m-Indicator, a little known company’s mobile apps that provides information on train timing, has whopping 16 lakh users in Mumbai
m-Indicator, a mobile application developed by Mobond (bonding the mob), has been providing information related to local train timings, BEST bus routes, fares for autos and taxis, Sunday mega blocks of the Railways to over one and a half million daily commuters in and around Mumbai. Although, people behind the most popular apps on mobile in Mumbai (around 16 lakh people use it almost every day) are still refusing to be identified, their application can be found installed on almost every handset that supports Java.
Here is what the people behind m-Indicator say about themselves, "mobond.com is an organisation of enthusiastic software developers having aim of providing free software products."
Now let’s take a look at the application. The latest application m-Indicator V4.0 provides updated information till 31 October 2011. What I like about this app is its simple interface, small size (about 300KB) and virtually no cost. I mean, you need to send an SMS while using the app for the first time but later you can use it (the offline version), completely free of cost. Mobond seems to earn money from the registration SMSs and through advertisements on the app. For the online version, you may have to pay a small charge to your service provider for using the internet.
Anyone who wants to use this app, can visit Mobond site, http://m-indicator.mobond.com/home and download suitable application for their mobile phone. Remember, although many phones support Java, you may need to download different set of files depending on your handset and whether you use keypad or touchscreen phone. The base (java CLDC 1.0 or above, MIDP 2.0 or above) version should run fine on all Nokia phones, but you may need to download specific files for Samsung handsets. m-Indicator is also available for Android-based mobiles and BlackBerry phones and you will have to download the necessary files either from your mobile web browser or from Mobond website and transfer it to your handset.
The application provides information about Mumbai local train timings and stops, BEST bus routes and stops, the PNR status of train ticket bookings, auto and taxi fares from Mumbai, and Sunday mega block information for all train networks from the metro city, current movie shows from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.
At the press of a few buttons or keys, m-Indicator shows information about Western, Central, Harbour, Thane-Vashi, Virar-Dahanu, Diva-Panvel-Roha, Dahanu-Virar-Vasai-Panvel and Neral-Matheran railway routes. Using this facility one can see next local train timings and stops with scheduled arrival time.
Using the BEST bus route finder, one can find exact bus number from one point to another as well as stops for that particular bus. It also provides timetable for AC buses run by BEST and NMMT. One can even search a bus stop by using its local name.
While m-Indicator provides most of the information like local train timings, BEST bus routes, auto and taxi fares, it need access to the internet for fetching info about movies, Sodexo outlets and maps.
I remember Prof Abhiram Ranade and his students Mayur Datar (BTech 99), Koustubh Tilak (MTech 2000) and M Srikrishna (MTech 2002) from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay, had developed a website for navigation in Mumbai. The site, http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/navigator/index.html, still is functional and shows train and bus routes of Mumbai from the web browser. Later, the team from IITB updated the site with maps (http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/navigator2/Main). So far about 1.39 lakh people visited this page. But there seems to be no development after this update, otherwise, it would have give a tough competition to m-Indicator.
There are few apps available for knowing auto and taxi fares, like MumbaiAuto and MeterDown but it cannot compete with m-indicator, which provides not just auto and taxi fares but also local train times and BEST bus information.