Too many features spoil the broth!

As mentioned in the previous post on school bus tracking, there are countless possibilities once the GPS data is available at the server. Route deviation alerts, proximity based alerts, SMS alerts for convenience are the popular ones.

With the growing competition in the market, vendors are adding more features to gain the customer’s attention. The customers are getting overwhelmed by the sheer complexities of the solutions.

Do the features really add to the overall value of the solution? Or are they adding to the parents’ stress?

Let’s take 2 examples to enrich the argument.

  1. Proximity based alerts: These are alerts sent to a customer when the associated school-bus is ‘near’ them. How is this done? Usually for a bus route, all of its bus stops are geo-tagged. When the bus reaches a stop, an alert is sent to the parents of the next stop. For eg: When the bus reaches Matunga, alerts will be sent to parents whose stop is at Dadar. The data and calculations of the solution get increased to a high extent with the inclusion of such a system. This can impact the performance of error-free tracking. What if there is no child to be dropped on a particular day at a particular stop? What if the driver skips the stop and takes a shorter route? The parents of the next stop will not get the alerts. Clearly, the core purpose of the solution to provide a stress-free tracking is defeated.
  2. SMS based alerts:  SMSs like ‘The bus will reach your stop in 5 minutes’  can be received. How does this work? – A trigger is sent to an SMS gateway like Airtel, Aircel etc to initiate alert. This is completely in our control. But when the gateway will actually send the SMS is not in our hands. As such, there have been cases when the SMSs which were supposed to reach in the morning have reached at night! Imagine the stress of the school bus authority, when they get an SMS saying ‘School has left for drop’ at night, when the bus is sleeping in the backyard!

Such features do add to the value but they also seem to add to the stress of the parents instead of removing it.

At SmarterBus, the focus is to provide a simple, reliable solution to parents. The parents can

  1. View the live tracking of the bus
  2. Get generic alerts like school leaving from school for pickup, school reaching to school after pickup, etc.

‘We remove the 5 minutes of stress faced by parents and school, everyday!’

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