Telstra teams with start-up to create digital billboards for taxis

taxi sydney
Image credit: Janwell /

Telstra and Sydney-based start-up Cab Digital Media have launched TaxiLive – a custom designed digital billboard for the rear of premium taxis.

The digital platform allows safety messages and advertising to be sent to the taxis depending on their location, the time of day and even the weather.

The ‘smart’ taxi-backs use GPS enabled smart screens that Cab Digital Media connect to and remotely manage via Telstra’s mobile network.

Najeeb Aftab, Co-Founder and Head of Sales and Partnerships at Cab Digital Media said the idea for TaxiLive was born when Shafiq Khan and Sajid Khan – now Managing Director and CTO of Cab Digital – spent an hour in traffic following an accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“They thought, ‘what if we could tell motorists that there was an accident and to take an alternate route?’” Aftab said. “Three years later, we’re thrilled to be launching what we believe is one of the smartest digital billboards in the world.”

Aftab said the solution was originally built to display safety messaging, for example accident alerts, traffic updates and weather warnings, “but we found the applications for the media and advertising industry, where you can specifically target consumers based on location or time of day, are also very advantageous.”

Telstra and Cab Digital Media developed the IoT solution together, with Telstra sourcing and connecting the technology components.

“Inside each TaxiLive is essentially an advanced computer with in-built GPS that is connected via Telstra’s mobile network,” said Martijn Blanken, group managing director of customer management and sales at Telstra Enterprise. “At headquarters, Cab Digital Media uses an IoT platform to remotely manage the screens.”

Cab Digital Media’s longer-term ambition is to partner with roadside authorities to share GPS data generated from each TaxiLive unit which could contribute to future transport, infrastructure and congestion reduction initiatives, said Aftab

“With the right data, we may be able to look at things like which taxi ranks are overpopulated and underserviced to ensure better taxi availability, particularly in areas such as hospitals and locations with a higher proportion of elderly and disabled people,” he said.

The first taxis fitted with TaxiLive are on Sydney roads now, featuring advertising from brands including Channel 10 and Telstra. Cab Digital Media expects to have more than 300 cabs fitted with TaxiLive in Sydney by Aprila  and 945 nationally by November this year.

Cab Digital Media will also create new revenue streams for premium taxi services by sharing revenue from the TaxiLive units with taxi owners and operators. Cab Digital Media proposes to provide payment to owners for installing a TaxiLive and incentives for drivers based on performance indicators such as cleanliness, good reviews and time on the road.

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