Four years ago, Frenchman Hugues de Laubadère visited New York and he noticed that the taxis were equipped with small televisions showing a program on a loop. That could be improved on, he thought, and when he returned home he promptly founded the start-up Lemonride.
Lemonride places tablets in the back of taxis equipped with 4G, giving passengers access to secure, multilingual web content. In addition, the tablet is a hotspot, so passengers can browse for free thanks to the Wi-Fi connection.
“These days passengers spend on average around 20 minutes in a taxi or a chauffeur-driven car,” Hugues de Laubadère explains. “They often want to spend that time online. But until now that has not always been possible in a car, because it’s moving all the time. We worked on our technology for three years to resolve this problem. Now we’re the first in Europe to offer a secure Wi-Fi connection in cars.”
Lemonride still focuses on taxis at the moment. But according to de Laubadère, the company is increasingly talking to transport firms. “More and more transport firms want to stand out from the competition with the on-board services they offer. Hotspots for passengers are one of their main aims for the near future and are increasingly on their passengers’ wish lists, too.
Advertisers are interested as well because it offers them scores of new possibilities for the fast-growing out-of-home advertising segment. In short, everyone wants it.”
Even more than taxis and transport firms, e Laubadère sees a new market in self-driving cars. “In the not-too-distant future, many people will be using self-driving cars. What will all these drivers do while their car takes them somewhere? That’s right, browse! Drivers, manufacturers and advertisers will be calling for a secure, smooth connection to browse in the car, watch videos, communicate and shop.”
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