Founded early 2013, in Cairo, Egypt’s TrafficBytes, is an M2M cellular-based roads traffic management system that allows mobile operators and telecom vendors to leverage their cellular infrastructure and provide real-time accurate roads traffic information.
The startup aims to transform existing big data at mobile operators related to cellular events like signal profiling into useful information related to positions and speeds. TrafficBytes leverages existing cellular towers and uses them to monitor roads traffic, given that all global mobile operators are competing to provide better coverage, even in developing countries.
The founder, Mohamed Hussein, armed with an M.Sc in computer systems and his friends Mai Hassan, M.Sc in Telecommunication, Eng.. Heba Gaber, M.Sc in SW Eng and Asmaa Magdi, B.Sc in SW Eng wanted to do something about Cairo’s Traffic. After deep thinking, they saw the opportunity of using mobile phones to monitor traffic. Given the fact that mobile penetration in the African continent has reached 80%, and it is still the fastest growing region within the world. This means 8 out of 10 Africans have a mobile phone. Hence, the birth of TrafficBytes.
“Traffic congestion is a real worldwide problem, every country is searching for suitable methods to monitor every vehicle, everywhere and every when,” Hussein told TechMoran. “While ITS or Intelligent Transportation Systems components are too expensive for developing countries, searching for an autonomous cheap method to monitor vehicular traffic is a must. This will not only allow commuters and end-users to find shortest path, but will also allow governments to model the entire roads traffics and evaluate performance of the transportation infrastructure.”
“Our solution leverages the power of every phone on the road and transforms each device into a probe or sensor to measure the vehicular traffic- this is the power of big data without affecting the operator infrastructure or force users to install custom apps on their phone. Our solution transforms existing big data from mobile operator side into useful live vehicular traffic information,” Hussein adds.
The Machine to Machine model (M2M) can be used by businesses to consumers via SMS, USSD, or premium mobile apps. Consumers shall receive alerts/notification about a user’s favorite road or current speed, incidents, possible congestion among others. Users are charged a small fee on subscription.
However, TrafficBytes says the most valuable model allows businesses and enterprises to provide value-added services to their existing clients. Example for such clients are car manufacturers, mobile vendors, GPS vendors, map/navigation service providers, Radio RDS-FM providers, Traffic Brokers, etc, usually the model is based on license or subscription. Lastly, they will have B2G which allows governments to build their custom solutions or reporting systems via a license.
The first in the Middle East and North Africa, TrafficBytes is targeting Africa, the Middle East and developed countries to help them curb traffic congestion using mobile phones. They have received $20,000 as first round of investment and currently receiving second round of investments of about $30,000 from TA Telecom, CEO Amr Shady. TrafficBytes was awarded in the Intel Business Challenge in Middle East last year.
The team’s major challenge has been dealing with mobile operators and corporations’ who despise the capabilities of startups. However, their investor has been of help and has helped initiate two business leads and loads of other invaluable resources.
Apart from TrafficBytes, the team is also working on a system which analyzes big data of mobile operators, which provides a deep analysis to customers’ insights and demographics on the spatial and temporal domains. For example, what are the most commuters’ site attractions? defining of home/work locations, measure immigration levels, etc. This allows operators to provide a better customer experience and enhance their marketing campaigns.
At the moment, the team is happy to engage with one or more potential clients in Africa, and start global marketing campaigns from DEMO Africa launch pad where they have been selected as finalists.
“We’re really excited being part of this competition, we were searching for any lead in Africa, and here we go to the center of the black continent to pitch our venture in front of hundreds of VC and VIPs,” concludes Hussein.