Digital Mobility Solutions/PickMe: Hails Google Cloud for increased agility, availability, and scalability

About Digital Mobility Solutions

Developed by Colombo-headquartered Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka, and launched four years ago, PickMe operates one of the largest organized taxi fleets in Sri Lanka. The technology based business has brought ride-hailing to the fingertips of Sri Lanka via an application that enables instant ride-hailing. The company is equipped with a fleet of manned vehicles that includes three-wheelers, mini cars, cars, vans, and luxury sedans. PickMe recently launched its newest venture, PickMe Food, which enables customers to order and receive meals quickly. The company also caters to logistics requirements with a fleet of trucks. All these solutions can be found on one application.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Sri Lanka

About Searce and MediaAgility

Searce
Searce is a cloud consulting, data engineering, and AI & ML company that has partnered with over 1,800 clients to help futurify their businesses. Google Cloud recognized Searce as its 2018 Google Cloud JAPAC Reseller Partner of the Year. Searce specializes in building and managing data lakes; helping customers move and improve to the right cloud for them; and leveraging applied AI & ML to transform business processes for clients in financial services, services, retail and logistics, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and the technology startup sector.

MediaAgility
A Google Cloud Premier Partner across Google Cloud Platform, Google Maps, G Suite, and Chrome, MediaAgility is a digital consulting company that aims to make work meaningful for all. The business has more than 1,000 customers in more than nine countries and specializes in data analytics and location-based services. It creates AI and analytics-based solutions, builds conversational intelligence, and designs powerful operational intelligence and machine learning capabilities for customers.

Using Google Cloud Platform with help from Searce and Google Cloud Professional Services, Digital Mobility Solutions established a highly scalable, stable, and responsive infrastructure to support forecasted 2X growth on its taxi hailing application PickMe.

Google Cloud Results

  • Delivers 99.95% availability
  • Reduces testing, staging, and deployment to production from three days to half a day
  • Helps achieve lower latency

Support 2X growth in taxi rides

Developed by Colombo-headquartered Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka (Private) Ltd, mobile taxi-hailing application PickMe is a prominent Sri Lankan start-up success story. Starting operations just four years ago, PickMe's founders have built what Chief Architect Shayanthan Kanaganayagham describes as "a very big organization providing an essential service" in Colombo and elsewhere across the country.

Available through application stores on iOS and Android, PickMe enables people to hail taxis ranging from three-wheeled tuk tuks to luxury vehicles from Audi and BMW. The nearest available taxi from the requested vehicle class is assigned to the job. The application is available in English, Sinhala, and Tamil.

"We want to lead the local market and become a premier mobility solutions provider," says Mithila Somasiri, Chief Technology Officer, PickMe (Digital Mobility Solutions). "We are prominent in ride-hailing at the moment, but our vision is to touch all areas of mobility." The business has already moved into food delivery and logistics, and hopes the technology it is building will have applications within and outside the country.

"Right now, we are focused on our domestic market, because we believe it is significantly underserved but still features global competitors," adds Somarisi. "This will help us sharpen our offering. When the time is right, we will look for other opportunities."

"Google Cloud Professional Services developed project plans to deliver a smooth migration, while giving us good visibility of the process and clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each person involved."

Shayanthan Kanaganayagham, Chief Architect, Digital Mobility Solutions

Using a local provider

Digital Mobility Solutions originally ran PickMe in a hosted infrastructure operated by a local provider. However, the shared infrastructure could not reliably meet performance requirements. Also, Digital Mobility Solutions could not quickly scale PickMe to support sharply rising traffic – the business needed nearly three hours to deploy an instance and ensure its application ran smoothly on the new virtual machine.

"PickMe started experiencing downtime during demand peaks, which was unacceptable in our line of business," explains Kanaganayagham.

Further, Digital Mobility Solutions could not replicate its production environment for testing, forcing the business to complete more detailed work on applications to minimize risk before releasing them to staging and production. This meant the business took up to three days to complete this process, consuming resources and restricting its agility.

"We quickly determined we needed to look for a cloud-based infrastructure solution," says Kanaganayagham.

Google Maps and G Suite delivering value

Digital Mobility Solutions had previously turned to digital consulting company MediaAgility to provision Google Maps Platform and G Suite for the business. It used Google Maps Platform to identify PickMe users' locations and the best routes for taxi drivers to pick them up and deliver them quickly and safely to their destinations. "When deciding on a maps service, we found Google Maps Platform provided the features and information we needed," says Kanaganayagham.

The organization is using Directions API – a Google Maps Platform service that calculates directions between locations – to help determine the time required to complete a journey from origin to destination. "This is very important in helping us make decisions about which driver to assign to a passenger," says Kanaganayagham. The business also uses Places API to locate establishments, locations, and points of interest, and the best route to them.

"Google Maps Platform provided an incredible experience for our users and this encouraged us to consider Google Cloud Platform," says Kanaganayagham. "In addition, we were using G Suite cloud-based workplace applications for communication and collaboration, and its seamless scalability gave us further confidence in Google Cloud infrastructure services."

"We value the one-stop shop of integrated products that G Suite represents," adds Somasiri. "We particularly like the seamless conferencing provided by Business Hangouts."

