Building apps with live location tracking is harder than it needs to be. HyperTrack V3 just fixed that.
“At first we thought: OS gives you GPS location, and maps give you everything else. Why do we need HyperTrack?! And now after 8 months of using HyperTrack, I wonder how we ever thought of doing it ourselves.” — Android developer for gig economy app in San Francisco
Say you or your customer has a fleet of workers on the move. You are building an app for the fleet to manage their work while on the move. You want to track the live location of app users in the background and use this real-time data in the cloud to improve efficiency and service experience. Let’s start with putting a bunch of live moving dots on a map for better visibility, like in a James Bond movie. What will it take?
More than what meets the eye. Don't try this at home.
“We strongly believe in the HyperTrack product. Your platform saved us hundreds of engineer hours. Before I discovered HyperTrack, we thought about building our own real-time tracking system because the other solutions are too much complicated to integrate. What we thought was going to take 1 year to build, we did in 1 week with HyperTrack.” – CTO for intracity moving service in Paris
Please read the movement series for a deeper dive into the complexity of getting location and sensor data from the OS, processing it for accuracy, making data available in real time, minimizing battery drain, packaging the data for upstream applications to use, managing the data explosion in the cloud, taming the world of maps, constructing web and native visuals, scaling the platform and infrastructure, and last but not least, ensuring privacy and security.
Building and operating this infrastructure requires engineering skills around device OS, network protocols, devops, time-series data engineering, business logic, maps and front-end. Typical builds last 1-2 weeks to build a prototype, 4-6 more weeks to get the first feature in production, and then dedicated ongoing effort to operate. New features require additional weeks per feature.
So @lyft is paying $8m/mo to @AWS -- almost $100m/yr! Each ride costs $.14 in AWS rent. I keep hearing they could build their own DC & save. My early days at @Google cloud, heard the same from customers: "at scale, owning is cheaper". It wasn't - they all came around. Here's why:— Hemant Mohapatra (@MohapatraHemant) March 4, 2019
Leading ride-sharing companies have invested hundreds of millions in building their live location platforms over the years, and spend similar amounts annually to operate it.
A few hundred companies in the world have made the investment to build and operate live location infrastructure and restrict it for use for their own app users. There are thousands who try it and build a prototype, then give up due to the complexity, time and resource required to make it work in production.
HyperTrack is democratizing this technology and making it available to everyone as a managed service. Here's how.
A few minutes of your app developer’s time.
“We were waiting for the new release that makes background tracking more reliable. From the time we got the link to the Quickstarts to the time we saw the first green dot on the map was less than five minutes.” – Head of Product for workforce management app in Bangalore
Step 2: Use the HyperTrack dashboard to view live location of devices on a map. You can embed these views into a web app of your choice. Native views coming up.
Step 3: Stream this data to your server via Webhooks, or get it on demand via REST APIs, or get it as a data export with custom events on a private S3 bucket. This will get you the data on your servers and give you more control over building your application. Follow the respective links for step by step instructions.
OK. What took you so long to ship the new version?
It took us a year, a dozen experienced engineers (mobile, platform, infrastructure, front-end) and multiple failed iterations to build the cloud service that you can now trust your production apps with. During this time, we also shifted headquarters to San Francisco and built a team in Ukraine.
We learnt our lessons from over 10,000 developers using previous versions of HyperTrack. Developers count on us to build and operate reliable device-to-cloud infrastructure to generate, manage and provision live location data in the cloud.
Using this live location data to build applications and data models is the part that developers want to do themselves.
So we focused on getting the live location infrastructure right first. And now you can focus on building applications on top, which are core to your business.
Swell. When are you adding geofencing, ETAs and other features you had in previous versions?
We focused on solving the harder problem first. When we felt good about the SDKs and platform, we quietly rolled out the pre-release of HyperTrack V3 to a few hundred developers starting early March and looked over their shoulders. In March and April, we supported about 50 developers as they built their ride sharing, roadside assistance, field operations, salesforce automation, e-commerce delivery and on-demand delivery apps. We found that developers are getting value from the product and want to use it in production. This gave us confidence to roll it out to the remaining 10,000 who have patiently waited.
We are actively working on features that use live location data to track:
- Visits: in to and out of generic or specified places of interest
- Trips: the journey to these visits, and
- The crowd-pleaser Placeline: movement history with activity, outages, visits and trips
You can build these features on your own using HyperTrack V3, or wait a few more weeks to use them as hosted services that you have come to know and love due to previous versions.
App developers, point your browsers to the Quickstarts (Android, iOS) and get started. Others, point your app developers to ^ what he said. My team and I are here to support you. Here’s to hyper-tracking the movement of your business!
Disclaimer: HyperTrack is not a great a fit for tracking consumers. HyperTrack works best when tracking commercial movement.
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