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Taxi app will use Apple's iBeacon and your iPhone to broadcast coupons to nearby users

Taxi app will use Apple's iBeacon and your iPhone to broadcast coupons to nearby users

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How would you feel being a walking advertisement? If you're wearing a T-shirt with a company's logo on it, that's one thing. But your phone — in your pocket? That's quite another, and it's just what taxi hailing company Taxi Magic is doing with its iOS app. A new version being released this Thursday will let you beam out your referral code for the service to others, all using Apple's iBeacon technology.

Not everyone will get spammed

These notifications won't pop up for everyone though, just other Taxi Magic users who have downloaded the app and have it open, but have never ordered up a ride. They don't have to type anything in, and you get a $10 credit if end up calling a cab. Taxi Magic is hoping the feature will reward existing users by getting them credit they can use on future rides, while encouraging new users to pull the trigger on their first.


Apple's iBeacon uses Bluetooth to push notifications to iOS devices, and was originally pitched as a way for venues — including retailers — to deliver short range messages to people based on their proximity. So far, that's resulted in everything from replacing signage, all the way to sending out deal alerts to passers by of local stores, and sunglasses that will ping your phone if they get out of range.

This implementation of iBeacon is just the beginning for Taxi Magic, says Jeff Pharr, who is the company's mobile development director. The company is also exploring the use of iBeacons to share fare payments, and putting iBeacons in vehicles to let people pay for their rides using the app if they hailed that car from the street. In the meantime, Pharr views this current use of the technology as something people will toggle on and off to share information, kind of like an alternative to Apple's AirDrop or iMessage. "There would be a nominal increase in battery usage during the time they are transmitting, but this should be negligible since you are only broadcasting for as long as it takes for someone to receive your referral code," he says.