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London’s black cabs are to be fitted with Bluetooth enabled beacon technology

Advertisers will be able to reach smartphone users in the backseat of London’s iconic black cabs using beacon technology, by way of a recently struck deal between taxi advertising outfit Ubiquitous, and Proxama, a company that specialises in ad ops using nearfield technologies.

The deal between the pair will see beacon technology installed in up to 4,000 cabs across the capital plus other major cities across the UK including Glasgow and Manchester, and will let advertisers send messages to smartphone users using Bluetooth-enabled beacons via in-app messaging.  

The rollout set to begin before the end of the year, although no advertisers have been confirmed as participating in the opportunity at present, and builds upon Proxama’s earlier rollout of similar technologies on London’s bus network, as well as a series of London airports.

Both companies claim the tie-up gives brands the opportunity engage with those with highly deisrable audiences – i.e. those with a “high personal income”, likely to be “middle management and above” - with behavioural data gleaned from Proxama’s existing network indicating that 24 per cent of those served with such ads are likely to click through.

For all brands, the opportunity to connect with their customers through proximity marketing, in a high dwell-time setting such as the back of the cab, provides a unique one-to-one moment in which there is the time to respond to messages and offers.”

Andrew Barnett, Ubiquitous, managing director, said: “For all brands, the opportunity to connect with their customers through proximity marketing, in a high dwell-time setting such as the back of the cab, provides a unique one-to-one moment in which there is the time to respond to messages and offers.”

Jon Worley, Proxama, CEO, said: “The average cab journey lasts around 20 minutes in London and is a natural time for people to engage with their smartphone for messages and new content.”

The deal quickly follows the earlier announcement of a similar tie-up between Proxama and out-of-home (OOH) media specialist Exterion to install beacon technology on 500 London buses, allowing brands to send messages to smartphone users depending on what “trigger zone” they are travelling in.

For example, a commuter could receive a discount coupon on their mobile as they pass a particular branded chain or a trailer for a movie as they get closer to a cinema.

Advertisers using such beacon technology include Coca-Cola, which more recently spoke to The Drum on how it had explored introducing the hyper-local insights gleaned from such technology to better introduce the technology to its marketing mix.

Featured by The Drum