Q&A; with Egil Juliussen Telematics Research Group

GPS Business News met with Egil Juliussen, Principal Analyst at Telematics Research Group at the Navigation and Location conference in San Jose early December. In this open discussion Mr. Juliussen gave us his thoughts about the GPS and location-based market, on topics such as real time traffic information, pedestrian navigation , two-ways connected PNDs and mobile LBS applications beyond navigation.

Dr. Egil Juliussen is the co-founder of TRG. He has more than 25 years experience in the computer, communications, and telematics industries and has published over 400 industry reports, conference papers, and publications.

Jasper Wireless brings connectivity to Dash Express

Jasper Wireless, a licensed global machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile operator announced that Dash Navigation will rely on its service to provide the wireless connection to the Dash Express PND.

The automated provisioning process offered by Jasper Wireless enables Dash to cost-effectively support its retail business model and unparalleled end-user experience. Scott Barkley, vice president, products at Jasper Wireless said “what is unique with Jasper Wireless is the out of the box experience we can provide to Dash Navigation. Basically consumers will open the box and the SIM card we provide will be ready to turn on the connection without any need of a particular activation process”.

Dash has also fully integrated Jasper Wireless M2M Control Center capabilities, via its standards-based API, into its own supply chain management, order management, provisioning, and billing infrastructure. This deep integration simplifies operations and gives Dash one central location for all device and customer information, including communications.

Jasper Wireless offers local service in over 35 countries, and growing every month, giving Dash the option to seamlessly expand into new international markets.

When asked about the possible reluctance of the average consumer to pay a monthly bill for navigation, Barkley added: “My personal belief is Dash will make its subscription cheaper than what they have announced so far. Location-based advertising is a natural fit for their platform”.

TomTom emphasizes Map Share in new European Advertising Campaign

TomTom today announced the European launch of the new TomTom GO Advertising Campaign. The campaign will be multi-channel and launched in 16 countries throughout Europe via TV, radio, print, outdoor and online. The campaign will start in almost all countries as of today and will run until the end of the year.

The campaign communicates three messages about the TomTom GO range: best maps, safety and ease of use. The campaign especially highlights the Map Share technology that allows user to update maps and share among them the latest changes. Billboards and TV commercials outline this feature (watch the commercials below).

TomTom is using a new animation style in this advertising campaign. TomTom worked with the Dutch agency TBWA/Neboko on the project. TBWA/Neboko commissioned the Dutch company PostPanic to produce two new television commercials for TomTom. The main characters are rotoscoped and then illustrated with sketch style lines. “This resulted in a unique visual experience combining live action, rotoscoping, 3D animation and motion graphics” said TomTom. “The animation allows the users to dive into another world — a “TomTom world”. The fresh lime green background enhances the branding in a creative and effective way”.

Real time traffic broadcast to debut in Australia

Intelematics an Australian Telematics solution provider and a subsidiary of Royal Automobile Club of Victoria started last week the first broadcast of traffic information in Australia. This broadcast has commenced in Melbourne using existing FM infrastructure to transmit the traffic information to compatible navigation devices via “TMC” (Traffic Message Channel, the international standard for delivering real-time information about road and traffic conditions to navigation systems). During the coming months, Intelematics will undertake final calibration and testing of the service called SunaTraffic, prior to it becoming available to consumers.

Melbourne was selected for the first broadcast owing to the assistance of the Victoria State’s transport administration in providing access to a range of traffic data. Unique to Intelematics’ approach is the identification of congestion levels using data derived from the traffic light control system. Intelematics combines this data with additional detail from probe vehicles and human observers. The company uses ITIS Holdings traffic platform to aggregate this information into a single real-time data feed.

“Intelematics has developed Australia’s first and only comprehensive real-time navigation service that is based on the global TMC standard. We have combined live data from thousands of traffic network sensors with human observation of road conditions to deliver one of the world’s most detailed and accurate navigation services”, said Adam Game, CEO of Intelematics Australia.

A well developed navigation market

This future traffic information service will give some additional reasons to Australian customers for purchasing a navigation device: according to Intelematics the 2006 sales for both in-dash and PND navigation solution were approximately 300,000. The forecast for 2007 is 600,000 of which approximately 80,000 is in-dash. Considering the Australian population is about 21 million, the penetration rate is not far away from United Kingdom and about the same as France.

