Parking: the Next Frontier of Connected Car Services

In 2006, UCLA Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup compiled the results of sixteen surveys carried out between 1927 and 2001 on the time spent looking for a parking space. He reported that the average time spent looking for on-street parking was approximately eight minutes — a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since the 1930s.

This research also demonstrated that, on average, one vehicle in three in traffic is actually searching for somewhere to park. This figure has been confirmed more recently by a study from the San Francisco City Council which concluded that an estimated one third of weekday traffic was due to drivers looking for a parking space.

While solving the problem of road congestion via accurate traffic information has been looked at for decades – the RDS TMC protocol was invented in 1988 – and has already reached a good level of sophistication and accuracy, solving the parking problem via connected services is quite a recent topic and is still very much a work in progress.

As a matter of facts, most of pure players in this field have been founded quite recently: as an exemple, JustPark in 2006, Parkopedia, ParkMe, Worldsensing and Anagog in 2009, Parknav in 2011. The only companies to have emerged earlier are the parking payment companies, PayByPhone and Parkmobile in 2000, Pango in 2005.

On-street and Off-street

Parking essentially divides in two markets with two very different problems to solve: off-street and on-street.

Connected services taking care of off-street parking are now quite advanced. In the three steps of information, booking and payment, the first is largely available (even if real-time data remains partial), but booking and advanced payment are still work in progress. Very few cars on the road today – or navigation apps – are able to find, book and pay seamlessly for a parking space in a garage.

The on-street parking problem is by nature more difficult to solve because detecting free parking bays in real-time, at scale is complex and requires many sources of information. There are very different approaches to create this data as we will see below.

Leveraging Traffic probe data for Parking

One is to make sense of the existing probe data currently used for real-time traffic. For example, Garmin is using this data to calculate the inflow and outflow of cars for each road segment in large cities and estimate availabilities (read here). The company has partnered with Parkopedia to include off-street parking information in their data model.

The GPS company launched this service in their mobile app during the third quarter in 6 German cities and is now adding cities in more countries: London, Amsterdam, Vienna and a few others coming in the United States.


Ford Enables Apple Siri Eyes-Free for 5M MyTouch-Equipped Cars

Ford announced today the release of a software update to more than 5 million SYNC-equipped vehicle owners adding hands-free access to iPhone features via Siri Eyes-Free.

Siri Eyes-Free allows drivers to activate Siri with a long press of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel. The following features can be accessed:

– Making phone calls to contacts in their address book

– Looking up phone numbers for restaurants or other points of interest

– Setting a reminder or alarm

– Asking about the weather

– Select and play music

– Audibly send and receive text messages

– Getting directions through Apple Maps

The new software update is available for vehicles equipped with the second generation of SYNC, known as MyFord Touch in North America, ranging from model years 2011 to 2016.

See a short demo below:

Navmii: Deals with Carmakers Expected in 2016 (Podcast)

Last week at the Where Camp conference in Berlin, GPS Business News spoke with Zoe Laycock the new Chief Marketing Officer at mobile navigation provider Navmii.

Navmii was born in 2009 and was one of the first companies in 2010 to bring turn-by-turn GPS navigation as a free service on the app stores using map data from Openstreetmap.

Nowadays their business model has largerly evolved from pure B2C (freemium, value added services and advertising) into B2B or B2B2C developing driver behaviour data and other solutions for insurance companies and car makers.

Zoe Laycock is one of the speakers at the ConnecteDriver conference taking place in Brussels on January 27-28, 2016

Listen to Zoe Laycock in the podcast below:

NavAds Opens U.S. Office to Develop Branded Content in Maps & Nav

Amsterdam-based NavAds, a provider of branded location content to navigation and maps, today announced the launch of its U.S. operations based out of California. The company hired Gideon Rubin to head the U.S. operation as Chief Strategy Officer and Advisory Board Member.

NavAds’ technology makes local businesses visible with up-to-date data across all the digital mapping platforms users engage on the go. The company has strategic publisher partnerships and API integration with TomTom Maps, HERE Maps, Apple Maps, Factual and a few others.

