Brighton to use taxis for more targeted advertising

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Taxis in the bustling seaside town of Brighton are set to offer up new infotainment options for customers, as advertising and media company Qaboo, has teamed up with the Streamline car hire firm to offer interactive touch screens in the back of their vehicles.

Designed to advertise local services (and Qaboo customers) the screens will offer information that is targeted at the types of people that tend to take Streamline cabs in the local area. The current location of the taxis themselves will also be taken into account, giving passengers information on local deals, or on events taking place not far from where they are. Weather will also be given, along with news feeds and other pertinent information.

Depending on the time of day you’re taking a taxi and where you’re headed too, Qaboo may take the opportunity to advertise certain businesses that you might be interested in. This is where some of the big data analytics comes into play, as over time, it will likely get more accurate as people’s reasons for visiting certain areas are tied in with certain factors about them. When those same or similar factors appear from a different passenger later, Qaboo will have a good idea of what sorts of services and events might be of interest.

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Anthony Parkins, managing director of Qaboo, said (via The Argus): “Our research shows massive numbers of visitors to Brighton hop straight in a cab to take them to the shops or out for a meal.

“We want to help local retailers to capitalise on this huge range of potential customers. Rather than reading the paper or playing around on your phone, you can find out all about the places you might like to visit during your stay.”

This technology is also thought likely to help out local drivers, especially ones new to the job, who often get asked about good places to eat or visit. One Streamline driver, Jeff Howell said: “When you pick fares from out of town up at the train or bus station, they’ll often ask for the best places to eat, or what’s going on in Brighton today.

“Drivers used to be the oracle on where to go, what to see and do, and now Qaboo is helping us to fulfil that role much more efficiently,” he said.

While not every passenger may like the idea of their details being tracked in order to provide information to the next passenger, this is a service that will come in handy for those unfamiliar with the area. Those that live nearby may not find it as useful, if you’re just visiting or have never been before, then finding out some of the best places to ear nearby could be not only informative, but cost saving too, as your taxi ride doesn’t need to go right into the town centre for you to find the place you want to visit.

It would however be interesting to find out how much personal information Qaboo stores on people and whether that data is anonymised or not.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.