ParkQX

What Is ParkQX?

It is an app for those tired of never getting a free parking space. ParkQX helps drivers find, reserve, and pay for a parking spot both in advance and on the go with a few simple taps. At the same time, it lets parking spot owners turn their unused parking space into money. Both lenders and renters are going to enjoy the platform since this business solution is beneficial for both.

The goal of ParkQX is to make a parking routine easy, hassle-free, climate neutral, and convenient.

Our Cooperation

Challenges

Our client strives to focus on simplicity keeping the needs of their users in mind. When a driver needs a parking spot in a big city, he or she needs it immediately. So, we have decided not to cause the users any extra troubles, and we decided to make their experience as convenient and as fast as possible.

Our work on this project is still in progress. The React Native version we have used is somewhat outdated, so there is a need to update packages. Also, the code is yet to be refactored.

Our Team

This app has been created by one UI/UX designer, two professional JS developers, one skillful project manager, and one quality assurance specialist from KeenEthics.

Technologies

The application has been developed for the Android and iOS platforms. As for the development technologies, we use Redux, Node.js, MongoDB, Firebase, Twilio, and React Native.

Methodology

We have decided to use Scrum because there was no clear vision of the final product from the very beginning. Also, the project objectives were frequently updated, and the customer was willing to cooperate continuously.

What Makes ParkQX Special?

Sign-up and login procedures, account verification and activation, “Remember me” and “Forgot password” are simple but perfect. There is also nothing special about the payment system, but it does fully serve its purpose.

What is unusual about the app, however, is that it lets its users find, reserve, pay, and get guided to the nearest parking spot. While looking for a place to park their car, a user may enter the location manually or by dropping a pin on the map, select date, time, and duration of parking, choose vehicle type, check parking fee, and view pictures. Navigating to a parking spot is easy since the app provides a user with an interactive real-time map. Reservation blocks the parking spot for other users so that one may be sure that the place will not be taken upon their arrival. Shortly before the reservation ends, the user receives an expiry notification, and once they confirm that they are leaving, payment is withdrawn from their credit card. Favorite parking places can be saved and easily accessed in the future.

Meanwhile, a lender may offer their parking space for rent by selecting a spot on the map, assigning the spot a number, uploading pictures, setting payment rate, adding a check-in and check-out schedule. A user can easily switch roles between renter and lender. All users are granted full access to their parking data history.

Do You Have a Similar Project Idea?

Pree

Ahmed-Jacob Aly,
Germany

Committed team for a starter.

What is the purpose of the app?

Suppose you often lose your keys and afterwards you spend a lot of time looking for them. How would a developed PREE app solve this problem? We have a PREE device which is attached to your key/car/bag etc.

The PREE devices are being produced according to iBeacon protocol. We developed app which allows its users to attach the PREE device to their account and establishes the Bluetooth connection between your smartphone (Android or iOS) and PREE device.

According to the received signal the app notifies user when he or she loses connection or is back in the reach of some PREE device.

Our task

Our task was to develop and release mobile app for Android and iOS platforms which has to communicate with BLE devices and give its users location information of their stuff.

UI/UX

The most important thing in PREE app is to provide the ability to quickly access and control their PREE devices. That’s why after user registration, the BLE starts scanning of PREE devices and attaches trackers to user’s account.

The main page – list of devices is available from almost all pages. This UX feature allows easy and fast access to settings of PREE devices.

Realized UX doesn’t have pages of deep nesting which allows us to have the fast access to all PREE devices.

Development challenges

Technology stack for backend:

Technology stack for Android and IOS:

  • Ionic
  • Cordova
  • BLE
  • Google Maps
  • Geolocation

The whole implementation of the app is possible thank to the open source cordova ble plugin – cordova-plugin-ble-central

This plugin allows to scan, connect, read/write information from a BLE device – in our case PREE device. We use this plugin for scanning PREE devices, getting power of received signal for every devices, setting bluetooth pair connection for every attached device. Also we used Google maps and Geolocation for storing and showing actual location for attached PREE device. All this stuff is required for main feature – notify user when you lose connect or back to range for some PREE device.

Problems

Connection

There are a lot of manufactures of Android devices and that’s why the bluetooth behavior is different with each of them. Sometimes the connection between Android smartphone and PREE device is established from seventh attempt. It takes a lot of customer time and we made the decision – keep scanning the BLE devices and try to reconnect after every unsuccessful connect. Also we implemented the scanning and connecting to operate in background mode. This leads to power consumption increase, but it seems that right now we have found a golden mean for Android platform – between strong connect, reliable data and acceptable energy consumption.

Scanning on IOS

On iOS platform connecting to BLE works out better than on Android platform (iBeacon is developed by Apple). In iOS the main app flow is implemented through scanning of PREE devices and tries to connect to them. And it works fast and reliable. The price of that bluetooth functionality is more power consuming. Also in iOS it’s not easy for bluetooth to scan in background mode. Firstly in order to upload it to the appsotore you have to explain to them why you need it. Secondly the scanning in background mode leads to an increase in the power consumption of iPhone. That’s why we made the decision   avoid using BLE scanning in background mode on iOS platform. The bluetooth connection works reliably   it allows to read some information from PREE device and bluetooth periphery which helps to calculate the approximated distance.

Achievements

  • Developed app which can scan/connect/read/write for PREE ble devices (iBeacon);
  • Developed feature which notifies user when he lose connection or back to range with his PREE device;
  • Developed feature which store is the last to know location of your PREE device and rewrite it when you are back in range;
  • Developed feature showing all the above mentioned locations on map for every device and on general map;
  • Developed feature showing approximate distance to you PREE device;
  • Developed two modes for PREE device – ‘close by’ (strict) and ‘normal’ (no strict) which depends on distance to your PREE device;
  • Developed feature which notifies your family member when PREE device is lost;

Do You Have a Similar Project Idea?