Daily Archives: November 17, 2016

A Good Technology Lesson in Uber


I doubt that Uber is new to many people by now; if they haven’t used it they would have certainly heard about it.

In some circles I’ve been slow off the mark in my Uber experiences but in other circles I’m the one with experience.

To most people who use Uber they marvel at the ease, secure feeling and in most cases, cost (read on for my example recently).
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These things are not lost on me but it is the use of technology that makes this incredible service wow me, especially when I am travelling for business overseas.

Two things with the technology/process flow that I love are:

1. Google Maps and other third party maps – I love it that Uber integrated Google Maps into the passenger user interface and allows integration for third party navigation apps such as Waze for the driver directions; they recognized that these apps are “best in class” and integrated them rather building more proprietary software (something a lot of companies get wrong and some right). As an aside, wasn’t Waze a smart acquisition by Google?

2. Driver and Destination – I love the fact that the driver does not know your destination until you are in the car and when he does it is automatically set as his destination with up to date crowd sourced traffic information guided by an app such as Waze.
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On a recent trip to Mexico, this what I found this technology and process gave me:

Ease – two things stand out for me here: 1) you use the same app and same account settings as I do in Australia and 2) no language translation issues with the driver; the Uber driver didn’t speak English, I don’t speak Spanish but getting to right destination is not an issue since the driver has the address loaded into his system upon booking

Secure – no cash changing hands, can’t be ripped off; I tried to get a taxi from the hotel but he didn’t accept credit cards – also, knowing and seeing our route on the Uber large phone and my phone at the same time gave me piece of mind of where I was going

Cost – the taxi I tried to get quoted me $340 up front for my ride; my Uber cost was $190 (Mexican Pesos)
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From booking to riding to paying the service sequence is pretty hard to fault and by using technology is the ultimate disruptor to the taxi industry.

If you were going to fault anything it is that it is “real time” only and you cannot book, although I have no doubt that will come.

The other thing people may fault is the surge in fees when demand is high but we can’t be too critical of this, it simply “supply and demand” pricing and this is commerce.

Not only has Uber disrupted the taxi industry, it has done it in a seamless way the world wide and especially in cities the size and density of Mexico City and São Paulo, it is an absolutely killer app.

And through the use of technology and the connected world, the world just keeps getting smaller.