NavAds currently employs 29 people, has over 100 enterprise customers and an extensive network of resellers and platform syndication partners. the company currently manages over 250,000 listings on behalf of its customers in verticals such as fuel retail, fast food, financial services and hotels (such as BP, Carrefour, Best Western, Mövenpick, Interparking, Quick, Radisson, Regus, Shurgard).

Gideon Rubin comes to NavAds from Local Market Launch, a provider of local presence and reputation management solutions, where he served as Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer. Prior to Local Market Launch, Rubin served as COO of Lenco Mobile, where he worked following the acquisition of his own marketing software firm, Simply Ideas, in 2009.

Infoware: “We Prefer MySpin, MirrorLink or AppLink over Android Auto or CarPlay“

Two months ago German navigation vendor Infoware launched a mobile application for Android that offers e-horizon data. GPS Business News took this opportunity to ask a few question to their CEO, Thomas Schulte-Hillen, about their app and how he foresees the future between mobile apps and in-dash technologies.

GPS Business News: Infoware, what’s the background of the company?

Thomas Schulte-Hillen: We are specialists for navigation technology with a focus on cloud technology. We have been in the market with our navigation for about eight years. We come from the logistics market and now move into the automotive space. We provide navigation SDKs, white label apps and customized projects. We now even have our own app in the Play Store and it was just rewarded as the best traffic app of the year! We are a team of 25 people (20 of which are software engineers) located in Bonn, Germany. We are not funded by VCs but live of our cash flow instead!

GPS BN: And what about you?

TSH: I am the sole owner of the company. I am also a car guy, racing my historic Alfa Romeo GTAm from 1974 on the weekends.

GPS BN: You have released a mobile app that offers an “e-horizon“, what does it do?

TSH: The MapTrip Road Companion is a showcase for our competence and know-how regarding navigation, electronic horizon and cloud technologies. The app calculates the path you are most likely to drive for the next few kilometers. It then receives horizon information from the infoware’s Navigation cloud which contains information on what lies ahead of the driver. The horizon contains slope and curvature information from ADAS maps. It also contains live data like the speed at which traffic is flowing or safety relevant information like wrong way drivers or hard traffic jam ends. We will enhance the app further with additional live information on road conditions like icy roads, fog, rain etc.. The underlying technology can be licensed as an SDK for live use by OEMs.

GPS BN: Moving forward how do you see the balance between mobile apps and dashboard functionalities?

TSH: At Infoware we believe, that the mobile apps will lead the way and show which functionalities will be attractive and useful in the future. We are constantly moving ahead and releasing new functionalities every three months! This is much faster than anything conceivable for in-dash systems! We would like to see more possibilities to combine our capabilities with the comfort and ease-of-use of in dash systems. That is why we are investing in integrating technologies such as MySpin, MirrorLink or Applink. We prefer these OEM-technologies over Android Auto or Apple CarPlay as they provide (at least some) interfaces to the car’s data which we can use to create exciting, fun or useful apps!

Thomas Schulte-Hillen will be speaking about his developer’s views on the connected car industry at the upcoming ConnecteDriver conference in Brussels (January 27-28). Learn more here:

TomTom Signs Multi-Year Deal with Uber for Maps & Traffic

TomTom today announced a goal multi-year agreement to provide digital maps and traffic data for the Uber driver app.

This partnership had been in discussion for a number of months. The link between the two companies was obvious since Uber bought deCarta (read here), which was a strong partner to TomTom, reselling their maps to customers and powering some of TomTom’s LBS services with their server infrastructure.

It even seems that the supposed bid of Uber for HERE was made to put pressure on TomTom during the negotiation of this contract (read more here).

But this contract only covers the Uber driver app, not the consumer facing Uber app.

Fleetmatics Acquires Italian FMS Vendor; Adds 28,000 Vehicles Under Subscription

Fleet management provider Fleetmatics has announced last week the acquisition of Visirun S.p.A., a SaaS-based provider of fleet management solutions headquartered in Ferrara, Italy.

Visirun will add approximately 28,000 vehicles under subscription to Fleetmatics’ existing installed base and add an additional 3,000 customers.

