Pataa application | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
It is late in the evening and we await the arrival of our food delivery partner. They have almost reached — almost. But the delivery person’s avatar on the app suggests otherwise. We get a call, asking for a nearby landmark.
Turns out that the exact location shared to them by their company isn’t helping. Our place is not even on Google Maps — technically, it is, but the resort we are at is cut off from the main city. After several unsuccessful attempts at navigation, we end up sharing our live location on WhatsApp in frustration and hunger. This everyday scenario — of coordinating with delivery partners — can be a pain.
Indore-based brothers Rajat and Mohit Jain experienced a slightly different version of the said scenario. They were in the middle of a business presentation when they were getting incessant calls from a delivery executive, asking for their location. This incident was the starting point of their brainchild, Pataa [meaning “address in Hindi”], a mobile application that simplifies and digitises addresses by generating a short yet personalised code.
Before they founded Pataa, Rajat and Mohit were also involved in the business of personal care products, wherein they faced a lot of problems related to the delivery not being on time due to logistical issues. While researching for the application, the brothers chanced upon a research paper at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, that reportedly stated that India loses over $10 billion every year, thanks to the unstructured addressing system.
“When you take any e-commerce company, they rarely provide the exact geotag location to your address. It only shows the last mile which might incur 30-40% extra cost because of the absence of geotagging. You cannot write your WhatsApp live location and Google location on an envelope. Which is why we wanted to create a digital language of addresses,” says Rajat Jain, co-founder of Pataa, which has had over 7.5 million downloads since its launch in May 2021.
Once you download the app, it prompts you to enter your address. For each address, a shareable code, that is also customisable, gets generated. For example, if your address is Shiva Kumar, T-87, F Block, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai-18, the digital address becomes ^Shiv100. “We empower people to create a digital address,” says Rajat, adding that the app divides the location into 3×3 square metres. By geotagging the exact coordinates, the app asks you to pick a square at your doorstep which acts as a pin for navigation. Pataa allows you to record voice directions with an option to add photos and also provides a live tracking system in real time.
“Tagging your exact location on Google Maps is difficult at times. Sometimes, when you share your location, it invariably leads to the rear of the house or a different block, if you live in a gated community. Pataa helps you choose the exact doorstep of your address,” he adds.
But how is Pataa any different from navigation apps? Rajat explains that the primary goal of the app is not to provide the route for navigation but to provide Point A and Point B, that might otherwise be difficult to pin on navigation apps. “Navigation apps provide you directions to reach your destination. We are not a navigation company…we just provide you the source and destination,” he says, adding that talks are on to integrate Pataa API with e-commerce industries and delivery partners.
Pataa’s audience is spread in tier-2 cities such as Pune, Ahmedabad and Lucknow, where Rajat feels most interest comes from. The goal currently is to make Indore the first city in the country to have entirely digital addresses. Launched in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19, the app doubled its purpose to link vaccination centres in Madhya Pradesh, “During lockdowns, we got feedback from people asking us to tag vaccination centres. We worked with the city administration in Indore and covered three other states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan,” he says.
Rajat feels that digital addresses would help streamline address-related issues in the postal department. “We are working towards integrating our product with India Post. We are excited to make this happen.”
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Printable version | Jun 2, 2022 2:01:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/how-mobile-app-pataa-hopes-to-solve-the-addressing-system/article65453636.ece
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