Ola today announced the launch of ‘Ola Offline’ across key metros in India. As the name suggests, the feature will enable customers to book a cab even without Internet on their smartphones. Starting with four metro cities, Ola plans to roll out the feature in rest of the cities, over the coming weeks. As per Ola, the ‘Offline’ feature was piloted “in several smaller markets like Indore and Nagpur, and saw significant acceptance among the consumers in these cities over the past few weeks”.
“Although over 46 crore people in the country today have access to internet, it still only accounts for 34% of the population. A vast majority of the populace even today, struggles to get adequate data connectivity at all times. In India, users are more inclined towards prepaid mobile service, making them more vulnerable to running out of data. Spotty 3G and 4G coverage also account for a fair amount of data connectivity issues, even in Tier 1 cities. With the launch of ‘Ola Offline’, Ola is aiming to reach out to these people with an endeavor to provide seamless and consistent access to mobility, at all times. The feature will be available across all cab categories viz. Micro, Mini, Prime and Lux,” the cab aggregator said in a press release.
How it works?
While attempting to book a cab on the Ola app in the absence of an Internet connection, users will now get two options: Retry or Book via SMS. Customers can choose to Retry if they’ve come to a place with better Internet connectivity, or go with the second option.
On selecting the latter, users will get redirected to their default messaging app where they will see a pre-entered text message requesting Ola to book a cab. On sending the text message, users will get an SMS with the particulars of the nearest available cabs across categories. Once they select their preferred cab category, they will receive driver and cab details instantly by SMS. The driver on the other hand will also receive customer contact details and the GPS triangulated location of the user.
Once the internet connectivity resumes, the ride details, GPS tracking, SOS button and other features associated with the ride will be available for the user on the Ola app.
Speaking on this innovative feature, Ankit Bhati, CTO & co-founder, Ola said, “As the country ushers in the digital revolution with projects such as Digital India and Smart Cities, the way users experience technology is changing. While connectivity continues to be an infrastructural challenge, we are constantly building innovative technology that helps fill the gap, and the launch of the ‘Offline feature’ is a major step in that direction. We understand that while an Ola might be available around you, a working Internet connection might not always be. Ola Offline will now plug this gap.â€ He further added, “Mobility is an integral part of a developing economy. It should not stop, irrespective of any technology or infrastructural constraint. We will constantly look at innovative ways to realise our mission of building mobility for a billion Indians.”