According to a market study commissioned by local map provider Sensis (Nov 06 — Jan 07): 26% of consumers surveyed are currently using portable and – or in-car GPS navigation. 35% of all respondents surveyed are considering purchasing a GPS navigation device in the next 12 months.

TomTom agrees to acquire Tele Atlas for EU2 Billion

TomTom offered 21.25 euros per Tele Atlas share, Den Bosch, Netherlands-based Tele Atlas said in a statement. The bid is 28 percent more than the closing price on July 20.

Tele Atlas is the world’s second-biggest producer of maps and will allow TomTom to deliver real-time updates on routes to its more than 10 million navigation devices, the companies said. TomTom’s stock has doubled in the past two years on demand for its $280 products that stick to the dashboard and navigate drivers to their destination.

After the merger Tele Atlas will continue its business as a separate unit in the combined group specialising in developing and licensing digital map products for and to current and future customers, both in and outside the group.

Commenting on the proposed Offer, Harold Goddijn, Chief Executive Officer of TomTom said: “We think that the navigation industry is going to change dramatically in the next few years as end customers will give ever increasing importance to intelligent routing and continuously updated maps. By integrating customer feedback into the Tele Atlas map manufacturing process, we will be able to considerably enhance the user experience and further increase all Tele Atlas and all TomTom’s customers’ satisfaction. We will supply all companies wanting to rely on the improved maps for their PNDs, wireless handsets, in-car systems, internet services and in-house routing services.”

Source: Bloomberg – TomTom press release

Garmin to sponsor well known UK football club Middlesbrough

Garmin on Friday announced it will become the prime sponsor of the Middlesbrough Football Club for the coming season. Commonly known as Boro, the club plays in English Premier League and went to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2005-06. “Garmin is looking to improve its brand awareness” said Clive Taylor, Garmin’s European marketing director. Garmin market share in the United Kingdom was around 14% in 2006, four times smaller than the dominant TomTom.

The deal was signed in three weeks, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum: the “biggest-ever” shirt sponsorship deal for Boro, according to club’s sources. Graham Fordy, Head of Commercial, from Middlesbrough FC said, "The deal is initially for 12 months but we are already in discussions about extending the sponsorship into a second year”.

As a prime sponsors Garmin’s name will be on the player’s shirts at home and away. As part of the association, Garmin will be providing Middlesbrough coaches and players with Garmin Forerunner sport GPS to aid their fitness training and development. “There are numerous activities where the Garmin brand will be visible, including advertising boards and online activity. Garmin will have a strong presence at the Riverside Stadium throughout the season and will also be working closely with Middlesbrough FC in community projects”, added Garmin.

Spanish authorities to fine GPS navigation misuses

In a press conference today, Pere Navarro, the head of the Spanish traffic authority (DGT) explained its administration is seriously studying a new law to fine drivers using their GPS navigation systems while their vehicle is in motion. The fine could be €300 as well as three points removed from the driving license.

Using a mobile phone when driving is forbidden in Spain and Pere Navarro explained that using a navigation device should be the same. DGT estimates that 1.3 million GPS navigation devices will be sold in Spain in 2007. According to a study done by the DGT about half of car accidents in Spain are caused by driver’s distractions.

This is the second time since the beginning of the year that Pere Navarro targets GPS navigation as a cause of driver’s distraction during public speeches. The probability of a new law is now higher than ever.

The DGT also intends to contact GPS navigation manufacturers asking them to modify their software in order to prevent its use while the vehicle is in motion.

GPS Business News published a large feature about GPS and road safety legislation in Europe a few months ago. It is available here.

Germany gets free off-board navigation

German phone directory Das Oertlich has launched last week Ö-Navi, a free off-board navigation solution powered by Jentro with an advertising-based business model. The software is available for download for free on Oe-Navi.de and banners are displayed on the top of the navigation screen during the routing and feature local advertising. German customers only need to have a data plan and to buy a Bluetooth GPS receiver or to have a GPS-enabled mobile phone for using this solution.

The navigation software offers state of the art functionalities: 2D and 3D views, voice commands with street names and highways exit names, local search powered by Das Oertlich, full Germany phone directory searchable by name and phone number, nearest and cheapest gas station database, Traffic information and Western Europe maps.

