TECH TREND: Thanks to the combo of GPS and Mobile internet, hyper-local services have become the rock stars of the Web.
Bangalore, August 17, 2015: Think of it as 'Prahalad meets Schumacher'. Germany-born economist EF Schumacher first suggested the mantra: Small is Beautiful in the mid 1970s. Thirty years later management guru CK Prahalad edited a seminal book that suggested that there was a "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid". These two ideas have morphed at the hands of innovative Indians to create an exciting new take on Internet-based services. Call it a Mobile Mohalla, a Nukkad Network -- it's a cool tool to tap the micro-sized products and services in your immediate locality.... usually within your area PIN code.
LocalOye is an app that currently works in Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon. It promises to connect you to local service professionals -- electricians, housekeeping, pest control, home repairs... even astrologers, yoga and and bellydancing classes! Once the requirements have been posted, the vendors are notified and the user details like budget, location, timing etc are sent to them. After a service provider accepts the lead, LocalOye connects both the vendor and customer. You get a quote that you can approve -- and are guaranteed that the person who attends is qualified and trustworthy.
Another launch this month is Cityscape, a local social network, specifically designed for users to participate & connect with your local community, started by Vishal Shah, who quit his job as Director of Engineering (Mobile & Platforms) position at Ask.com in the US Silicon Valley to create a global hyperlocal platform. It has features to share pictures, selfies etc with those around as well as share and consume local news and events. this app is available on the Android platform and will soon be launched on IOS and Windows. Cityscape has been launched in India, with plans to go global soon.
Toost is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth, an Android application from Noida-based Phone Warrior, that helps in finding trusted local service providers used by your friends: a carpenter, doctor, electrician or a driver . The app is driven by friends’ recommendations based on their personal experiences and level of connection with the business and has already chalked up 1.2 million installs. This is the new social face of local search!
Grocery and super markets have been among the first local enterprises in India to go online. BigBasket started in 2011, with over 14,000 products from over 1000 brands Bigbasket.com is currently present in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, and Mysore. It is already a popular app at GooglePlay . It has competitors like ZopNow who tap nearby supermarket chains ( e.g Hypercity) and cut the delivery time from overnight to a couple of hours. ZopNow also dates back to 2011 and operates in in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. PepperTap has a similar offering currently available in Delhi NCR, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Chennai
A slightly different model comes from Grofers, a pure delivery platform where you can now search products across all stores in your neighbourhood. Coupled with a GPS Phone, the Grofers app lets you drill down to a specific shop in some 12 cities, much as you would patronise your neighbourhood kirana shop. Grofers is a glimpse into the future where every shop and service around your home is just a phone tap away. And if we need any testimony that this is the way of the future, look at Amazon. It has recently started its own hyperlocal platform called Kirana Now promising 2-4 hour deliveries. If you can't fight 'em, join 'em! - Anand Parthasarathy.