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NextBillion.ai Product Bytes — Q1 2024

7 mins Read

April 23, 2024

Buckle up for a recap of the first quarter of 2024 at NextBillion.ai!

Discover how our Route Optimization API now offers cost-saving routing options and specialized support for hazmat routing. Uncover the significant upgrades in our Navigation, Distance Matrix and Directions APIs tailored to optimize specialized vehicles and cargo routes. Powerful NCC upgrades like the Route Planner UI Tool and Fleet Hub. New integrations and industry-specific resources round out a jam-packed quarter.

Let’s get started.

New Product Features

Introducing Upgrades to Route Optimization API


Check out the latest enhancements to our Route Optimization API. From cost-saving ‘avoid’ routing options to specialized support for transporting hazardous materials, these updates equip you to tackle your logistics challenges more efficiently.

1. Plan smarter routes: Avoid tolls, ferries & highways

The API now offers ‘avoid’ routing options. This means you can exclude tolls, ferries or highways to customize routes that suit your business needs and ensure compliance with regulations.

2. Get specialized support for hazmat routing

Our latest update includes ‘hazmat’ routing support. This feature ensures compliance with safety regulations and facilitates the efficient transportation of hazardous materials. It considers the type of materials your fleet is carrying and avoids roads unsuitable for those specific materials.

3. Organize task assignments by area with zone allocation

The ‘zones’ allocation feature enhances the flexibility and precision of route planning. It allows you to allocate tasks, be it jobs or shipments, to specific geographic areas defined by custom boundaries.

4. Save time by grouping nearby tasks

Streamline order management by efficiently combining orders based on your business criteria. The ‘order grouping’ constraint allows you to combine multiple orders into a single stop based on a defined grouping diameter.

5. Organize routes by area with route grouping

The zone-based ‘route grouping’ feature analyzes straight-line distance to group orders in specific zones. It prioritizes deliveries within a zone, guaranteeing you complete nearby tasks first before heading to further locations.

You can:

  • Tailor routes to your business needs and achieve regulatory compliance by excluding tolls, ferries or highways.
  • Ensure compliance and safety while transporting hazardous materials.
  • Assign jobs or shipments to specific geographic zones defined by custom boundaries for enhanced planning.
  • Combine multiple orders into single stops based on predefined criteria.
  • Optimize delivery sequences by grouping orders based on proximity.

Business benefits:

  • Eliminate unpredictable delays and reduce costs by minimizing expenses on tolls, ferries and fuel consumption.
  • Enhance safety compliance for hazardous material transportation to avoid fines and delays.
  • Improve workforce deployment and time management.
  • Streamline order processing and reduce workflow complexity.
  • Prioritize nearby deliveries to minimize travel time and maximize productivity.

Explore the details of these new features in NextBillion.ai Route Optimization API documentation.

Routing APIs Enhancements – Navigation, Distance Matrix and Directions


We’ve significantly enhanced our Navigation, Distance Matrix and Directions APIs with features specifically designed to address the unique challenges of location-driven industries. Let’s explore how these advancements can optimize specialized vehicles and cargo routes.

1. Protect your fleet with truck axle load considerations

Ensure optimal route planning for heavy-duty vehicles with the new truck axle load considerations feature. Specify your vehicle’s total axle load, including trailers and cargo weight, and our API will factor in vehicle weight distribution to recommend routes that legally accommodate your specific load requirements. This helps prevent infrastructure damage, legal issues and minimizes wear and tear on your fleet.

2. Optimal route planning for cross-border operations

With the cross-border route planning capabilities, you can seamlessly plan routes across borders. Whether planning international shipments or interstate travel, our APIs help you navigate efficiently across diverse geographical regions and simplify logistics operations.

3. Support for safe hazmat route planning

Our routing APIs now support hazmat routing. Simply specify the type of hazardous materials you are transporting and the APIs will calculate routes that prioritize safety and regulatory compliance. This ensures you avoid restricted roads and navigate efficiently, minimizing risks and delays.

4. Skip detours with the ‘avoid service road’ option

Refine your route planning with our latest enhancement: the ‘avoid service road’ option in our routing APIs. This feature enables you to exclude service roads from route calculations, ensuring accurate navigation on main roads for optimal efficiency.

You can:

  • Utilize the truck axle load considerations feature to ensure optimal route planning for heavy-duty vehicles by considering weight distribution and load requirements.
  • Seamlessly plan routes across borders for international shipments or interstate travel.
  • Specify hazmat-type specifications to tailor route planning according to hazardous material transportation regulations.
  • Utilize the ‘avoid service road’ option to exclude service roads from route calculations for accurate navigation on main roads.

Business Benefits:

  • Minimize wear and tear on heavy-duty vehicles, reducing maintenance costs and extending fleet lifespan.
  • Efficiently navigate cross-border routes, reducing transit times and enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Ensure compliance with hazmat transportation regulations, mitigating risks and avoiding regulatory penalties.
  • Refine route planning for accurate navigation, minimizing detours and optimizing resource utilization.

Refer to our Directions API, Distance Matrix API and Navigation API documentation for detailed information.

New Products

Enhance asset management with Flutter Tracking SDK


NextBillion.ai’s Flutter Tracking SDK is a valuable resource for developers, offering advanced location-tracking capabilities to streamline asset management within applications. With seamless integration, real-time updates, and customizable features, it enhances tracking efficiency.

