Mobile navigation: Networked mobility as a future field

May 3, 2017
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Guiding users to specific addresses are bread and butter for navigation systems; The future lies in real-time systems, intelligent searches and intuitive navigation. The good news is, all of these require the same standardized basis to function: Correct location data.

The transport sector was rocked back in 2015, when arch-rivals BMW, Audi and Daimler banded together to purchase Nokia’s US mapping service HERE. It cost them 2.8 billion euros – a monumental sum. So, what exactly led these competitors to join forces, invest in a company and pay such a high price?

The answer is quite simple: Data. More precisely, maps data. Map apps and services are based on maps data, which is not only expensive, but also complicated to purchase. As a result, truly major companies also acquire their data from just three companies: TomTom, HERE and Google.


Location data – the lifeblood of the mobility network

According to HERE, their maps data is used in over 1 billion devices worldwide, ranging from smartphones and PCs through to integrated navigation systems in cars of all types – from Mazda to Mercedes. A European manufacturer based in the Netherlands, TomTom is the smallest player on the market, but it’s used in vehicles such as Volkswagen models from the Skoda, Seat, VW and Audi ranges. With a billion users, Google Maps is the undisputed market leader in the map services segment. What are known as POIs, or points of interest on Google Maps, can be forwarded to most navigation devices. The actual route planning itself can also be performed on these devices.

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Planning a route from one address to the next is no longer the true center of interest for maps services, however. Instead, the industry is deep into self-driving research and testing. For self-driving cars to function, accurate location data is needed in real-time. Therefore, location-based companies now need to adopt new business models aligned with this development.


Navigation data is also becoming more relevant for the new market

Germany’s largest carsharing provider, DriveNow, is a joint venture between BMW and Sixt. Drivers are shown offers by a supermarket chain, for example, whenever they drive past a branch. As such, location-based services are a growth factor not only for smartphones, but also for cars and can even reach customers who don’t own a car themselves. If a networked car knows, for example, when the tank or battery is running low, the all-important location data for a gas station or charging point will come in handy, to say the least.

With uberall, you’re able to feed your location data into all three services (TomTom, HERE and Google), thus achieving market coverage for all maps services. This way, you ensure that potential customers will find your stores, locations or branches, and you secure the possibility of impulse or drive-through traffic, as well as customers making planned searches.


Voice search is here to stay

Voice search has truly arrived. Gone are the days of scrambling to enter a new zip code with one hand on the wheel; Voice commands are now used to enter destinations. What’s interesting are the so-called category searches: When a driver searches for a ‘nearby restaurant’, for example, as opposed to a specific location. This is a category search, which means that your locations should be properly curated to ensure they pop-up when that driver gets hungry!

Networking is also leading to new developments; Locations on Google Maps can be sent to other cars using the simple share feature, for example. These locations are not only forwarded to other vehicles, but can also be sent to carsharing or taxi apps. That’s why it’s all the more important to ensure that all location data is correct and standardized across different platforms. With uberall, you cover all bases.


Prospects: Self-driving cars need to know where they’re going

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Let’s have a look at the prospects for self-driving.

Cars which drive themselves and are intelligently networked can do many things once they’ve taken their owner to work. Self-driving cars can collect shopping, already ordered online from the supermarket, or take themselves to the garage for a vehicle safety inspection, because they know the maintenance intervals and the favored workshop. They can also collect the kids from school and take them to after-school football, for example. Is this all only a pipe dream? Pilot projects are already underway. All these services have an underlying requirement: correct, consistent location data.



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