By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
The new App economy is all about empowering users by transforming traditional businesses and processes into smart and convenient technology solutions. Hailo is an app that uses a smartphone to help users grab the nearest cab and it is fascinating to see the logistics behind this innovative endeavour.
I recently interviewed Justin Raymond, of Hailo, a company that gives users quick access to 400 cabs through iOS and Android apps. A concept that was started in the UK by three cabbies who wanted to make their work more efficient. As Raymond explains, "We're excited to bring the Hailo experience to Canada. The service is has been operating for a year in London and Dublin."
"Hailo is a smartphone app that connects passengers with the closest available taxi cab with two taps on the smartphone. Open the app you can see the apps. go in and out. It will tell you how long to get a taxi," Raymond explains.
Aside from Toronto, Hailo will be heading to other dense city centers like Chicago, Boston, NYC and San Francisco. "For Toronto, we have 400 cab drivers on board and are working to bring in as many as 1200 more," Raymond explains.
Hailo makes use of a smartphone's mapping capabilities and can show users the number of cabs within their vicinity on the map.
Once users select the cab they want, most likely the closest one to their location, "cabbies have 20 seconds to respond to the pick up request, otherwise the job is sent to the next closest driver."
In order to get Hailo to work, users simply download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play, they enter their credit card information as the mode of payment, preferred tip percentage and they are good to go. Once the ride is over, the system emails them a receipt.
Hailo represents a new generation of apps that simplify user's lives. While anyone can call a cab company and ask for a pick up or simply hang around the street corner flagging cabs, they don't get the real time information that a service like Hailo can offer.
Hailo uses mapping data, GPS information to locate and approximate the nearby cabs, giving users a one-glance assessment of their transport situation. Given the way the system is designed to work, they should have a cab on the way within a minute of powering up the application.
Raymond says the company is still waiting to see what RIM's BB10 will be like before deciding to offer a Hailo App for that new platform.