
than Twitter. Ranney added, “We are even looking to replace HTTP+JSON, a
typical REST API, with Thrift, as our tests are showing that it is 20 times
faster. We need all the speed we can get.”

Uber’s approach to data

Performance for
Uber goes to extremes with data. The typical data structure for a company is a
relational database. The problem that Uber sees with relational databases is
that the whole system can come down if the database is not available.

Uber uses big data
systems as a foundation for its technologies, with tools such as Riak,
Postgres, Redis, and MySQL. Also, the company is extending MySQL with its
distributed column store to orchestrate the data processes.

What is clever is
that Uber can kill the whole database system and still run. When Steve Jobs
took to the stage in January 2007, he described the iPhone as a “computer
in your pocket.” Uber is taking that quite literally. Uber uses drivers’
phones as the method of distributing data, achieving a kind of “super
distributed computing.”

The result is that
stress on replicating data is eliminated from the data centers. The trick is
achieved by the phone checking in with a server every four seconds to receive
an encrypted digest. If a server does not respond, the phone moves to a new
server. The whole data environment is redundant. Also, the more drivers, the
more redundancy is added to the system.

In many ways, it is
Uber’s use of phones that is the secret sauce to its systems. Using smartphones
for distributed computing is a step companies do not often take.

Future-proofing Uber’s systems
for growth

In addition to the
core supply-and-demand dispatch systems, Uber does have a third system: Disco.
Ranney said, “Disco is the dispatch optimization system. Disco’s main
function is to match supply with demand. Disco, however, allows Uber to look
into the future. We can match predictive supply and demand, whereas our old
system could only match what we knew then.”

The advantage Disco
provides Uber is clear: Through data, Uber can help busy drivers keep
efficiently picking up riders. To do this, Uber needs a global index that
requires a massive amount of data: over 1 million writes per second.

Uber is using
Google’s S2 Geometry Library to break down the data and get it out. This
library is designed to split data into smaller geographical sections. The
result is that each section is not handling only the writes for that
geographical location. This in turns helps the company send drivers rapid
updates on where riders are located and provide more accurate ETAs for trips.
It also gives Uber the opportunity to expand its business into a specific
geography.

UBER BUSINESS
MODEL/ REVENUE GENERATION MODEL

These
are some of the major questions any entrepreneur in the on-demand startup space
would be curious about, before working on his/her own “Uber for X” business
model.

Uber’s
business model has turned out to be so successful and popular that it has
fuelled a new startup economy, the “on-demand economy”.

Uber
is no longer just the on-demand cab hailing service we used to know. It has
dipped its toes into other territories as well – from Uber Eats (on-demand food
delivery) to Uber Freight (on-demand trucking).

If you have ever travelled in a taxi, you might have paid the
driver in cash at the end of your journey. The cash collected by each journey
is the only source of revenue for a traditional cab company. 
Uber is
no different. Neither does
 Uber have
a different revenue model than the one mentioned above nor it has any other
source of revenue as of now. But just imagine 1 million rides a day. It will
help you calculate those big numbers that the company earns. Let’s
dig a little deeper to understand Uber’s source of income and see how uber
works

If you’re wondering what is Uber technologies fee, what has
made them so successful is the fact that the revenue model is as unique as
their business model. See how uber works:

 1. Different
cab models to cater to everyone
:

Uber has
not limited itself to a particular segment of cars or to a particular segment
of people. There is Uber X, Uber Black for those who love to travel in a black
car, Uber Taxi for those looking for cost-efficient solutions and Uber SUV for
those who want luxury.

2. Surge Pricing
Technology
:

Variation in cab fares according to the situation is an
important aspect of their
 business model.
Whenever the demand increases, per mile prices, are automatically increased.
The new price depends on the number of available drivers and the number of
requests made by people who want to travel.

3. Other Uber rides:

Uber has
come a long way from cabs. It now offers boats, helicopters, as well as some
other transportation, means 
on demand. They recently launched a motor­cycle-pickup service
in Paris, a delivery service in San Francisco, and an ice-cream-truck-delivery
service in a few cities too. However, these means are available in
selected geographical locations but it has led them to add new
streams of revenue into its business model.

Salient
Features of Uber

·        
A user can tap his smartphone and call
a cab at his location.

·        
The driver has the option to accept or
reject a ride.

·        
If the driver accepts the ride, driver
details are sent to the customer along with ETA.

·        
The customer can track the driver as he
arrives at his location.

·        
The driver can also track the exact
location of the customer and reach his exact location.

·        
The payment procedure is handled
by them

·        
In some countries like
India, they have even started accepting cash payments which are paid
directly to the driver.

·        
The business model had a rating
system in place for drivers right from the beginning, where a customer can rate
the driver after his ride.

Value
Propositions

Customers:

·        
No need to wait for a taxi for a long
time.

·        
Free rides on certain occasions and
discounts from time to time.

·        
Prices lesser than the normal taxi
fares.

Drivers:

·        
An additional source of income.

·        
Flexible working schedules. Can work
part-time or simply whenever they like.

·        
Easy payment procedure.

·        
Those who love to drive can earn money
while pursuing their hobby.

·        
Uber pays drivers to be online, even if
they don’t get any request.

Customer
Segments

·        
Do not own a car.

·        
Do not want to drive themselves to a
party or function.

·        
Like to travel in style and want to be
treated like a VIP.

·        
Want a cost-efficient cab at their
doorstep.

Uber has
such a vast customer segment that it has got something on offer for everyone.
From 
Uber Taxis to Uber Black and from Uber X to
Uber SUV, the company has got a vast range for its customers to make a choice.

Uber serves
professionals as they hire an Uber cab to and fro work. For this 
Uber did
few tie-ups with corporates in the beginning and does so when it launches in a
new city in a new country. Apart from professionals, Uber tries to touch the
hearts of people by offering special services like:

Uber for Kids: A special service from Uber dedicated
to parents who want their kids to reach home from school in an Uber cab.

Uber for Senior Citizens: Another special service from Uber where
it targets senior citizens. As per the statistics, Senior citizens make for up
to 30% to 40% of total rides in many cities. This made Uber have some special
features for seniors and hence attract more senior citizens on the
platform. 

 


To be continued: Part 2

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