Uber launched a pilot service in Mumbai to allow passengers to stream their music from Gaana app in their ride. The pilot did not kick off well because there were not many users, and immediately shut down after a couple of weeks.
Ola is now getting into a similar business – in-car entertainment. However, unlike Uber, this will be made available to select customers taking Ola Prime rides. The service will be launched in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi initially and will roll out to other cities by March 2017.
The company says that it’ll be making use of proprietary in-car and cloud technology to provide in-car entertainment to users. This service will also give premium members of Ola, with the highest-rated drivers, to view content of their choice while they take the ride.
Ola Play is also a world’s first such technology and collaboration for a cab-aggregator. Ola and Qualcomm have partnered to provide customizable experience to passengers while they take their ride. Customers can use apps like Apple Music, Sony LIV, Audio Compass and Fynd to listen and watch music and videos.
Talking about this new service, Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO – Ola said, “I believe this(Ola Play) will completely transform the consumer’s ride experience, giving the user the power to control the interactions within the car, and usher in a new era in the ridesharing industry.”
Mahindra & Mahindra is also investing in this in-car technology with Ola to provide the best experience to Ola users. Mahindra is planning to have retrofitted entertainment systems in cars just for Ola drivers so that the technology can be implemented smoothly.
How will this work?
The Ola cabs will come with in-car entertainment systems in the form of large screens fitted at the back of the car, where customers sit. Once you’re connected to the system, you will be able to control the movies, videos and music all through it.
The car will also be fitted with surround sound speakers for an immersive experience. You will get recommendations depending on your ride time and journey. If you’re going to travel from Koramangala to Bengaluru Airport, you will be able to watch longer shows and videos, and maybe listen to some music on the journey.
Is this investment worth it?
The segment Ola is targeting is very small. Firstly, only Ola Prime users will be able to avail this offer. Secondly, only select users will be able to use the in-car entertainment system. Ola Prime already is a small segment of Ola’s products and further narrowing of customers makes the market very small.
Moreover, the company is adding this entertainment system to attract more customers. However the prime cab tariffs are slightly higher and not preferable by Ola customers. This makes Ola Prime less attractive, but it should work for corporate professionals. For short rides as well, it doesn’t make sense for users to use Ola Play.
However, we feel that Ola should pilot this in a couple of cities before expanding it to other large cities. A lot is at stake now because Qualcomm and M&M are also involved in this technology and the companies will go to any extent to make it work.
Would you use Ola Play if you’re one of the select customers? Let us know in the comments section down below.