Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GPS Meets Mobile in New York Taxicabs

This video is a light-hearted look at a GPS-driven system for taxi passengers in New York City. Apparently the system has also been authorized for testing in a small number of cabs in Boston. I haven’t been exposed to it in either place, and I’d like to try it out. I’d also be happy not to have to be sure I have enough cash when I take a taxi in either city.View the video here.

GPS in our transportation systems has not been without controversy. New York taxi drivers initially threatened to strike over the system, which was viewed as costly and a potential invasion of privacy. The strike didn’t happen, but the drivers still don’t sound happy about it.

I was reminded what happened in Massachusetts last year when GPS systems were mandated for all snow plowing contractors. They also were not happy and threatened to strike going into the winter season—not acceptable to Massachusetts residents. So the state put off the requirement for a year, but as far as I know, the GPS systems are going to be required of all contractors this season.

As you view the video, think about the advertising opportunities it opens up. As usual in mobile, Asian countries are far ahead of us. I found another light-hearted look at taxis, with Japan and Singapore having especially interesting applications.

If this gives you an idea for a last-minute Christmas gift, CNET is keeping an eye on what’s available!
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