ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs cab-hailing service Ola, is installing tablets in its cabs through which customers can access personalized content such as music, movies, shopping, and also control the air-conditioning as it seeks to woo more customers and halt the march of US-based rival Uber Technologies Inc.
The “connected platform” as the company calls it, is named Ola Play, and will cost ANI Rs20,000-30,000 a cab, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans who asked not to be identified. Ola has about 500,000 cabs using its service.
Bengaluru-based Ola will first roll out this feature for Ola Select users in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. It will be available to all Ola Prime cars by March next year.
The feature will be introduced in all Ola cabs within the next 12 months for no extra cost, said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive.
The platform uses in-car and cloud-based technologies and ANI has filed five patent applications on these which it claims are the first of their kind.
“We saw a huge gap worldwide in customer experience... we had a vision of what we wanted to build. It took us one year with an in-house small start-up team to build Ola Play,” said Aggarwal.
While the company did not disclose what it cost to develop the platform, it confirmed that neither vehicle owners nor customers would have to pay.
Ola has partnered with Qualcomm Inc. for the hardware and Apple Music and others for the content.
The company had no immediate plans to monetize Ola Play, Aggarwal said.