Ola Play : Does it make sense?

Ola has launched Ola Play, an immersive in-car entertainment system, which lets users play music, change radio stations, control volume, internet, and air conditioning in their cabs.

Ola Play
Ola Play

Ola Play is powered by proprietary in-car and cloud technologies from Ola, by bringing advance car controls, choice of personalized content and a fully connected interactive experience for the user. Ola Play also allows various partners like Apple Music, Sony LIV, Audio Compass and Fynd to build a high quality interactive experience for users, which I believe will open up new revenue streams for Ola.

So far so good, rather awesome to see an Indian company pushing the tech envelope.

But Then..

Ola’s service sucks*. There is very little predictability in the service as opposed to Uber.

Ola is costlier (and has been playing India card to stop Uber’s growth).

Plus, Ola doesn’t give a F to customer security.

Not that I am saying Ola isn’t doing great – but going by “First Principles”, Ola Play seems to lack the thinking that went behind building Ola – i.e solve for customer pain point.

The only thing I, as a very regular Ola customer would expect is :
1. No more ‘Where do you want to go’ question from Ola driver, the moment I book the cab.
2. Drivers cancel/act randomly.
3. Drivers calling atleast 4-5 times to ask for the pickup location/direction (and no wonder, Ola fares so badly and topped the Truecaller numbers).

While Ola Play seems to be a great tech play, to me it makes no sense when all we as a customer want is a predictable experience (including surge pricing) and not a fancy one.
In fact, this reminds me of Taxiforsure – Ola saga. When Ola was busy killing TaxiForSure, TaxiForSure was busy partnering with Hungama to launch music service for its drivers (when they are idle). It’s all coming back to Ola, I believe.

Where was the first principle then and where is it now?

What’s your opinion? Take this short poll.

* : When I say, Ola service sucks- it is anecdotal as well as observation from people around me.

Written by Ashish Sinha

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Ashish Sinha is founder and CEO of NextBigWhat, the tech and startup community platform . He can be reached at: ashish (at) nextbigwhat.com.