Business on navigation

11 November 2019

In his author's column specially for Roman Shikin, Senior Manager of Here for Data Collection and Community Development in Eastern Europe, talks about the emerging market of open geolocation platforms, which, in his opinion, is the future of the global navigation business.

According to the report of the European GNSS Agency, the number of navigation devices in the world exceeds 6 billion. And this figure continues to grow. Until recently, the key players in the geolocation industry determined the importance of certain data when developing new geolocation products. While many companies, that use their services, have their own useful navigation information and are ready to share it. This is how the idea of creating an open platform allowing everyone to exchange data in the global navigation market was born.

Let's meet directly on the platform

To be fair, it should be said that previously we ourselves offered only "closed" services. Take, for example, our commercial platform HERE Location Services, within the framework of which we ourselves collected cartographic data, processed it ourselves, and, accordingly, created services that seemed the most promising to us. But gradually we realized that there were many more areas and scenarios in which such information could be used.

The first step towards the "openness" of geoservices on our part was the release of the special Freemium plan, which allows you to use the HERE API/SDK, as well as the XYZ data visualization platform absolutely free of charge (but there are certain quantitative restrictions).

No less significant event was the development of HERE Open Location Platform - a platform where any company can share data that has a local component (coordinates, address), and developers, in turn, can create new alternative services based on them. After registration, the platform tools enable users to manage geodata: replenish, adjust, unify, and through a special marketplace, share or even sell them.

Cooperation with such open platforms will be definitely interesting and profitable for everybody. But there are, in our opinion, five key areas where positioning on the map may prove the most promising in terms of the "joint birth" of new navigation solutions and products that are in demand.

1. can you show me the way?

Automobiles have always been the pioneers of the introduction of navigation technology: it is especially important for the person behind the wheel to understand where he is and where he needs to go. According to a study by The Strategy Analytics, in the next few years the number of cars with built-in navigation systems will more than double in the world: from the current 39 million to 60 million units in 2025. Initially, the main function of navigation services in cars was route guidance, and navigation services already successfully cope with this task. Now comes a new stage - the improvement of various additional services, such as information about the roadside infrastructure: available hotels, gas stations, places for rest, food, etc. At the same time, the leading car companies are actively using geolocation to improve driving safety. To this end, for example, information about the location of the vehicle and data about road conditions is combined. And if in the place where you are driving, for example, there is ice on the road or accidents occur more often, the services will immediately warn of this.

2. let's think logistically

The logistics business is already unthinkable without the use of navigation solutions. According to the company iKS-Consulting, if in Russia following the results of the last year about 5,5 million cars were connected to the information and navigation services, by the end of the next year this number will be close to 10 million vehicles. According to responses of the companies, which actively use such systems, their introduction only at the initial stage can reduce fuel consumption in transport companies by 10-20% and increase accuracy and terms of delivery by 20%. In addition, geolocation systems significantly reduce the number of accidents, as they automatically monitor the driving habits of employees and ensure that they do not violate traffic rules.

3. The state steers

Geolocation data is becoming an important part of state management. They are used to make decisions about the development of road infrastructure and important social facilities. Now, for example, the authorities of the German city of Hamburg decide, based on the data on the movement of cars, where to place gas stations for electric cars. And in France, experts from the Institute of Science and Technology for Transport (IFSTTAR) announced that they have developed a system that, based on geolocation data, will drastically reduce the emission of harmful substances into the urban environment by improving urban traffic management.

4. Being indoors

Another important area of geolocation services, which has been booming lately, is the provision of navigation services not only in open space, but also indoors. Also, the demand for such services is growing in many areas, for example, in "smart home" systems with support for disabled people, in medical services, and in the work of emergency services. In addition, the so-called indoor navigation services are very popular in large warehouses, where it is now possible to find the necessary goods much faster and more efficiently. Another important direction is navigation inside production facilities: here, robotic systems are increasingly used to deliver the right parts from the warehouse to the production facility or to mark expensive components, such as a car engine, to know its exact location at a given moment.

5. Relevant suggestions

In addition to traditional consumers of navigation services, more and more other businesses are starting to use geolocation data. This can include the same advertising and marketing businesses. By accessing the data created from consumer interactions with stores, city services and appliances, marketers gain a more accurate understanding of individual consumer habits, likes and dislikes, allowing them to personalize next-generation advertising. For example, if you often linger at car dealers' showrooms, why not send you special offers to buy a new car? And if you're a regular at restaurants, it makes sense to send you information about the new menu. Some cities in the U.S. already have "talking billboards" that recognize passersby by their gadgets and can recommend that they eat breakfast around the corner or buy new sneakers for their favorite morning run.