Newly launched on the Montreal scene in 2015, Téo Taxi is among the more promising services to arise in the domain of connected transportation. In an industry that has been shaken up by the use of communication technologies and the arrival of aggressive new players, creating a modern taxi service requires as much vision as it does actual equipment, not to mention expertise. All of this is exactly what Taxelco has found in its partnership with Videotron Business Solutions, which will help manage Téo Taxi's fleet of electric vehicles. Together, the partners have put in place a system that will offer users a brand new, high-quality experience.
“All the technological means necessary were put together in order to offer a high-quality experience to clients, so they would find themselves in a haven of peaceful silence. Videotron plays a big part in making that experience a reality.”
– Patrick Gagné, Partner and Product Manager
Taxelco was created in 2014 in order to offer a taxi service that combined high-performance technology with ecological responsibility. Until recently, all the initiatives in this domain launched internationally were focused on the use of electric cars without trying to also make them mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. So it seemed to Alexandre Taillefer and his associates that the moment was ripe for combining the promotion of green energy alternatives with our infatuation with new technologies. Having a fleet of electric vehicles equipped with wireless routers and digital tablets would give Montreal a more modern, future-facing image. In this era of constant connectivity, nothing should prevent the transport industry from taking part in exploiting the full potential of new technologies.
Téo Taxi was looking to equip its cars with 21st-century communication tools. It would not be enough to simply offer customers payment by card, or even a mobile application. The company needed to innovate by setting up an optimized system based around a mobile Wi-Fi device. This way, customers could take advantage of a free connection while drivers would have an important tool at their disposal for their fares and transactions.
However, it was essential that bandwidth usage be tracked and monitored. Right from the start, the idea of putting in place a monitoring system for 60 vehicles was a challenge. But establishing such a system with the idea of expanding it to encompass 1,000 cars by the following year increased the breadth and logistical complexity of the idea considerably. Furthermore, maintaining a stable connection in a moving space is difficult and the risk of dropped connections is high. Added to this challenge was the fact that Téo Taxi had just started up in 2015 and hoped to create a functional system in less than two months!
“We needed to act fast, and you could say that Videotron really pulled off some miracles!”
For a project like this, the inherent complexity of a taxi system was superimposed on the project of setting up all the technological elements needed for a moving Wi-Fi system. Videotron jumped into the project as an enthusiastic partner in order to provide the bandwidth, install the routers and set up the communication system and data collection. In the early stages of implementation, it was important to be able to not just measure bandwidth usage, but also secure the connection. Even if moving vehicles are more difficult to hack than a traditional Wi-Fi network, the network would still be an open one. The customized solutions developed for this particular situation represented a big success in the collaboration between Téo Taxi and Videotron Business Solutions.
“We were looking for service and an ability for fast deployment. Videotron's expertise was the foundation for the installation.”
For Téo Taxi's founders, it was obvious that their decision to present their product as the taxi of the future brought with it concrete requirements in terms of performance. It would be pointless to offer a connected transportation service without providing a connection that was powerful, stable and fast. For that reason, every car was provided with a 10GB per month capacity. Using all the electronic components on board, including the tablet, would require a lot of data. Happily, the Videotron team guided Téo Taxi in managing content and monitoring flow so that all of their technical concerns would fall on Videotron's telecommunications experts rather than the taxi service's employees. It’s important to keep in mind that the customer’s satisfaction is always the number one priority.
“We wanted to develop a first-rate technology that would be exported internationally. This was our business goal, and it was deeply rooted in our pride as Montrealers and Quebecers.”
Téo Taxi is on a roll. The transportation company has big ambitions: After their Quebec City launch, which should happen in 2016, they are aiming to have no less than 2,000 cars in Montreal in five years' time, which represents half of all the taxis currently operating in the city. And their goals don't stop there. The company also hopes to export its expertise and technology, the vertical integration of which is unique on the international scene. No matter what the future brings, Videotron will definitely be there to accompany Téo Taxi's expansion!