The company’s mission is to push forward the “unbundling” of the car as a concept; they see micro-mobility as the solution for short trips under 5km.
With a passion for providing optimal customer service and constantly improving rider efficiencies, Pranjal Kalra, the director of strategy and expansion at Beam, knew the importance of working with Twilio - a brand that specialises in localised customer service and support and prioritises communication between the company and consumer.
The most important thing for Beam’s largest segment of customers is reliability of the service. These commuters use Beam for “last mile connectivity” between the train station and the office, or from their office to their regular lunch joint. For these customers, Beam works through the night to ensure that the scooters are in these hotspots, where the commuters need them to be, working, charged up, and ready to go. One of the key factors to ensure that this can happen, is connectivity between Beam and the individual scooters. Beam also measures failure-rates of trips, and prides itself on monitoring this closely to ensure that there’s a 98-99% success rate on both short and longer trips.
When Beam first established itself as a company, it was working with a Singapore-based connectivity provider. One of Kalra’s first projects was to find a new vendor after the company upgraded to IoT.
“When we’re working in big cities like South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, and more, the reliability of the GPS is very important,” said Kalra, speaking to low bandwidth issues that started his search for Twilio partnership. “The existing solution wasn’t able to give us the reliability we needed. The range that we needed was increasing and we felt we needed to move to a 4G LTE network.”
Karla also knew that with IoT-enabled devices, Beam could do much more in terms of functionality. “You can track so much more - around anti theft, for example, the ability to remotely lock and unlock a vehicle, track the progress of the battery, and so much more. So that was one reason why we needed to switch to a different provider.
Beam made its final decision to work with Twilio based on its proven flexibility; Beam is a young company that understands there are plenty of moving parts and potential changes that come with new business. It was looking for a company with this flexibility, but also reliability of service.
“We felt that the faster response, the reliability of the service and the ability to provide us with a flexible contract and settings, all while taking the time to answer our questions related to this new technology were the factors that pushed us to work with Twilio,” explained Kalra.
After using Twilio IoT our GPS accuracy improved by over 30% - making it easier for scooters to be found by riders, therefore resulting in higher trips; Additionally, it is now easier for marshals (on-ground staff) to find scooters and collect them, reducing the time required for individual task completed.
“In the tech world, the biggest drop off that you see is in the first four or five journeys of the customer, which is when they download the app, add payment details and authorise the system. So that aspect of the service becomes very, very essential and Twilio’s SMS authorisation process is extremely reliable and ensures this runs smoothly, creating a great customer experience.
The bigger impact has been on the reliability of operations for Beam. Because every scooter has its own SIM card, the team at Beam is able to clearly track where each unit is and understand exactly what it’s doing. For example, if a scooter has low battery, one of the service providers knows where it is, so they can go pick it up before another customer comes around and tries to use it. This also means that they’re able to better deploy their scooter technicians to ensure that all their vehicles are running well - they only need to go to the vehicles that need service, as opposed to checking every single vehicle.
Beam has gone further with this, and created a proprietary tool called Questbox around Twilio’s IoT solution, which has automated the creation of tasks for staff on the ground. The self-diagnosing scooters generate a task and it gets automatically assigned to someone on the ground.
“After using Twilio IoT our GPS accuracy improved by over 30% - making it easier for scooters to be found by riders, therefore resulting in higher trips; Additionally, it is now easier for marshals (on-ground staff) to find scooters and collect them, reducing the time required for individual task completed.”
“Connectability via micro-mobility is something that can fundamentally change the way people look at cars and the whole agility around movement”, Kalra explained. Ridesharing has been a step in the right direction, but these assets are still taking up too much space on the roads and sitting in a garage for the majority of the time. Micro-mobility is the next wave of improvement, particularly in the self-service aspect. Consumers won’t have to pay driver and vehicle fees to get around to short distances; micro-mobility is changing the game and even impacting the way cities are planned and built.”
“Wherever the players are innovating and providing a good service quality, the market has really taken to micro-mobility,” said Kalra. “I think the future is very bright for micro-mobility in general.”