eCamino uses the power of Azure and SQLite to deliver a unique and life changing experience on the El Camino
eCamino Kft is a Hungarian company revolutionizing travel along the world famous El Camino pilgrim route with their new mobile application. eCamino’s app is based, in part, on John Brierley’s famous guidebooks, which split the trail into 33 distinct stages. Brierley has acted as a consultant to the team throughout the application’s development. eCamino acts as the user’s digital companion throughout their journey from Saint Jean Pied de Port (South France) to Santiago de Compostela (North Spain), providing travelers with well edited preparation tips, pilgrim stories, and spiritual guidance. eCamino’s database allows users to browse through over 1200 Point of Interest stories (POI’s), providing travelers with unique insights and helpful directives about interesting sites, food, lodging accommodations, medical points, and much more. “Our vision is to create a guide for people in search of a life changing experience and seeking information about Camino, individuals currently traveling on the Camino, and individuals who have returned from their pilgrimage and want to adopt the experience into their daily life,” says CEO Csaba Antal.
eCamino also supports offline navigation, utilizing detailed maps to provide essential information needed by any pilgrim on the Camino, regardless of their wireless capabilities. eCamino’s offline features include road map displays, indicating the routes geography and important checkpoints, as well as an emergency aid request. Also, offline users have access to the app’s Pilgrims Electronic Diary, which provides helpful tips, travel records, and spiritual messages from previous travelers.” We believe the world is much more than what we see. The El Camino pilgrimage is a beautiful solution to get an overview about our lives and open our eyes for conscious thinking,” Antal continues.
Additionally, users can update data on their mobile device while walking the Camino, including new and improved lodgings, restaurants, weather, etc. The next time the user’s mobile device is online, their updated data will be taken from the mobile database and synchronized with the server database, which is subsequently downloaded to the mobile devices of other users. Furthermore, users can upload text and photos to the server, which are then available for others to view on mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. These capabilities are designed to connect pilgrims and improve their experience on the trail.
A Microsoft BizSpark member since 2013, eCamino relies entirely on Azure to host and run their application. According to Antal, Azure has provided eCamino with a reliable hosting platform, improved scalability, flexibility and regional delivery. Azure’s centralized ecosystem of robust tools has empowered the company to quickly improve their text related services, while enabling them to house their entire product under one roof. “Our core database was created on an Azure server in Ireland,” says Antal, “We needed the server to be in Europe because of different end-user license requirements. We decided to stick with Azure because Microsoft has provided incredible technical support every step of the way.”
As nearly a completely open house network, eCamino decided to pursue their development on Azure because of its ability to integrate thousands of open source technologies. The company employs SQLite as the data storage software on mobile devices because of its ability to allow the application to run offline, while maintaining and updating stored data. The solution’s PHP web portal, responsible for synchronization between the mobile database and the server database, uses MySQL because of its superior security and usability. “Everything has integrated beautifully with Azure. Initially, we weren’t sure how everything would mesh together, but we have no complaints. All our programs work well together and we haven’t had to deal with bugs or downtime.”
eCamino has used their relationship with BizSpark to quickly release, update, and improve their product – with both the original and updated versions are available in the Microsoft Store, AppStore, and Google Play Store. “We are very happy with our relationship with BizSpark. Their technology help has been instrumental for us getting an updated version of our app to market.”
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About BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive up to $750 per month of free Microsoft Azure cloud services for 3 years: that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Azure works with Linux and open-source technologies such as Linux, Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.