Without doubt one of the advantages of having always-on, Internet-enabled smartphones is the ability to find relevant, timely and accurate information within seconds. With the rise of smartphones and the app economy, transport services such as Uber and Gett have become hugely popular all around the world. And since Gett (formerly known as GetTaxi) has now overtaken Uber as the leading taxi app in the UK, it seems timely to describe a short case study that illustrates how the company is improving its communications infrastructure by using Nexmo‘s Cloud API for sending SMS messages.
Gett – worldwide taxi services
Gett provides a wide variety of taxi and black car services in over 60 cities around the world. But in the past, Gett relied on regional SMS service providers to send batch information to drivers with pick up times and other general information. Unfortunately, the challenges of scale were not met by their existing providers – Gett wanted a single API (Application Programming Interface) that it could use to send messages from anywhere to anywhere else in the world.
When Gett got going – originally as GetTaxi – its mission was simple: pick up passengers at location A and get them to location B as quickly and as easily as possible. The company had built a communications and dispatch solution that could be used by independent black car drivers in a city such as New York as easily as it could be used by taxi cab fleet owners in a city such as Moscow. Couple that communications solution with Android and iOS-based apps that riders could use to summon a car easily, and it was no wonder Gett was going places.
But Gett’s communications architecture soon encountered growth pains. Gett had been relying on three regional SMS providers to send batch text messages to drivers with general information and updates. The providers also sent text messages to new users containing verification PINs that the users had to enter into Gett’s registration system when they first installed the Gett app. They also sent status updates via SMS to passengers who opted not to receive push messages through the Gett app. Yet as Gett expanded its operations, its reliance on three separate SMS providers became problematic.
“Each of these regional providers had different capabilities, prices, service level agreements – even different ways to code for their APIs”, recalls Eliran Chay of Gett.
“When we encountered service difficulties, which we frequently did, it could take half a day to figure out who to talk to to solve the problem. We were growing at a rapid rate, and we really needed to simplify. We wanted better service at a single price, a single API to which we could write, and a single customer care team to call if we had problems”.
Gett looked at several text messaging service providers before choosing Nexmo to replace its regional providers. The key factors in the decision? Nexmo’s Cloud API for SMS integrated quickly with Gett’s application infrastructure, proved easy to use in beta tests, and delivered messages impeccably in every region, including Russia, where Gett was well established and needed a reliable provider.
Today, Gett relies on Nexmo to deliver tens of thousands of text messages each day to users in more than 60 cities around the world. Gett still organizes its operations by region, and each region deploys an implementation of Gett’s communications and dispatch solution that is tailored to the needs of the cities it serves. The office in Tel Aviv sends SMS in Hebrew, the office in Moscow sends SMS in Russian, and so on. Each of these offices connects directly to Nexmo’s Cloud API for SMS, so Gett has only one SMS solution to monitor and maintain.
In addition to relying on the Nexmo Cloud API for SMS, Gett has also integrated its communications system with the Nexmo Cloud API for Voice, which provides global access to text-to-speech and IVR capabilities. By bringing in text-to-speech and IVR when needed, Gett can give users the option to hear text messages delivered as voice calls and to respond to those mes- sages via their phone keypads.
Since integrating its software infrastructure with Nexmo, Gett has experienced tangible benefits well beyond what it was expecting.
“By consolidating on the Nexmo Cloud API for SMS, Gett’s R&D teams have been able to reduce the amount of time they spend on coding, quality assurance, and monitoring by 70%”, says Mr. Chay. “That’s critical, because engineering time is ex- tremely valuable and now our teams have a lot more time to focus on other areas of the business”.
The user experience has improved significantly, too. “Users in Israel used to receive text messages in three to four seconds”, says Mr. Chay, “but with Nexmo they’re arriving in one to two seconds. We live in a very fast world, and if a new user doesn’t get the PIN code they’re expecting in one to two seconds, they assume some- thing has gone wrong – and they’ll never try to use our app again. Since moving to Nexmo we’re seeing a 95-96% delivery success rate, so we know that messages are getting to the users and they’re getting there quickly”.
Finally, the ease with which Gett can integrate its software infrastructure with a global SMS infrastructure is making it easier for Gett to expand its operations. Gett is building its presence in new cities and regions constantly, but because it is sending text messages through the Nexmo Cloud API for SMS it can send those messages from anywhere to anywhere – with the same high levels of throughput and deliverability, the same high level of response from customer care when called upon. Moreover, as Gett eyes expanding its service offerings in entirely new directions, its experience indicates that it can rely on Nexmo to provide the communications services it wants to support the new ventures it’s planning. A simple process of inserting a few lines of code into an app, and Gett can be communicating about a new service in no time at all.
Mobile Industry Review would like to thank Beate Westlake, Account Executive at Ballou PR, in addition to Gett and Nexmo.