Friday, July 15, 2011

[General]– ‘Convoy’ iPhone app now live on the App Store

It’s been a bit quiet around here for a while – I apologize for the lack of posts. I’ve been busy working on a number of things that have sapped all of my time. Firstly, I created the iPhone apps for the Revit Technology Conference, these were proposed in the 11th hour, so they were fairly simple – but were well received.

My next mobile project has been under development for a number of months now, and I’m proud to say that it is now live on the iOS app store. The project is called ‘Convoy’, and is an iPhone application designed to make driving in a ‘convoy’ a less stressful experience. Over the years I’ve come across a number of situations where myself and a group of people would be heading somewhere, be it one of Queensland’s great beaches, or a theme park, or a friends house, and someone will know the way, so everyone will try to follow them. Inevitably the group breaks up, and it becomes a stressful game of phone tag to try and organize everyone. Convoy aims to solve this.

Check out this promo video for an in depth explanation of the problem and how it solves it:
Convoy Promo Video

Basically, the application lets you create a new Convoy on our server, which will give you a unique code to give to your friends. They enter the code into their devices and they are then presented by a map which updates ever 5 seconds with the locations of your peers. Additionally, you can then communicate with everyone in the Convoy at once using the quick communication buttons. There is a button two identify a location to pull over for a pit stop, and a button to indicate hazards. You simply tap on the map where you want to indicate, and this location is shown on everyones screens. If you need to send a more detailed message, there is a group messaging feature.

The app is currently completely free. I’ve got plans to make a ‘lite’, advertising supported version in which you can only join Convoys but not create them, and then charge a small amount for the current, full version – so get in quick and grab it while it’s free.

You can check out the website for the app at, or see it live on the iTunes app store. For fellow Android fans, I’ve got an Android version in the works, stay tuned.

For those interested in the technical details, I’ll make a post soon outlining the various libraries and web services that I used for this app and my experiences with them. But briefly, the back end uses NodeJS (hosted on Heroku), MongoDB (hosted on MongoHQ) and Amazon S3 (for icon storage). I’ve used a bunch of great open source Objective C libraries as well which I look forward to writing about. 

Let me know what you think, if you have an suggestions I’d love to hear them, my email address is listed HERE.

PS, I would have loved to have licensed the Convoy song for the video, but it wasn’t to be :)