The application could provide citizens with interactive information about retailers, government and educational institutions, hospitals and other organisations across the city
Ever been to a government office and felt sudden weariness and frustration on the realisation that you have no idea which of the hundred departments is the one you need? Or gone to a multi-specialty hospital and waited at the reception for ages to ask someone which doctor you should see?
City-based IT professional, Jaydeep Pathare is working on a new mobile application that could change all that in the future, and make the entire city a web of interactive information. “Whenever we go to any shopping mall, government office and other places, we have to spend time and effort searching for what we need with very little information. The application will help the consumers with instant updates and information anywhere, whether it is at the RTO (Regional Transport Office), the railway station, or a shopping mall. You just have to type the nature of work you have and you will get all the information instantly,” said Pathare.
He added that he has been working on the concept since February, this year, and hoped to launch it by the end of the year. The application, which Pathare claims is the first of its kind in the country, is currently being processed for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The application uses beacon devices, gadgets that will hold and broadcast information about its particular location. Organisations can buy a beacon for R5,000 and upload their information on it. Consumers who have the app installed on their phones will then get updates and alerts as they pass within 100 metres of the beacon.
What this means is, if a consumer is passing by a restaurant that has a beacon, they no longer have to step inside to check the menu and the prices and offers, but can simply search for it on their phone. Or at the RTO, they can enter their queries and needs and instantly check which counter they need to go to. College students who miss their lecture can also catch videos of the lessons on their mobile, or simply log in for information about class schedules or announcements, etc.
According to Pathare, the possibilities are limitless, and he hopes that the concept takes root across the city when he launches the app. “The application will be free of cost for the consumers once it is launched in Pune. Large areas such as shopping complexes and government offices can use WiFi to cover wider spaces, while small retailers who cannot afford the beacon can also use their WiFi as a hotspot to upload the data,” he said.
Already, organisations are beginning to see the potential of the application, and Pathare said he is in talks with several parties ahead of the launch.
Popatrao Pawar, the sarpanch of Hivre Bajar, which won the Ideal Village award for its irrigation and water conservation programme, intends to use the app to communicate more effectively with visitors who go to the village to learn about it. “We will use the app to address the visitors’ frequently asked questions,” he said.
Deputy Regional Transport Officer, Anil Valiv has recognised uses for the app as well, and said, “If there is an application like this to help citizens, it will be a great boon for all. Citizens will be aware exactly where to get their work done. At the same time, the number of queries at the office will also come down drastically.”