Uber has taken another leaf out of its Indian rival Ola’s playbook. The US ride-sharing company has quietly started a pilot in India to offer in-car entertainment similar to Ola Play — the connected car platform that offers personalised content of video and music, and advanced car controls.
Sources close to Uber said that the pilot was started a couple of months ago in Delhi, and later taken to Mumbai and Bangalore. “Other cities will follow soon,” a source said.
Uber’s move to have onboard entertainment reduces the gap of better driving experiences that Ola had an edge on. “The pilot is being tested on at least 3,000 cars,” the source said.
A source said that the devices or screens that Uber is using are bigger and better than Ola’s. The service is only available on Uber’s sedans and with the cars that are leased to the drivers by the company
Another source said that the devices or screens that Uber is using are bigger and better than Ola’s. The service is only available on Uber’s sedans and with the cars that are leased to the drivers by the company.
Ola was the first to offer car lease in India, and Uber followed. Ola had launched Ola Play in March, and called it the “future of connected car”.
Uber has made no public announcement, and refrained from commenting on the pilot.
To put things in perspective, Ola and Uber are fighting a turf war to be the largest cab-hailing service in India. While Ola is present in over 100 cities, Uber is in 29 cities. According to data from Truecaller, which tracks incoming and outgoing calls on both the platforms, Uber had a share of 41% of total calls, while Ola received 59% of the calls, in the last quarter of 2016.
The gap between the two cab-hailing apps has reduced since January to March quarter of 2016, when Uber had 28% share of calls, while Ola had the rest. This is the closest indicator of usage on both the platforms.
To put things in perspective, Ola and Uber are fighting a turf war to be the largest cab-hailing service in India. While Ola is present in over 100 cities, Uber is in 29 cities
Content, quality of service, and vehicles are becoming critical for the cab companies as they slowly reduce discounts leading to multiple protests by drivers over falling incomes and long working hours. “We are trying to build stickiness with the customer with the service,” said the first source.
While very little details of what will Uber offer for its onboard connected car service was available, one of the sources close to the company said that unlike Ola, which has a proprietary technology to offer the service, Uber has taken the technology from partners and is aggregating content.
The second source said that one key partner is Hungama, the Mumbai-based content aggregator. Neeraj Roy, CEO of Hungama was unreachable for comment.
One of the sources close to the company said that unlike Ola, which has a proprietary technology to offer the service, Uber has taken the technology from partners and is aggregating content
Ola has partnered with Apple Music, Sony LIV, AIB, Arre’, Audio Compass, among others. A customer can also connect his smartphone with the device present in the car to consume content.
“We believe this will enhance the future of automobiles and the mobility experience for millions in the time to come for both customers and driver-partners,” Ankit Jain, senior director and head of Ola Play, had said in a statement in March.
Having said that, Uber was the first one to offer onboard connectivity, by offering Airtel’s 4G services to its riders for high-speed data connectivity.
It has a three-way partnership with Intel and internet of things (IoT) provider Aeris to have a larger play in the connected car space.
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