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This Indian app uses open source to deliver best offers on mobile devices

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Open source had been empowering many giant projects for a long time. But with the swift increase in app downloads, small-scale enterprises have also started favouring community solutions to gain in the market. RMgX is the latest entrant among those entities. The Gurugram-based company has developed its mobile app called Cardinal that works as a location-aware discovery platform to provide you with the latest offers on your existing credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets using open source technologies.

“The entire stack of our Cardinal app is open source,” says Nishant Varshney, who founded RMgX back in June 2015.

Cardinal aggregates offers across multiple banks and networks as well as digital wallets to provide mobile users with a one-stop destination to save their precious pennies. “The data fetching happens in Python and then the data is subjected to an analytically driven enrichment process which weeds out bad data, homogenise the required data and loads it into an Elastic search cluster which runs off a custom search algorithm to present the right offer based on the users’ wallet and location,” explains Varshney.

Cardinal app with open source technologies

Cardinal app fetches data using Python

Built on Java Spring framework, the Cardinal app utilises a microservices-based architecture that exposes REST-based services. While its mobile versions are developed using Android native and Swift programming language, the web counterpart is designed using a combination of AngularJS, HTML and CSS. Moreover, the app uses community-backed tools such as Mautic to enable marketing automation.

‘Quality product’

Varshney tells Open Source For You that the aim behind developing Cardinal is to bring a “quality product” with value and best experience as the key aspects.

“They way we are trying to position Cardinal is that if you think of spending think of Cardinal first, find out the place where you can maximise your savings and then make the purchase decision,” states Varshney, who was handling technology developments at SapientNitro prior to building RMgX.

Challenges in journey towards success

Although developing Cardinal was easy through open source technologies and its aim is ambitious, some technical challenges were there to halt the success. The major challenge faced by the team was the process to ingest a large amount of data, enrich it and then rapidly bring it in front of end users. It was required to find an appropriate choice of data structures to solve the problems.

The technical team led by Varshney opted to build a customised data pipeline using open source resources to reduce the burden of information inflow. Further, the team implemented efficiencies at each stage to completely address the issues in featuring offers to users.

“The way we have designed and build the data pipeline and the various things which happen at each stage is what helps us run this system efficiently and provide to the user’s quick ranking and search and offer presentment,” reveals Varshney.

Seeking partnerships with financial institutions

The present model adopted by the Cardinal app does not have any affiliations with the banks and wallets companies. However, RMgX is looking to widen its presence by partnering with financial institutions such as banks like Amex, Citi and RBL as well as networks like Visa and Mastercard and mobile wallets like Paytm, FreeCharge and MobikWik.

“We want to allow banks, networks and wallets to offload their offer inventory onto Cardinal and in return, Cardinal will provide them with a location-based DMP (Digital marketing platform) to help them market their payment products and also target the right offer at the right place and time,” Varshney said.

Developer goodies

As Cardinal has the potential to gain users’ focus across Android and iOS platforms, RMgX is planning to reach developers to expand its presence. “We plan to make Cardinal an open eco-system,” asserts Varshney.

The first thing that has been in the pipeline for the team to influence developers is the release of a Cardinal API. While the API is already available for signed-up partners, there are plans to come up with its public release in the third quarter of 2017. The startup is also set to launch its system development kit (SDK) sometime in the coming future to enable developers with the key features of the Cardinal app.