Kochi: Bev Q, a queue management app to facilitate distribution of liquor in Kerala, is likely to get Google Play Store's approval within seven days, a senior official with the startup company, Faircode Technologies, which developed the mobile application, said.
The delay over the launch of arguably the most awaited app in Kerala had been a matter of intense speculation among booze lovers, netizens and the public. Faircode Technologies director board member Naveen George clears the air about the app to Onmanorama.
Allegations have been raised that no such app exists. What is the status on the app?
The app was ready on May 18, connected to the server, and five rounds of testing completed. By 4am on Saturday (May 23), the app was uploaded on the Google Play Store. Some people are asking if five rounds of testing are needed, and that experts would have done it much faster. But a team tasked by the IT mission had conducted five rounds of security checks. Only after their checks, the app was uploaded on Play Store.
How many days did it take to develop app?
The contract with Beverages' Corporation (BEVCO) was finalised on May 15. The contract was signed that evening. We started work by May 16 and the app was developed by May 18. Even before the testing was completed, the IT mission had made a request to Google, seeking to speed up the procedures. Normally, the procedures will take about five to seven days. Google was informed that this was a government app and that the approval be fast-tracked.
How much longer before the consumers can start using the app?
The app can only be published after it gets Google clearance. But even then it will not be immediately published. The app will be put up on Google Play Store, the outlets included, and the user-level technical testing will be carried out. A test scenario of 10,000 people using the app at once would be created. Only after this, the app will be published. But media reports claimed that Bev Q app will be out on such a such date. Thus, tipplers were given false hopes and were left disappointed. These developments led to more reactions on social media.
Questions are being raised on the need for an app when a website would have been sufficient.
The main reason why we rejected the website option was the problem over managing the data load. The Bev Q app's data load will not be similar to that of the Sabarimala one. We are looking at a model to include maximum data locally. That's why we chose to develop an app. Even if we develop an app with minimal features now, this can later be expanded.
Allegations raised over the selection of your startup firm for developing the app?
We had actually first approached the government and offered to develop the app for free. But unfortunately, a section of the society only finds faults in everything. It is wrong to sensationalise issues. Then BEVCO decided to go through proper channel and invited tenders. Thirty companies came up with proposals and five among them were short-listed. The app architecture of all the proposals submitted to the BEVCO were more or less similar. These were evaluated and a score was given. This list of five companies were evaluated again and Faircode Technologies were picked as we had the highest score. This is the usual procedure. Politicians with the opposition front are voicing their opinions. But it is not for us to reply to them. Our task is to work for the best possible release. We will talk after that is achieved. Anything said before that will be just empty talk.
How many people are expected to use the app at once?
That's a technical aspect. Consider the normal rush. And the likely rush when the alcohol sales are resumed. Earlier, the outlets were open from 9am to 9pm. But now, these hours have been cut short. The earlier number of people may not arrive but there are more number of outlets. We are expecting the same amount of rush. If earlier there were 7 lakh bills daily, we are expecting the same number of bills when the outlets are re-opened.
Will company get a share of every bottle sold?
Nowhere in the contract does it say that the firm will be paid for every bottle sold. Fake reports of 50 paise per token are being spread. All the companies that reached the last round are aware whether such a contract exists. We have limitations in revealing the details of the contract. BEVCO is bearing all the expenses of the app. BEVCO is our client and we are only the developers of the app. Our contract is only with the BEVCO. Bars have not spent any money on the app. It is for BEVCO to take a call on charging bars, and beer and wine parlours.