This new solution demonstrates again (read our article about Mappy in France) the beginning of the phone directory companies in the navigation space, disrupting the market with their advertising-based business models. Wireless operators competing on this market will have to re-think their strategy accordingly: whether to partner with these competitors or decrease their prices and launch value added services if they want to maintain a subscription-based model.

TomTom Map Share: good news for map providers?

PND manufacturer TomTom announced two weeks ago Map Share a new technology allowing users of the TomTom Go 520 and 720 to correct map mistakes directly on their device and share these little improvements with the community of other users. Since TeleAtlas is the key map provider to TomTom, one might have thought Map Share would have been launched in co-operation with TeleAtlas and that the improvements made to the maps would be given back to TeleAtlas. But “At the moment, TomTom will not be sharing the information we collect with any of our map providers. This could very well change in the future”, said Karen Drake a TomTom spokesperson.

Map Share is a major investment from TomTom because such a solution needs a complex back-end system to process user’s updates, so it is sure the company is not likely to give back user generated map correction for free to TeleAtlas, and to see his competitors Navman and Mio — also TeleAtlas customers – getting the same information.

Despite Map Share TomTom will continue to provide its customers with a yearly map update, a high margin operation. If there is no agreement with TeleAtlas it means TomTom would have to compile its new maps with two sources: the new TeleAtlas data and its own Map Share updated data: probably not an easy task.

According to TeleAtlas spokesperson Erin Delaney, “Tele Atlas is excited by the launch of the TomTom Map Share program as we believe it will help enable users with the ability to further personalize and customize their navigation experience. Tele Atlas is committed to arming its industry partners and their end users with the freshest, most accurate map data and it’s been our strategy for over a year to solicit input from consumers via our Map Insight program. “

However we guess TeleAtlas might be more worried than thrilled by Map Share. So far map providers TeleAtlas and Navteq were fully in control of the map data value chain and business model. Of course end users update were most welcome, but for free and on the map provider websites.

But if PND manufacturers such as TomTom enter in the value chain and de facto control these end-user updates, it will change the rules of the game.

“Today, communities drive innovation and help facilitate experiences” added Delaney. We can not disagree, but the power is in the hands of who enables these communities.

Destinator Technologies invests in China

Destinator Technologies today announces plans to strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific region and particularly in mainland China to meet growing demand for satellite navigation solutions.

Destinator Technologies CEO Brian Barry said: “China represents one of the big opportunities for Destinator and we’re very excited about the progress we have made since entering the market two short years ago”.

China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second largest car market with sales surging 25 per cent in 2006 to 7.2 million vehicles. According to CCID Consulting, a Chinese market research firm, “Starting from 2007, China’s car GPS market will enter a brand new period of growth. Japanese car-makers will continue to lead the pre-installed market, with all high-end Japanese cars and some new car models to be installed with pre-installed navigation GPS. What is worth noting is that local car makers, currently making great strides forward, may well take the lead in the industry in the current round information system upgrading in domestic cars. The rapid rise of the post-installed portable GPS navigation product market now only hinges on one thing, namely services relating to GPS navigation products. These include traffic and road condition information services, parking lot information services and interest spot information services”.

Destinator has been established in China since 2005 and currently employs over 50 people in Beijing and Taipei. The company says that it will increase the number of staff in the region by the end of 2007. Destinator already has a string of contracts with regional personal navigation device manufacturers, including Shinco (PND manufacturer), Motorola and Sony Ericsson China. Strong relationships with local digital mapping suppliers have also been created to provide in-depth coverage of all the major regions in the country.

Recently, the company has developed a new Linux version of its Destinator 6 navigation software to meet growing demand for Linux Smartphones in China. Indeed, according to CCID Consulting, the 2006 Smartphone market was 15 million units (up 50% compared to 2005), with Linux (especially Motorola’s Smartphones built on this platform) accounting for 30% and Symbian (mainly Nokia’s Smartphones) accounting for 63%.

The company is also the first navigation software developer to work on the development of a TMC (traffic message channel) service for the Chinese market, offering drivers information on how to avoid traffic congestion. Destinator will be working with its partners to offer the service to visitors attending 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. TMC has been demonstrated in December 2005 in China through Dynasty, a European /Chinese project, but so far no service has been made available.