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PubNub Powers GetTaxi for Real-time, Reliable Service

By Rachel Ramsey December 24, 2013

Machine to machine (M2M) technology, the Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things are all revolutionizing verticals, industries, applications and services by connecting them to the Internet and enabling more productivity, lowering costs and improving data analytics. One area in particular is transportation – from fleet management to connected cars, the Internet is helping organizations manage assets, insurance companies offer more customized, behavior-based plans, and bringing mechanic functionality to end users.

There’s another area of the auto industry benefitting from M2M, and that’s the taxi revolution. While thousands of people around the world still hail cabs the traditional way, there is a growing group of people that want to order their ride right from their smartphones, and those users are turning to companies like Uber and GetTaxi. While Uber has been particularly popular in the U.S., it has its downsides: Just a few weekends ago when a winter storm hit many major cities, Uber users experienced the company’s surge prices due to high demand and weather conditions.

GetTaxi, on the other hand, has primarily had a presence in Europe, and is expanding to the U.S. with operations in New York. I spoke with David Drai, CTO of GetTaxi, who explained surge pricing is not a part of the company’s business model.

Using GetTaxi’s app is simple and fast. When users send a request to order a taxi, the request is delivered through the cloud and locates drivers in the area. The app calculates a number of different factors, such as ETA and locations for each driver, and decides which drivers are the best candidates. All communication between drivers and the server is done with an Android box in each car, which also transmits data for other services, like maps, navigation and free Wi-Fi.

The GetTaxi app features real-time location data so users can track their drivers. In order to meet the network demand and deliver these real-time services, GetTaxi relies on PubNub, a provider of real-time network and capabilities for developers to build, deploy and scale real-time applications. GetTaxi uses PubNub’s real-time data push, storage, playback and security infrastructure features to make its service successful.

“The faster we react, the faster the end user will accept the ride,” Drai exaplined. “What we liked about PubNub was it provides a real-time network that is really reliable. Every message arrives at its destination immediately.”

PubNub powers GetTaxi in two main ways: First, it enables the communication between a ride request and drivers. The second is making sure the map functionality is up to date and delivered in real-time. That means tracking all of those drivers and sensors and integrating that data into one reliable, constantly updated format. Drai also noted that working with PubNub means GetTaxi is able to immediately identify if a driver is disconnected, understand if there’s an issue with connectivity and monitor it in real-time.

I spoke with Todd Greene, CEO and co-founder of PubNub, about what it’s like on the backend to provide this kind of network and why PubNub is the perfect match for GetTaxi. He explained that PubNub providers the only global real-time network, which is important because GetTaxi is a global company, but that doesn’t just mean its end users are global – it needs really high reliability. If thousands of taxis are all driving around and connected to a local data center and that data center fails, PubNub is able to switch all the taxis, passengers and devices to the next data center, providing that level of reliability. The key is also providing this type of connectivity across mobile devices.

Greene also discussed the importance of the Internet of Things and how transportation is one of the key verticals to benefit from this trend of growing connectivity. Using the Internet for services like GetTaxi is only the beginning. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Content Director

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