You can:

  • Add real-time location tracking to your Android or iOS apps with ease.
  • Choose to upload data to our backend or your preferred database for maximum control.
  • Get real-time updates on asset location and tracking status for optimal awareness.
  • Access detailed asset information for in-depth analysis and reporting.

Business benefits:

  • Simplify asset management processes with efficient asset creation and binding functionalities.
  • Optimize monitoring and control with tracking status callback functionality, enabling timely notifications on tracking status changes.
  • Access to comprehensive asset details facilitates informed decision-making, leading to more strategic business actions.
  • The SDK’s flexibility allows seamless integration into existing applications, minimizing development efforts and time to market.

Explore the Flutter Tracking SDK documentation to start integrating real-time tracking into your applications.

Other Important Updates

Introducing Route Planner and Fleet Hub User Interface (UI) Tools in the NextBillion.ai Cloud Console (NCC)

Route Planner Tool

This no-code tool seamlessly leverages the capabilities of our Route Optimization API and offers an intuitive interface. Simplify your route planning workflows and start saving time right away. Let’s explore how it can streamline your operations.

Key features:

  • Users can easily upload CSV files containing job, shipment and vehicle data or paste JSON data directly into the tool.
  • Configure various constraints to tailor route optimization according to specific requirements. You can adjust constraints like ‘maximum vehicle overtime,’ ‘maximum vehicle lateness,’ and ‘maximum activity waiting time’ to meet your unique operational needs.
  • Choose from predefined objective functions like travel_cost or define custom objectives to prioritize specific criteria in route optimization.
  • Select routing mode and specify traffic timestamps to ensure accurate and optimized route planning based on real-world conditions.

Once all input data and configurations are set, the Route Planner UI Tool compiles this information and presents the optimized route in a user-friendly interface.

Fleet Hub

The Fleet Hub is an easy-to-use, central place to manage your integrations with supported third-party TMS platforms. Use it to dispatch optimized routes to your drivers, who can access them on a mobile app and navigate the planned route to complete the orders.

Key features:

  • Create multiple connections to supported third-party platforms. We support Netradyne and Samsara currently.
  • Import drivers from the connected platforms. You can also invite new drivers.
  • Dispatch routes to individual applications that drivers can easily access.
  • Your drivers can mark the order complete after reaching the location and upload proof of delivery documents/images.

Technical Notebooks


Explore technical notebooks that offer valuable insights and practical guidance for developers and businesses alike. They showcase the innovative capabilities of NextBillion.ai solutions in addressing real-world challenges and optimizing operations for enhanced efficiency.

1. Food Delivery Route Optimization: Guide for Efficient Route Planning

Learn how a food delivery company in India uses NextBillion.ai’s Route Optimization solution to plan efficient routes. This notebook tackles the challenge of meeting tight two-hour delivery windows and diverse customer locations. Explore how the strategic placement of handover points ensures compliant and quick deliveries, boosting customer satisfaction.

2. Volume LTL Shipping Implementation

Discover the implementation of Volume Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping using NextBillion.ai products. This technical notebook showcases how a manufacturer in Columbus uses Route Optimization API, Directions API and Web Maps SDK to ship bulk orders across three US cities. It details overcoming challenges like liftgate-equipped truck requirements, ultimately optimizing transport for timely delivery.

Introducing integration with ServiceNow, Dynamics 365 and Verizon Connect


Building upon our successful track record of seamless integrations with other platforms, we’re thrilled to announce the addition of three key players: ServiceNow, Dynamics 365 and Verizon Connect.

  • ServiceNow: Combine ServiceNow’s robust features with our Route Optimization API for advanced logistics and service delivery.
  • Dynamics 365: Optimize field service operations with real-time visibility and intelligent insights, complemented by our efficient route planning technology.
  • Verizon Connect: Streamline fleet management with comprehensive insights and precise route planning, empowering businesses to revolutionize their field operations.

These integrations further solidify our commitment to empowering businesses with comprehensive solutions to tackle their operational challenges head-on.

Heads up! New ‘Solutions’ section in our documentation


We’ve launched a new section in our documentation: Solutions. This section focuses on offering technical solutions to solve common industry-specific problems. Here are the two we added in the first quarter:

  • Trucking: This solution features use cases that address common challenges trucking companies face, from optimizing truck route planning and compliance to real-time tracking and post-trip analysis.
    Click here to explore the technical solutions for the trucking industry.
  • Fleet Management: This resource covers a wide range of functionalities, from enhancing vehicle tracking and optimizing maintenance schedules to obtaining live ETAs and routing all types of vehicles (trucks and cars) in your fleet.
    Click here to explore the technical solutions for the fleet management industry.

In The Pipeline

Our team is gearing up for exciting updates in the next three months. Route Optimization API is getting a boost with new features, such as improved depot functionalities and solutions for handling incompatible orders. Keep an eye out for our new Driver app, powerful integrations with AWS, GCP, and more, along with informative notebooks.

Stay tuned for an exciting quarter ahead!

About Author

Gaurav Bubna

Gaurav is a product leader with a diverse background spanning startups and technology giants. As the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer(CPO) at NextBillion.ai, he drives product innovation ensuring that they remain at the forefront of technological advancements in location intelligence space.

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