Although Uber and AirBNB grab most of the headlines about new tech disrupting the transportation industries, there's much more happening in those industries behind the scenes. Apps are changing everything from maritime shipping to the trucking industry, and companies are taking advantage of new app technology to compete with the likes of Uber. It's a beautiful example of how free market competition creates higher quality products and more alternatives for consumers.
More Transportation Options for Riders
The Beck Taxi Mobile App, a company that caters to Canadians and competes with Uber, brokered a deal with PayPal and integrated a new in-app payment solution that will allow users to e-pay for their ride conveniently. They can now take their taxi without ever having to take out their wallet. This convenience gives Canadians an event stronger variety of transportation options, and it gives Uber stiffer competition north of the border.
Private companies aren't the only ones pushing back against Uber. Public transportation agencies, which have lost riders because their commutes takes much longer and are less efficient than app-driven on-demand transportation, are partnering with TransLoc to create an app that brings a similar on-demand possibility for public transportation.
FastCoExist.com explains how the new public transportation app, slated to be released for a few agencies later in 2015 or 2016, works:
Riders using TransLoc's app, currently a prototype, give it permission to follow their route as they ride. That data builds maps that agencies can use to make routes more efficient, and eventually offer on-demand services. Someone could, for example, someday use the app to request a bus, and the system could quickly crowdsource a route to pick up several riders with a small bus or van.
Some industries, however, have had a less constructive response to the intense competition from Uber. The taxi companies in the City of Boston, for example, are pursuing legal action to shut Uber down, claiming that Uber's drivers are operating illegally.
Uber's response to the taxi companies?
Build an app.
If that seems a little tactless, from Uber's point of view it's common sense: if the taxi companies are upset about Uber, why don't they improve the way they serve customers by creating their own mobile app technology?
Safer Shipping Lanes
It's easy to forget that many of the goods we depend on come from ships. ReCAAP has created a new mobile app for the shipping industry that makes their long journeys across thousands of miles of ocean much safer, as MarineInsight.com noted: "The ‘App’ enables the ReCAAP ISC to share the latest Incident Alert...with a wider readership from the shipping community and facilitate quick access to updated information."
In addition, users can use the app to quickly submit safety alerts to the nearest ReCAAP "Focal Point," which then disseminates the alert broadly to the entire shipping community. It's user-generated, crowd-sourced safety on the high seas.
Grizzled Truckers in North Dakota Oil Fields Geeking Out on Tech
The stereotype that people who love tech live in offices and make pilgrimages to TED conferences and SXSW needs to change. Other people love tech too -- like the leatherneck truck drivers who handle the demanding, sometimes dangerous trucking routes in the remote oil fields of North Dakota.
As a hard-working team of analysts, engineers, and designers, we were particularly proud of what we achieved with our LoadLog app that we built for a trucking company that ships supplies into the gas and oil fields of North Dakota.
Our app is a hybrid online application that uses an SMS communication channel. When you're dealing with midnight trucking runs through freezing winter conditions, you need something that gets information to the truckers reliably, and SMS is much more reliable in rural North Dakota than the usual web communication. The app automates the driver's load logistics and driver tickets, and this reduces the time-waste for the truckers who, before the app, were constantly filling out paper tickets.
And the app is a miracle for the dispatchers. They simply log into the application dashboard to see the location of every truck, and to also track the truck's progress in its workflow. They can also use the app to issue new tickets to those truckers in real-time and calculate average delivery times.
Frankly, it was a game-changer for the company, and it's a powerful enhancement for the trucking industry.
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