According to market research firm Berg Insight, Italy is the third largest telematics market in Western Europe with nearly 5 million commercial vehicles. Berg Insight estimates that approximately 5% of the commercial vehicles in Italy use a telematics solution today.

This acquisition was announced as the company released their financial earnings for the third quarter of 2015, disclosing a revenue of $73.5 million, up 22% year-over-year, as active vehicles under subscription reached 655,000, up 25% year-over-year.

The Adjusted EBITDA was $24.8 million, or 33.7% of total revenue and the company generated $30.1 million in cash flow from operations.

TomTom Partners with Shell for Fuel Management Solution

TomTom Telematics and Shell have announced today a cooperation to offer European businesses a complete fuel management solution using TomTom’s fleet management system alongside Shell fuel management services.

As a result of this agreement, TomTom Telematics will launch a service that integrates euroShell Cards data into its WEBFLEET platform, making fuel transactions and fuel management information available for users in a single system.

“Fuel is amongst the biggest cost factors when running a vehicle fleet. However, by providing businesses with driver, vehicle and fuelling data insights, areas for improvement can be more easily identified and acted on, helping these businesses to reduce their costs and carbon footprint,” commented Parminder Kohli, General Manager Business Development at Shell Commercial Fleet.

Commercial Telematics to Reach 9.7M Units in North America by 2019

The number of commercial vehicles monitored by fleet management systems in North America is set to reach 9.7 million by 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5 percent, from 4.7 million in the last quarter of 2014, according to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight.

The penetration rate in the total population of non-privately owned commercial vehicles in North America is estimated to increase from 16.4 percent in 2014 to 30.4 percent in 2019.

Latin America

In Latin America, the number of active fleet management systems is expected to increase from 2.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, growing at a CAGR of 14.6 percent to reach 4.1 million in 2019.

The penetration rate in the region is estimated to increase from 8.1 percent in 2014 to 14.5 percent in 2019.

Top 5 Players Account for 2 Million Units

The top-15 providers of fleet management systems in the Americas now have a combined installed base of more than 3.5 million active units in the region and the top-5 players alone even account for 2 million units.

Berg Insight ranks Fleetmatics as the largest provider of fleet management solutions in the Americas with an active installed base of over 500,000 units in the region at the end of 2014.

The runners-up are Omnitracs and Trimble which have both reached estimated installed bases in the range of approximately 400,000 units. Telogis and Zonar System have both surpassed the milestone of 300,000 active units. Additional players with estimated installed bases of 100,000—300,000 active FM units in the Americas include Verizon Networkfleet, Geotab, Teletrac, Sascar, Position Logic and Spireon.

Autotrac, NexTraq, Navman Wirless and Zatix are furthermore all estimated to have 70,000—100,000 units in the region. Other notable actors in Latin America include OnixSat in Brazil, Encontrack, Copiloto Satelital, Grupo UDA and Global Track in Mexico, WideTech and Satrack based in Colombia, Tastets System, Wisetrack, GPS Chile and GPS7000 in Chile, Hawk GPS in Argentina and Location World in Ecuador.

Diversification Towards Non Vehicles Assets

An emerging trend that has surfaced in recent years includes a diversification among providers of fleet management solutions for commercial vehicles to also support other types of assets. Several of these companies now offer integrated solutions that can be deployed across off-highway vehicles, non-powered assets and other non-vehicle fleets.

“This enables fleet owners to monitor and manage all of their business-critical assets through the same backoffice interface, using familiar applications and reporting toolsâ€?, said Rickard Andersson, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight.

Volvo & INRIX Debut Global Partnership

Volvo Cars has selected INRIX for their live traffic service which now covers more than five million miles in 42 countries.

INRIX Traffic will be a part of Volvo Sensus Connect, the on-board infotainment and navigation solution that allows drivers to find and pay for parking, discover new places, stream their favorite music and more. INRIX real-time traffic will be available in November 2015 in the new Volvo XC90, and then in all other future Volvo models.

The navigation software in the Volvo XC90 is provided by HERE.