Recently I won the first round of Microsoft and BT’s Connected Services Sandbox Competition. My entry was an idea of a mashup enabling Collaborative Logistics which offers transport companies a revolutionary way to cut costs and streamline logistic operations. The idea is to share unused capacity in Trucks. Trucks which are not full can communicate the available space to the Mashup Service which will then broadcast the same to Mashup service subscribers using SMS. Similarly a Truck Owner can broadcast his unused space to subscribers through the Mashup service. For small companies this will mean cutting high costs of half full truck shipments.
My win was in first of three, two-stage Connected Services Sandbox competitions held jointly by Microsoft, BT and TopCoder. The Microsoft Connected Services Sandbox is a live proof-of-concept and demonstration environment that is designed to facilitate the ecosystem of partners, customers and developers to integrate and demonstrate the collective value of our solutions.
To share some more good news, subsequently I won the Assembly competition also for the same idea. Couple of my colleagues (Vikram Saraf and Sachin Bansal, both super-sharp developers :) ) helped me in this phase. The mashup service we created uses Microsoft's MapPoint Web Service and Virtual Earth SDK and three Web21C services (Authentication, Location, SMS Service). We also made provisions for usage of other BT services like InBoundSMS and Location service.
I see a great future in the area of Collaborative Logistics. The mashup targets the long tail of small and medium businesses. The mashup can be evolved by creating a community around the Service. Leveraging MapPoint and Virtual Earth API’s, users can create their profiles and provide links to their web sites etc. Remember, a loyal community converts into long term customers so even though the service can be initially provided free but at a later stage can be made a paid service thus sustaining itself and generating revenues too.
More links including my interview by Microsoft: