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The explosion in smartphone use is radically changing how clients access and use the Internet. So much Internet access now comes from smartphones that service-oriented businesses are scrambling to meet the demand via unique mobile applications.
In the chauffeured
transportation industry, 2011 marks the year the industry got serious about mobile apps. Led by innovator Limos.com, a handful of key providers have rolled out mobile apps while other vendors and some operators are either experimenting or rolling out their own branded apps. Below is a quick round-up of key apps that have developed throughout the industry. This list will be updated further in future technology coverage in LCT Magazine and on LCTMag.com.
The industry app evolution is being led by online lead generator Limos.com, which first announced its app in February at the 2011 International LCT Show. The app’s newest feature, a mutual chauffeur-client tracker, was scheduled to be fully operational in October. One of the highlights of this app is the driver locator function that allows clients to find their chauffeurs on digital maps. It uses GPS and the signal from the client and chauffeur phones to show their relative locations, represented by client and chauffeur icons. A chauffeur also can use the “find my passenger” function to spot clients, which can prove particularly useful during pickups at busy airports with limited curbside access and waiting times. The app also features “limos ground control” to help organize runs and check-in for runs.
The Limos.com app went live for iPhones on May 15 and for Androids around July 15. Its other key functions enable business and leisure travelers to search and compare prices for chauffeured vehicles, and then book them for easy curbside pick-up in cities worldwide. Regardless of location, app users can see pictures of available car types and compare prices side-by-side on their smartphones, laptops, and/or mobile browsers. Of the seven million visitors projected for Limos.com this year, about 1.5 million, or 17%, are coming from mobile Internet browsers, up from 3% in 2010.
Ride In Style www.pinpointpickup.com
- Customers book rides through the app and receive reservation details with cost quotes before confirming (iPhone version allows users to choose destinations by pulling addresses directly from contact list).
- Reservations on-demand or booked in advance.
- Operators pay only a referral fee. Percentage varies by market. Clients should contact Pinpoint Pickup to discuss city-by-city details.
- International operators may have different needs, and Pinpoint Pickup is willing to discuss and explore ways to meet those needs.
- Multiple notification methods and options for billing timing.
- Sign up at www.pinpointpickup.com/operators.
- Available on iPhone, Blackberry and Android.
- Serving Seattle, Los Angeles, Orange County (Calif.), San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas, Tucson, Ariz., Boston, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York City.
- Coming soon to Chicago, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., Boise, Idaho, Jacksonville, Fla.
Pinpoint Pickup co-founder Desiree Phair says the program was created by the owners of the company rather than a “middle-man designer.” Operator input during the app design phase and keeping in constant touch with operators helps the company “continue making things as user-friendly as possible.”