Technology

GRiDD Technologies Platform Building Affiliate Connections

Martin Romjue
Posted on December 12, 2018
The service sector marketplace now demands real-time connectivity. (LCT image via Getty)

The service sector marketplace now demands real-time connectivity. (LCT image via Getty)

LOS ANGELES — GRiDD Technologies, which has made a name in the industry for its GNet platform that could connect all software networks into a real-time on-demand chauffeured service, has steadily been adding operator clients since it launched more than a year ago.

So far, GNet has more than 800 service providers spanning five continents with an estimated 15,000+ luxury fleet vehicles available on its platform. Zafar has compared GNet to a behind-the-scenes "plumbing" infrastructure for universal affiliate connections that provides real-time vehicle location and status updates.

“There are new companies signing up every day and we expect the numbers to grow exponentially,” founder and CEO Amir Zafar told LCT Magazine for an update.

As of today, GNet’s platform is connected to the following software and network providers: 2S LimuERP (Germany), FASTTRAK, GroundLink, GroundScope, Hudson Group, Limo Anywhere, LimoConnect 247 / Latitude 247, LimoLink, Livery Coach, and TBR.

GRiDD has been in discussions with Addison Lee, Here Mobility, Karhoo, and SummitQwest.

“GNet has been up and running for over a year and we have facilitated tens of thousands of completed reservations to date,” Zafar said. “More integrations are still being worked on and should be live within the next few months.”

GNet's Amir and Yasmin Zafar at the 2018 International LCT Show in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

GNet's Amir and Yasmin Zafar at the 2018 International LCT Show in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

Zafar recently engaged in a Q&A with LCT Magazine in person and via email. Here is a summary:

Q: What is the status of possible connections to other major networks, and what needs to be done to bring it about?
A: Empire CLS / Santa Cruz: We have always been transparent about our neutrality and created GNet to meet the needs of the chauffeured service industry. We never say no to any integrations and have had discussions with both Empire CLS and Santa Cruz.

Due to overwhelming demand from Santa Cruz users who have personally reached out to us and asked what could be done to get them on board with GRiDD’s GNet platform, we provided Santa Cruz with all information needed for such an integration. We provided all requested documents including an NDA and our contract (the same contract that has been provided to all our software partners). We have addressed all concerns Santa Cruz may have as well as answered all questions posed. Although we have not heard back from Santa Cruz, we continue to look forward to integrating with their system in order to meet the pressing, urgent needs of our industry.

As for Empire CLS, we have had extensive talks with them over the past few years, and look forward to including them on the GNet platform when they are ready. They would be another key integration whose participation would truly benefit not only themselves but also the industry as a whole.

Dav El Boston I Coach / Limo Anywhere: Our relationship with Limo Anywhere is solid, as it is with all of our software partners. Our goal is simple: make our partners look good and provide an added value service for their clients via their existing technology.

Since GNet went live over a year ago, Limo Anywhere users have had the capability to receive reservations through our platform. All information has been provided to the Limo Anywhere research and development team in order to complete sending reservations from Limo Anywhere through GNet. We are confident of the benefits to Limo Anywhere users to have the capability of also sending reservations rather than just receiving. The ability to pick and choose one’s affiliate partners based on capabilities and quality of service they provide in a given market is paramount.  

We have had discussions with Boston Coach prior to going live, and continue to encourage them to look at GNet as a useful utility. We are here to serve the entire chauffeured service industry and help ensure its success today, and well into the future with our innovative, synergistic technology.

Addison Lee: Due to an existing agreement, we are not at the liberty of discussing Addison Lee at this time.

Carey International: As with other highly respected major network providers, we have had discussions with Carey International before GNet went live. They are currently using an in-house solution for their network. Of course, we are confident that including a GNet integration will amplify their distribution capability.  We are more than eager to revisit the topic with them and demonstrate the enhanced capabilities GNet can deliver.

Q: What security assurances do you have to avoid data compromise and concentration?
A: GNet is a network switch that deals with real-time synchronization of trips. We neither store data for revenue purposes nor do we have plans on capturing or storing any sensitive data retrieved from member systems. We respect the operators’ privacy and their relationships with their clients. We encrypt all reservation data that is received and delete upon completion of a trip. GNet leaves sensitive data on the operator’s dispatch systems by design.

The affiliate sending the reservation becomes the CLIENT, and their client becomes just a passenger name on the target affiliate system. No account numbers or corporate client information is ever sent to the partners. In order to maximize the protection of our member’s data our approach has been to store the least amount of data necessary to hand off a reservation to another operator.

Q: Please explain the G-Net business model. How does G-Net make money from handling rides and reservations?
A: GNet makes money by facilitating the delivery and synchronization of a trip between two parties, very much like a phone company that lets anyone call anyone and only charges line usage fee. This trip can be sent from a limo company to another limo company, or from a vertical entity like Limolink, or Karhoo to a limo company. We don't take a percentage of trip charges, and don't care how much each trip costs. Our transaction fee is the same flat rate per reservation.

Our business model is to make $1 per trip (50 cents from each ride). Depending on the software company, charges will vary. The software companies may add a surcharge to this fee so they make some revenue and support maintenance of the gateways/APIs.

Data accessed by GNet is only related to stops, passenger names/aliases, and trip instructions and its the same content being freely emailed between providers today, so there are no secrets that we tap into.

Q: What if the industry does not eventually have one system, but three major ones, for example, including G-Net? What are pros and cons?
A: Theoretically, there can be many networks that connect groups of systems, however, there is room for only one super-network which connects them all, a position which GNet is already fulfilling as a neutral entity.

We believe there would be little benefit to having multiple networks that do the same exact thing. It is incredibly complex to build a platform similar to GNet. It would take at least two years to build, and a huge financial commitment to replicate what GNet offers today. Not to mention the fact that any entity wanting to occupy the same arena would have to create and establish trusted partnerships with software partners. Such trust could take years to build. Don’t forget that the major reason why GNet makes sense in our industry is the fact that we are a neutral entity with no hidden agenda.

The GNet effort is a joint collaboration between GRiDD and the software partners who are seeking uniform industry wide connectivity.

The cost of maintaining three separate (but identical) networks that do the same thing would not make business sense for the software companies, and will only confuse the industry. We are all aiming for simplicity. Ultimately and most importantly, time is of the essence for our industry which is dangerously lagging in the technology and connectivity arena. The need for our industry to standardize and streamline our processes to survive against the expectations created by rideshare companies can no longer be ignored. Let’s address the immediate needs we are faced with today, which are imperative for the survival of the chauffeured service industry.

Although there are claims of technologies equivalent to GNet within our industry, no competing platform has materialized …in our opinion, these are pied pipers who are hypnotizing operators with their beautiful music but leading them to self-destruction!

Q: What are other future uses for GRiDD, such as trucking, messaging, etc., and how soon will the system include these industries?
A: The GRiDD concept works for all transportation sectors, and each have their own specific needs. We started with chauffeured services because this industry was where the need was so obvious to us. There are viable applications to trucking, delivery service companies, and many others where vehicle usage must be maximized to decrease costs and increase profits. We have had preliminary conversations with members of several industries, but our concentration has been making the chauffeured services model prove out. The other verticals we are exploring are not quite as complicated — technologically or politically — as the chauffeured services industry. We are very excited to see the mass adoption of the GNet platform at all levels.

Related Topics: affiliate networks, Connectivity, GRiDD, mobile technology, reservation management software

Martin Romjue Editor
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