Tuesday, 8 May 2007

How to embarrass your telco

The Road and Transport Authority of Dubai, which is responsible for much of the development of the city's multi-modal transport system, has today announced a new SMS-based taxi ordering system.


The new service will consist of numbered location boards around the city, under which the taxi-needy can stand, texting 4777 and the location board number. The taxi will then be dispatched to the given location.

This strange and Heath-Robinsonesque workaround would, of course, be rendered totally unnecessary by the availability of any location-based service from the telcos that are meant to be providing mobile services in the UAE. Location based services allow information to be provided contextually using the GSM cell location as a cue and are implemented in other world markets, where they enable systems such as automatic location checking for taxis or other delivery based services, location-specific information services and all sorts of wonderful things.

It's a step forward from calling up and telling them where you are. But only just. The RTA's got the right idea here and obviously isn't going to wait 25 years for the telcos to bridge the growing advanced services gap.

RTA 1 Telcos 0.

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