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Friday, September 14, 2007

GP 789 and the location based services connection

Please don't be confused between 786 and 789. 786 is the Arabic numeric for 'Bismillah', its also the helpline number if your Warid connection has got a problem. 789, on the other hand, is GrameenPhone's healthline service, its the helpline number if your body connection has got a problem.

The best time to rip off money from general public by our businesses is when they are the most vulnerable. Be it during Ramadan with the hike in the prices of essentials, be it with taxi fares when there are no other taxis around etc. Similarly, when you call your favorite mobile operator's hotline (121 for me...GP) when your mobile connection is not pay 'extra' charges...also when your body and soul connection is not can dial 789...the GP healthline call center...start counting 15 taka for 1st 3 minutes...then 3 taka for every next minute...and seek divine directions and prescriptions from the doctors on the other side of the line. 15 taka is not a big deal I guess when we are talking about life and death situation right? I personally have not checked their service out, so I will refrain from being critical about it. Just as a food for thought, I wanted to raise the topic of 'location based services', initially coined by fellow blogger Bengal*Foam here.

Imagine when you call the 789 helpline and seek advice, the doctor at the call center is able to view from where your call is being generated (under which Base Transceiver Station, you are located). Then alongside giving you basic advice over phone, how wonderful it would be if the doc is also able to recommend you (or your family/friend incase you are unable to talk) the nearest hospital or life-saving drugs in pharmacies in 'your area' . A true customer delight would be if the call center can call an ambulance from the nearest hospital to be rushed to your place. 15 taka/3 minutes no big deal then isn't it?

The city is already divided into hexagon-shaped BTS zones where our present location appears as a tooltip in most modern handsets. Hospitals, pharmacies etc. can tie up with GP, pay them a monthly subscription fee, so that when calls are generated from 'their' TBS territory, the call center can forward the patients to the subscribed hospitals, pharmacies incase the service gets beyond the call center docs' scope. So GP gets rich from both ends. And what about us...the patients? Frankly speaking I won't mind if the GP health call center sends a request on my behalf to my 'local' pharmacy to do home delivery of a Tushka syrup and 3 files of Ace tablets. I know I am vulnerable, alone and suffering from illness at home, I know people will make use of it and squeeze out money out of my pocket...please take it out from my flexiLoad/pre-paid account automatically...I will see what can be done when I am back on my feet again.

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