Birds Eye Systems is a Mumbai based start up with the vision to rid traffic woes that have become a part of every commuter's daily life. Their strong technological research and backing allowed them to introduce the country's first ever real time traffic tracker - Traffline.
Traffline was introduced a year ago with the purpose of acting as a traffic agent that allows commuters to check traffic conditions of the city at any point of the day. Birds Eye Systems fitted probes on vehicles - call taxis, public transport vehicles and others - that have GPS installed in them. These probes continuously transmit position information which is then converted to speed information by Birds Eye's patented algorithm.
The information received provides real time updates of the best routes to travel, traffic jams to avoid, and road events to escape. Traffline also aids commuters to estimate travel time from one point to another and presents alternate paths to steer clear of potential traffic delays.
To make Traffline accessible to everyone, it is available on multiple platforms. There is an Android and IOS App available on Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store making it handy on mobile phones, and tablets. Additionally, it can be used through Traffline.com and mobile website m.traffline.com. Traffline is available in three cities - Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
Techaloo got an opportunity to have a chit-chat with Mr. Brijraj, Founder @ Birds Eye Solutions. Let's see, what he wants to share with us.
Techaloo : When did you start your journey?
Brijraj : The ideation process began in 2008; we were still working in the US back then. We noticed that in the West, people were habituated to looking at traffic information before getting out of their house; it made planning travel so much easier. That's when we decided that it was time India be introduced to this concept too.
Techaloo : What was your vision/mission while starting BirdsEyeTech?
Brijraj: We returned to India with a common goal of creating an Intelligent Transportation System for the country. In 2012 we launched our first solution, Traffline, a live traffic information provider for daily commuters.
Techaloo : What hurdles were faced while starting?
Brijraj: Recruiting was an interesting challenge for us; finding the right people for the right roles for Traffline. Recruiting through references has worked out the best for us and we can now proudly say that we have a great, dedicated team that is growing quickly at Traffline.When we first introduced Traffline, users were having trouble believing that the traffic information was live, because the service was such a new idea to them. But this problem automatically fixed itself with time as users tried and tested the app and realized that the information and updates were in fact, real time.
Once the app became popular, we noticed that commuters weren't really checking for traffic updates before they leave home/work/etc, which is what makes the difference to their travel. Instead, when users were stuck in a traffic jam they would log onto Traffline. In our new version, we have introduced a service where we automatically send out updates to our users for their preferred route at their preferred time every day. This way, users didn't have to pull out information from the app, instead we gave it to them.
Techaloo : Explain a little more about Traffline?
Brijraj: Traffline provides live traffic information for Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bangalore. Users can look up information on their map around their current location, drag the map around to check traffic around the city. Users can also look up information along the route from start point to end point, here we provide estimated travel time based on current traffic and traffic on different stretches of the road. Users can also look up the list of accidents and traffic jams in the city. There are many more features, you could have a look at it in this video
Techaloo : How does Traffline work?
Brijraj: We ask our users to give us some basic information such as, their preferred route (e.g. home to work), time they prefer (before leaving for work e.g.: 8.15, before leaving for home, e.g. 8.30pm) and how they would like to receive the alerts (email or sms). Once we have this information, the user will receive traffic updates which include traffic speed information, road block updates, traffic jam updates, etc, everyday at 8.15am and 8.30 pm before they hit the road so they can plan their travel route accordingly.
The subscription package allows first three months free.
Techaloo : Currently you have presence in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, Are you planning to expand your horizon?
Brijraj: Yes, we are. This year we should rolling out our services to two tier cities too.
Techaloo : What is the time lag from real time data?
Brijraj: There is no time lag.
Techaloo : What are the benefits of your product for a common man?
Brijraj: In India's metropolitan cities, people have to keep time aside for how long they are going to be stuck in traffic every day. But we believe, why succumb to traffic and let it waste precious minutes of our our life? If there is a way we can overcome this, why not?
Traffline can help the common man, avoid traffic jams, pick alternate routes and get home faster, avoid road blocks and routes that have morchas. In fact, our new version has some very interesting features. Now users can even report accidents and road events they are witnessing to the Traffline offices. This helps them help other commuters on the same route. Further, accident events are cross checked and forwarded to the concerned Police departments too by Traffline.
With the growing problem of safety for women, Traffline has incorporated a feature that allows someone in trouble to send their location to their loved ones. This person who receives the alert will also immediately receive traffic information and updates to the concerned person’s destination along with alternate routes.Over all, we hope to see clearer roads, better travel plans and we hope to add minutes to everybody's life.Techaloo : Do you see Waze, Sabka etc. as your competitor? If yes, what makes you different from them?
Brijraj: When we started off, receiving live traffic information was a completely unique offering for the Indian masses. At that time in 2009-10, we were the only player in the market working on this concept. We did not have any direct competition, apart from sporadic traffic information providers such as radio stations who based their information on manual sources placed at limited junctions in a particular city.
Google entered India in the traffic information field in September 2012, and since then have been our direct competitors. Others like Waze, Sabka Traffic and Happy Paths also have mobile applications but our solution provides traffic information agnostic of maps and an internet connection.
Our strategy is also technologically high end and more scalable, we have a patented algorithm that captures live movement on the streets through probes - these probes are vehicles or individuals on the road, the traffic police of a particular city or public transport vehicles - they are beamed through satellites in micro seconds to our servers where the data is crunched across parameters like congestion time, vehicular movement etc to come up with real time information on a given traffic situation and how to avoid it.
This entire set up of ours, allowed us to provide our users with a very holistic traffic tracking experience. Users can:
- Know the 'estimated travel time' between start and end point considering traffic conditions.
- View regular traffic updates about road accidents and events.
- View live traffic conditions on a map.
- Check traffic situation between start points to end point through a certain route.
- Avoid traffic congestions by choosing alternate routes.
- View traffic situations nearby present area.
Brijraj: Investors have shown a lot of faith in us in the past years, and we are very grateful for that. The funding not only helps us achieve our goals faster, but also aids us in reinforcing our belief in the service we are providing and makes us work doubly hard.
Techaloo : What are your plans for next 3 years?
Brijraj: We aim to roll out our services in ten other cities and own the everyday door-to-door travel and information space on mobile, be it private vehicles, public transport, or local businesses, across major Indian cities.
Techaloo : What will be your advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Brijraj: Rule number one is to believe, you have to be convinced and believe in your idea 100%. Second, perseverance is key.
Techaloo : What do you think about techaloo.com?
Brijraj:Techaloo is a wonderful platform for young entrepreneurs and their work to gain the exposure it deserves. It's got a sea of information that budding entrepreneurs can find very helpful and we look forward to seeing you grow more and more.