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News: new partnership will see Beacon-enabled Taxis in major cities across the UK

Here’s an interesting bit of news that we stumbled across recently…

Proxama, the mobile proximity marketing experts and provider of end-to-end payment solutions for card issuers, recently announced an exclusive, long term partnership with Ubiquitous. Ubiquitous is the UK’s largest provider of taxi advertising and the relationship will significantly extend the Proxama Network of beacons, enabling messages to be delivered to an engaged audience experiencing times of dwell.

The Proxama Network connects consumers to brands via their smartphones using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons. The partnership will plan to install up to 4,000 beacons into taxis in London and across other major cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham, meaning that passengers can receive context-relevant messaging, as they travel to their destinations.

The team at Ubiquitous has more than 80 years’ combined experience in taxi advertising, with Managaing Director, Andrew Barnett personally having more than 35 years. Over the past decade Ubiquitous has pioneered UK taxi advertising and has created many of the media opportunities that are available to brands today, from internal Tip-Seats to fully wrapped ‘Livery’ taxis, complete with NFC and passenger Wi-Fi. Ubiquitous operates taxi advertising in all of the UK’s key cities and is therefore the natural partner to introduce the next innovation in black taxi advertising.

Beacon Enabled Taxis

During the course of one year, each London taxi is estimated to make around 4,500 journeys, principally around central London locations, rail stations and London’s airports – similar journeys are experienced in other UK key cities. London’s regular taxi users tend to have high personal income, are smartphone and tablet enabled and are likely to be middle-management and above – in short, a very desirable group and one which brands very much seek to reach. This new Proxama Network represents an opportunity not only for Ubiquitous’ clients to send contextually relevant messages to passengers’ smartphones, but will be relevant to all app-based clients seeking a beacon network that engages with high value consumers, across a long dwell time.

Based on data from existing beacon networks, Proxama anticipate that 24% of consumers that receive ‘in-the-moment’ content-relevant notifications will click-through to the app. This is a significantly higher response than other forms of mobile advertising.

Andrew Barnett, Managing Director, Ubiquitous comments: “Being the first company to put beacons into black cabs at scale is consistent with our innovative track record and I am delighted to be working with Proxama who are quickly establishing themselves as pioneers in this market. For all brands, the opportunity to connect with their customers through proximity marketing, in a high dwell-time setting such as the back of the cab, provides a unique one-to-one moment in which there is the time to respond to messages and offers.”

Jon Worley, CEO of Proxama marketing division comments, “This is an excellent high profile partnership for us and one which we believe is extremely well suited to proximity marketing. The average cab journey lasts around 20 minutes in London and is a natural time for people to engage with their smartphone for messages and new content. We look forward to seeing the customer reaction.

Our network of beacons has grown rapidly across London since the beginning of the year. Advertisers are now able to make use of the Proxama Network which covers London buses, airports and black cabs, with further expansion planned across multiple sectors.”

So there you have it, the future of taxis in the UK appears to be the ability to summon a car via a smartphone and then get bombarded with (hopefully relevant) ads while you’re on the journey. If the offers and messages are relevant and timely, I suppose consumers will find the technology enhances their journey. If you want to just flake out in the back of a cab after a big night out however, you can always turn off your phone…

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

2 replies on “News: new partnership will see Beacon-enabled Taxis in major cities across the UK”

I’d love to know why this won’t end up with like all those TVs and NFC payment terminals that I’ve seen in cabs – either switched off or broken.

Also, why won’t bluespam just die? Companies have been trying for at least a decade to try and send us ads over bluetooth and I’ve seen no sign that it’s something the public really want.

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