We interviewed one of our customers, the founder from Smart Choice Technologies to understand how they use HERE services.
What does Smart Choice Technologies do?
Smart Choice Technologies provides online application and enrollment systems for schools. We also run lotteries for schools that take more applications than they have seats available.
How did you get started?
It started in 2006 as a school project. The high school I was in wanted to have an online application process, so I worked with one of the teachers to set up a simple application that would allow this. Around 2012, we made it into a product and started to offer it to other school districts. Originally, I was the only founder but this year merged with another company called Firefly Digital who was supporting and marketing the system. So now I have two other partners.
Today, we have about 85 customers (larger school districts of the United States) which means that we are used by about 4000 schools and 4 million students total.
What was the problem that led you to look for location solutions?
We typically have parents enter an address in our system and, using that address, determine what zone they live in. The zone identifies their home school and if they would qualify for other priorities that might be based on their location. Sometimes we even determine the distance from their home address to a school they are enrolling or applying so that they can determine the point to point distance. Recently we’ve been giving directions – not just a point to point – but the actual route to their school to give them an accurate estimate on how close they are to their school. To do this, we need to have an accurate and reliable geocoder service.
How did you find out about HERE Technologies?
I found HERE by doing an online search. We were using a different geocoding company since the time we started but we were not happy with the quality of their service, so we started searching for alternatives.
Why did you decide to use HERE? What factors in location services were most important for you?
The number one reason for us was the accuracy of the service. The provider that we used before HERE was not very accurate. We were receiving complaints that the student addresses were wrong and that would put them in the wrong zone or giving them priorities incorrectly. After testing HERE for just a week we could see that the results were very accurate. We haven’t had one customer yet coming back and saying that the address was geocoded incorrectly. With the other services we tried we would typically hear every couple days something about a bad address.
The second factor would be the cost. We do not charge our clients for the geocoding services as we used to be able to get it cheaply from the previous provider. With other big providers we tested, the cost was so high that we would not be able to justify that cost to our customers. With HERE, the cost was reasonable enough. Also, we are very happy with the HERE customer services. And now you have made my day with the new Freemium plan 😊.
Which HERE services are you using?
How are we helping you to achieve your technical and business goals?
By the service working. It gives us the data that we need, it is very reliable, the API was very easy to plug in. We don’t have to worry about the location services anymore, it just works.