The novel Coronavirus has changed our lives significantly. We have seen regulations like lockdown, work from home, and remote classrooms. All of these methods have lasted for more than a year now, which is longer than everybody has expected. For a lot of people, the life pattern has changed. The interaction between humans has dropped significantly, and we believe that human interaction is crucial for society as a whole. What is more, it is especially important and essential for students in universities to meet each other with their peers and professors to better boost their study as well as college overall experience. We understand that after the COVID-19 era, it will not be rapid and easy before things get back to normal, but our society needs interactions. Therefore, we decided to develop an application that encourages and motivates students at Rice to meet each other and go to in-person lectures to help Rice rapidly get back to normal once the pandemic ends.​

What it does

RNet is a user-friendly one as it provides an intuitive user interface from the first time the users enter. ​ We allow users to locate themselves as well as provide them with listed information including the account sign-in, the map, the list of events, the user's coupons as well as a camera icon in the middle to allow users to use it for scanning QR codes. ​ Users will be given a coupon when they attend their lectures in classrooms and will also be given a coupon when two users scan each other's QR codes.​

Using Firebase, we leverage Google's storage infrastructure to build serverless, secure apps at a global scale. This not only allows us to synchronize our app data between devices in real-time and effortlessly scale to support millions of users. We also try to solve the inconsistency of NoSQL with the algorithm we built.

In order to solve the high traffic problem, we decided to use Docker to deploy our app to a serverless environment. Google’s Cloud Run allows for scalable containerized applications in a fully managed serverless environment. Our app is aimed at High Scalability for millions of users and High Availability Architecture for millions of users to visit our website at the same time.

How we built it

Our website was built with JavaScript, as well as HTML and CSS in a React framework. We stored our databases in Firebase, and we implemented our map using react-google-maps API. We use Google Cloud​ Platform to obtain all the API Keys we need. Furthermore, we use Docker for cloud deployment.

Challenges we ran into

Challenges that we ran into include choosing which database to use and what to attract students to get back to school. We decided to use Firebase because it provides better stability. To attract students, we encourage students to come to school and check-in for the events to obtain coupons.

What we learned

We learned new technical skills, such as integrating Firebase and applying REST API, working with google-maps-react API, and deployment to the Docker

What's next for RNet

  1. Could increase the accuracy of the location detection​ e.g.: Bluetooth detection of distance so that update of the coupon can be fully autonomous​
  2. Could come up with more methods of obtaining the coupons e.g.: Make more use of the camera, like AR technologies​
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