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In Hyderabad, India we had gone to see the great sound and light show at Golconda fort and needed to hire a cab which brings me to what turns out to an amazing "Happy New Year 2011" glimpse of on the ground cell phone technology application and adoption in India.
I called two cab companies – just to compare rates and called back the better deal to finalize the cab. Very politely I was asked my cell phone (mobile) no. No one considers giving out their cell phone number as an "invasion of privacy" – given the ubiquitous nature of cell phone adoption.
We assumed that the driver would call when he arrived. But I got more : a prompt SMS text message arrived to outline the basic rental deal in about 3-4 lines of text. Then the cab driver called and again called to announce that he was waiting outside at the agreed time (4 pm). The same was also texted to me. This repeated confirmations and re-confirmations gave me the sense that the cab company perhaps wants to avoid customer dissatisfaction and arguments. After all,cab driver arguments are a global phenomenon and the very low cost of cell phones really makes it worthwhile for the cab company to re-confirm stuff.
Anyway after a great evening where had to just call the waiting cab driver to get picked up from the rather crowded street infront of the Golconda Fort, we returned back. When we started the driver had shown me the digital meter that kept track of time in minutes and distance in kilometers, Now we paid the driver and upon asking for a receipt the cab driver had a slightly surprised look but anyway gave us a printout right from the taxi-cab. Just then I heard a beep from my cell phone….
One of the highlight events of 2010 was happening as I looked at the text message. The cab receipt was an SMS. When I congratulated the cab driver Mr Chenna Reddy with a genuine "wow" he gave me what I suspected to be a sympathetic smile communicating "which planet are you from?" ….
The great moment was not only getting that receipt by SMS but the nonchalance of the cab driver to this major tech leap in Hyderabad,India.
Wish a Very Happy New Year 2011 to blog readers !