Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, local workers have lost their jobs. Even after reopening, due to social distancing, it will make it difficult for them to search for jobs. People have demands for various domestic services, local works. Small/Local businesses also need manpower (local workers) as well as local orders (for domestic or local services) to get back into the trade.

Facebook marketplace, craigslist provides some advert-posting, but it lacks end to end tracking of works done. It does not help much in feedback tracking, payment, and building job history.

So we need a platform which can connect these people.

What it does

Hire people locally and get your work done.

Localy creates a bridge between people/local businesses and the manual laborers/workers for getting any form of local works done. It can be services, quick jobs, or permanent jobs as well.

It is an aggregator that connects these people. A worker can get hired by a person or local business who wants some work or services to be done. Alternatively, a local shop owner can also pick such customer requests from Localy and serve the customer to get paid.

Localy promotes the local economy.

  • Provides job posting related to domestic services (Landscaping, Home Delivery, Baby Sitting, Plumbing etc). Converts your local need into a quick job contract.
  • Job history build-up for all local works/quick jobs done.
  • End-to-End job tracking, which is missing in other Job advertisement sites.
  • Job analytics based on area, type, etc.

How we built it

  • We conceptualized our thoughts and then verified from the other job portals to assess the gap. It was an important assessment to identify the effectiveness of our tool.
  • We prepared a prototyping requirement to define the scope of work. Created a design approach and shortlisted the features for inclusion. Used Pega 8.3 version.
  • Created anonymous guest user experience and dynamic operator creation through the signup process.
  • Case life cycles were created through Case designer for Registration and Job posting.
  • Integrated USPS API for address validation and correction, and then integrated MapQuest API for long-lat determination (since the job can be posted in reference to any location). Integrated maps across the user views.
  • Integrated Twilio API for SMS-based OTP authentication.
  • Brought social flavors to process flow through tags, built-in public spaces, follow, and pulse private messaging. The idea was to enforce communication between parties without exposing contact details.
  • Gradually built reporting analytics. Job analytics was a very important feature because it will help users to identify locally popular forms of jobs available. And it can encourage them to re-skill or try various sets of jobs.
  • UI Elevation was done after end-to-end unit testing. To make it intuitive tooltips, guided tours were developed. It would allow the user to self-learn the use.

Challenges we ran into

There were 4 challenges.

  • Challenge 1 - To verify a valid phone number belonging to the same user who is registering. For Phone number verification, Twilio-API was integrated and used for sending OTP via SMS. Invoking the right request structure from Pega was a difficult job.
  • Challenge 2 - Testing Twilio integration was difficult since we used a trial account. For the trial account, SMS can be sent only to numbers that were added to the Twilio-Verified list prior to testing. To mitigate it, we used a flag based approach to turn on/off the OTP feature, by bringing two different flavors of the application. In a real business scenario, it can be easily overcome through a paid business account.
  • Challenge 3 - The jobs’ location and the device from which the jobs are posted may not be the same. We had to correct user given addresses through USPS validation, and then convert them into Longitude/Latitude through MapQuest API. It allowed us to help a worker find nearby jobs.
  • Challenge 4 - Giving our entire interface a simplistic view that can be understood by a Local worker with limited or no knowledge. Adding the features which are not available in other

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to learn and leverage the power of Pega social gadgets (Tag, Follow, Pulse, Spaces) into our application user experience. Additionally, we created an Anonymous user experience that can allow a guest user to explore across the website and gather interest for sign up. We created a simplistic 4 step sign up process which creates an ID for instant access. Twilio API integration helped us adding the OTP feature into the application.

What we learned

Technology or digital transformation can overcome the situations created by any pandemic or economic crisis. Simple tools or applications have solid potential to convert crisis into opportunity by connecting people. Alongside this, we learned how various microservices that are readily available in the market, can be orchestrated under a single Pega application to build an intuitive business process.

What's next for Localy - Real Jobs. Connected.

Localy has been built as a Prototype application with end-to-end coverage of the primary business scenario mentioned. But we have plans to make it market-ready with some more features in our mind-

  • Presently Localy is a Web application. It needs to be ported as a mobile application, as a must. Most of the workers are on the field, and hence creating it as an app will enhance its market-appeal.
  • Automated User profile verification through Image scanning of driving license and profile inside Pega. Presently it’s a manual verification by the HR Team. Integration with Identity Check API .
  • Payment gateway integration.
  • Language support and Localization is a key feature we want to implement to enhance its appeal for workers from any native language.
  • Use Localy data to create microservices and support other online businesses and analytical services.
  • Additional security for anonymous log-in through masked-url.

Once implemented, we have a plan for bringing this application into the market.

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