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Adnan Siddiqi

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World Usability Day 2008:What could be done in Pakistan?

Like other bloggers I also got invitation by Badar bhai,Pakistan Country Consultant for Google Inc, for World Usability Day 2008 which is being organized by IDC at UMT Lahore on Thursday, November 13,2008 . It is being conducted first time in Pakistan and in various other cities. This year’s theme is transportation that is how to make it easier for normal users to utilize transport with ease by using modern technologies. Following are the details:

“It’s all about making life easy”

The Interaction Design Center (http://www.ixdc.org/) is organizing World Usability Day 2008 (http://www.worldusabilityday.org/) on Thursday, November 13, 2008 in Lahore at the University of Management and Technology (UMT). For more information and to register online, please visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=57687680808 or http://tinyurl.com/wud-lhr-pk (limited seats available).

This event is part of a globally-coordinated effort that is being simultaneously held in over 175 cities around the world. This is the first time the event is being held in Pakistan.

More details here or check on facebook.

I wish I could also join this event. I am sure it would be very exciting since people will be discussing usage of technology in transportation.

Unlike Western countries use of technology in transport is not so common in Pakistan. Well in Pakistan technology is not so common in any field of life. In terms of transport our transportation system is entirely screwed up. We Karachiites heavily relies in buses and minibuses who do not follow any schedule at all. Metro cab system is a bit OK but then it can’t be called satisfactory either. I remember how often I was given tough time when I used to go Islamabad on official trips plus they charge high fares.

Like millions of Karachiites I have also spent a big part of my life in commuting via buses and minibuses. Infact I admired them so much that I claimed that Web 2.0 idea was actually stolen by our local minibuses. I can’t think any improvement by buses/minibuses management in Karachi but I think there are still ways to provide facilities to local commuters so they feel a bit easier while travelling in buses/minibuses.

I am one of those who always felt trouble in remembering bus routes for the areas where I didn’t go much.  Usually people around you do tell the route buses which could help to reach your destination but at times you need to decide which route bus would be more feasible for you. For instance when I used to study at Delhi college, I used G-10 minibus most of the time since I didn’t have to change the bus at some stage. There were various other options too for instance sitting any minibus which goes from Nazimabad No.1 to Karimbad like getting any bus which goes to Lalukhet No.10 and then ride on any bus goes fro Dus number(Liaquatabad no 10) to Karimabad. If by mistake someone guides you to get either 6-B or 6 from Karimabad  then you have made your life hell because they actually crawl!!  It was only once I opted this route and regretted for whole day and it all happened because I had no idea about other buses of same route.

What I would like to suggest to use SMS based LBS application which could detectCell ID of the mobile user and map with tower ID which could help user to figure out all buses which could possibly help him to reach to his destination.

For instance I am in some  area of Orangi  and have no idea how to reach North Nazimabad. What I would like that I just input destination “Hyderi” and sends SMS to server.  My mobile application will figure out my Cell ID and nearest Tower ID and would find out my current location itself. In return server will send me all possible routes which could help me to reach my destination. Since it will be an SMS based application so will not be expensive either and no one needs GPRS enabled mobile either.

This is just a rough idea and could be refined by anyone who is willing to implement it. It’s not impossible either and current Mobile operator like Warid and Telenor already have been providing LBS facilities to their subscribers. We guys did discuss about possibilities of LBS in Pakistan but I am not aware whether something is working on such application(s) or not.

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Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:48 PM by kadnan

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