A Cab Company's Secret Weapon

By Stephanie Blanchard, Digital Editor — October 21, 2013

“Repeat that?” It’s a common phrase among fleet drivers, trying to hear what dispatch might be saying. When messages are streaming live, miss one and communication goes out the window.

Before the iPhone even debuted, Tom Katis, CEO & Founder, Voxer, was previously with a Special Forces Unit in the Army, where walkie-talkies were a way of life. He quickly realized that there was no way to do both live and message communications, especially using voice. So he decided to do something about that. His mission: Make worldwide communication more easy and efficient.

Voxer launched an iPhone app in 2008, followed by an Android app eight months later. That’s when adoption really took off for end users. After examining who was using it, which were the heaviest days, what the windows were, the company realized that 20% of users (out of tens of millions) were likely using it for business cases. Voxer therefore decided to take an enterprise focus and recently released a next generation push-to-talk solution.

The solution’s functionality lends itself to those in the field, but can work across any vertical that has a mobile workforce. Voxer is seeing traction in construction, transportation, public safety and hospitality as well as courier companies.

How does it work? Audio bits are immediately streamed upon hitting a talk button. The audio message is then saved as a file which can be played later. The interface is designed as a timeline so messages are displayed in reverse chronological order.

Administrators and dispatchers can now monitor multiple conversations, people or teams — all from a computer. Additional capabilities include the ability to send and receive images and text messages, and team chats. Users can participate in conversations directly from their desktops, in addition to their mobile phones, providing more access options to users.

Forward Thinking
In New York City, where there are 14,000 yellow cabs, and 50,000 additional car services, how does a service differentiate itself? “I’m hesitant to talk about it, actually,” said Tom Brennan, owner, Future Cab, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. “Voxer is a secret weapon.”

The solution plays a big role for Future Cab, allowing Brennan, who works from Virginia Beach, to be in constant touch with his 100-driver team. He calls the platform an inexpensive way to eliminate lost messages, and in turn, helps pass the savings on to the customer — basically offering higher value for a lower price.

In addition, it eliminates the previous problem of simply wasting time. When a car is picking up Mr. A and Mr. B is nearby, but the driver is unaware, effective communication ensures that Mr. A and Mr. B are each getting to their destinations without delay.

Brennan also noted that when a good system is in place, it attracts more career-minded, responsible drivers who are self-motivated. And because the solution is simple, even a driver with minimal technical skills can use it. “We’re not trying to change the world,” he said, “just do what we do best.” 

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