Localized services for Pakistan?

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The last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking more and more about localized services. Not just useable on mobiles (which Telenor, Mobilink and ICT RnD fund led us to believe is the next big thing at a recent SI event), but useable through the web in general.

Before I go any further, let me tell you why I’ve been thinking along these lines. I moved to Islamabad recently (as have a lot of others from all over the country, given the growing population of the city), and as of now, know jack about the businesses or services being offered here. A couple of recent examples have been:

  • Where to go for quality clothes shopping cheap?
  • What are the nearest video shops to my home? To my office? Whats the contact numbers?
  • What kind of home delivery services are there here?
  • Where’s the nearest hospital, emergency room, testing center and TCS center!
  • And so on so forth.

Being from a net-aware generation, and not having a lot of friends whom I could turn to (and those I did, told me to go to pindi for everything 😉 ) I tried turning to the web for the answers to these queries. And I had no where to turn to. What I need is a website where I give out a location and what kind of businesses im looking for, and the website gives me the names, contact information, address and driving instructions as well as any user reviews, so that I can

  • Save time by knowing where to go and
  • Know I’m dealing with professionals and spending my money wisely

What ends up happening is that im spending large amounts of time driving around or asking everybody I meet about the specific shops that I need. Given the hikes in fuel and other prices, Im sure my time and money would be well spent in other areas and not roaming around the city trying to find these things. Case in point, I still have to get my car fixed because I cant seem to find a good rated mechanic here. Everybody just tells me to go to pindi.

Anybody else feeling the need for such services? If so, what exactly would you need from them and how would you use them? Come up with ideas and maybe someone reading this blog might give it their time and attention.

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11 Comments

  • Welcome to the writers guild Mansoor.

    P.S. what kind of a crazy avatar is that – lol! We’re green, professional, good looking, dinosaurs?

    I agree with the first three (ha) but no man, we lean, mean forward-thinking machines!

  • thanks osama! good 2 be here! Hopefully to uphold the ideals that have become green & white.

    as for the avatar, yes.. green, professional and good looking, as well as every thing fun related to technology such as bubble bobble was in the early days of the computer 😀

    p.s.
    it was my favorite game back then

  • Ah yes – fun is also important

  • true that! in the words of a gleeful gamer..

    wwwwwwhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 😀

  • Hello Mansoor,

    The kind of web app you are looking for is not around the corner in Pakistan. I have actually looked at the solution for mobile devices. I have seen some solutions with infrastructure and point-of-interest layers but not with a commercial locations layer.

    Islamabad provides a unique opportunity to build proper directions layer too because it is so well planned. Such a layer in Lahore would be very tough because every housing society has its own numbering pattern and often you may find house number 79 after house number 123.

  • Dear Adnan: it sounds incredulous, but believe me when i say, islamabad is highly convulted internally as well :S

    Till sector and subsector level, things are okay, but when it comes to street level, its extremely confusing.

    But yea, i guess better than the other cities in pk :p

  • @Adnan Ali: you might like to watch this video which is actually Google’s innovation to provide Web based and if I say javascript based LBS(Location based Service) application.

    Google’s javascript based Db Engine “Gears” already working to provide JS based port for LBS services. In this way it will be possible to show a list of food centers at Burns Rd Karachi.

    Possibilities are endless.

  • Okay, there are many useless local business directories out there. But there are one serious player too:

    1. PhoneBook (phonebook.com.pk)

    This site is not using an obsolete php script as far as i know. And have got some potential. Research is left on Green & White as we are just informers and you are our reporters :)

    2. PakTive (paktive.com)

    Landmarks, restaurants, parks, services and businesses for Islamabad. With integrated google maps. (i have done a restaurant b2c portal of belgium/netherlands with integrated google maps; so i know a little about this and i can say that this guy has done very fine programming for integrating googe maps). I highly recommend Green & White to talk to profile this site.

    ———————————————–
    (disclaimer: i have literally no relationship/contact with the above 2 sites)

  • SelfExile: Thanks for Sharing Paktive.com. What an awesome App!- Thanks for share!

  • Adnan: What video are you referring to?

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