The business short-listed three multinational cloud services providers and evaluated each service based on latency, application performance and scalability, and cost. "We quickly eliminated one provider that did not have a region or environment in Singapore," says Kanaganayagham. "Connecting to cloud infrastructure in the United States or Europe would have resulted in latency of more than 250 milliseconds – 10 times the latency from cloud infrastructure in Singapore."

"Google Cloud Platform allows us to scale without worrying about the stability of the underlying infrastructure. The process of deploying a new virtual instance is automated and completed in just a few seconds."

Shayanthan Kanaganayagham, Chief Architect, Digital Mobility Solutions

Google Cloud Platform is the best option

Digital Mobility Solutions selected Google Cloud Platform over the remaining competing service due to familiarity with Google Cloud products and Google team members; better performance; availability of the managed Cloud SQL relational database management service – and other services – in the Google Cloud Platform Singapore Region; and alignment of Google Cloud with PickMe's growth roadmap. The business signed off on the move to Google Cloud Platform in February 2018 and sought assistance from Google Cloud Professional Services and Google Cloud Premier Partner Searce to complete the project.

Visibility with Google Cloud Professional Services

"Google Cloud Professional Services developed project plans to deliver a smooth migration, while giving us good visibility of the process and clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each person involved," says Kanaganayagham. "This gave us confidence we would be ideally positioned to seize the opportunities Google Cloud Platform services presented. Thanks to Google Cloud Professional Services, we were able to complete the project on time and to specification."

Searce the best choice

Kanaganayagham also knew after meeting the Searce team in Mumbai, India, the partner was the right choice for the engagement. "Searce's people came to Sri Lanka and lent their considerable expertise to the migration process, including planning and writing scripts," he says. "The team remained with us until the project was complete and continue to support our Google Cloud Platform environment."

The Digital Mobility Services PickMe architecture comprises virtual machine instances running in Compute Engine; Cloud CDN to cache content close to users, providing rapid responsiveness and lowering serving costs; a Cloud SQL database; a Cloud Datastore NoSQL document database; and Cloud Load Balancing to distribute compute resources and seamlessly support demand peaks.

Scalability beyond estimation

Several months after completing the migration to Google Cloud Platform in August 2018, Digital Mobility Solutions is achieving scalability Kanaganayagham describes as "beyond our estimation and expectation." The business expects the number of the taxi rides on its platform to double within a year and with Google Cloud, will handle this increased traffic comfortably.

"Google Cloud Platform allows us to scale without worrying about the stability of the underlying infrastructure," says Kanaganayagham. "The process of deploying a new virtual instance is automated and completed in just a few seconds."

In addition, average latency is well within business requirements, helping to ensure users have the responsive, high quality experience that prompts them to keep choosing PickMe to hail taxis. The business is now also achieving availability of about 99.95 percent, so the application is available when users need to use it.

"Google Cloud Platform has allowed us to take advantage of services that provide functionality we would otherwise have to build, at a lot of effort and expense."

Mithila Somasiri, Chief Technology Officer, PickMe (Digital Mobility Solutions)

Focus on new applications

With the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure exceeding all of Digital Mobility Solutions' technical requirements, the business can now focus on creating the new features and applications customers are looking for. Thanks to automation and the ability to replicate production environments on Google Cloud Platform, the business has cut testing, staging, and deployment to production from up to three days to half a day. "We'll look to bring this down even further as we automate more of these processes through Google Cloud Platform," says Kanaganayagham.

For Somasiri, the stability and flexibility Google Cloud Platform provides enables the business to focus on its core task of product development. "Google Cloud Platform has allowed us to take advantage of services that provide functionality we would otherwise have to build, at a lot of effort and expense," he says.

Digital Mobility Solutions is planning to deploy new machine learning models to improve business efficiency and provide better customer and driver experiences. "We're also expecting to move our dashboards and reporting to Google Cloud Platform, and improve our ability to explore data and grow our knowledge of our customers," says Kanaganayagham. "With Google Cloud Platform complementing G Suite and Google Maps Platform, we're well positioned to keep growing and enter new markets."

About Digital Mobility Solutions

Developed by Colombo-headquartered Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka, and launched four years ago, PickMe operates one of the largest organized taxi fleets in Sri Lanka. The technology based business has brought ride-hailing to the fingertips of Sri Lanka via an application that enables instant ride-hailing. The company is equipped with a fleet of manned vehicles that includes three-wheelers, mini cars, cars, vans, and luxury sedans. PickMe recently launched its newest venture, PickMe Food, which enables customers to order and receive meals quickly. The company also caters to logistics requirements with a fleet of trucks. All these solutions can be found on one application.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Sri Lanka

About Searce and MediaAgility

Searce
Searce is a cloud consulting, data engineering, and AI & ML company that has partnered with over 1,800 clients to help futurify their businesses. Google Cloud recognized Searce as its 2018 Google Cloud JAPAC Reseller Partner of the Year. Searce specializes in building and managing data lakes; helping customers move and improve to the right cloud for them; and leveraging applied AI & ML to transform business processes for clients in financial services, services, retail and logistics, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and the technology startup sector.

MediaAgility
A Google Cloud Premier Partner across Google Cloud Platform, Google Maps, G Suite, and Chrome, MediaAgility is a digital consulting company that aims to make work meaningful for all. The business has more than 1,000 customers in more than nine countries and specializes in data analytics and location-based services. It creates AI and analytics-based solutions, builds conversational intelligence, and designs powerful operational intelligence and machine learning capabilities for customers.

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