Thank you to everyone for your comments, thoughts and support over the years. 2007 has seen tremendous growth in the mobile industry and I believe that we are getting to maturity with a few things related to mobile data services. With 2008 on the horizon, there are a lot of big events happening next year, which hope to deliver on the promise of mobile subscribers and mobile data.
Happy Holidays to you and your family where, at last check, readership of my blog reaches over 60 countries, in every continent except Antarctica!
Here Comes Another Bubble – The Richter Scales
I just had to repost this. All I can say is:
Digital Boarding Passes on your Mobile
Bar codes have come a long way since the checkout counter at your local grocery store. I remember seeing UPS using 2D bar codes a few year back and thought that it was great that more and more information can be pushed into such a compact, odd-looking label. Continental Airlines announced that it be running a pilot program testing Digital Boarding Passes on your mobile phone in the Houston International (George Bush) Airport. Basically instead of using the touchscreen kiosk or even printing your ticket at home, you simply carry the 2D barcode on your phone and show it to the agent for them to scan. I hope this idea is successful as it would be great to save time, go green, and risk losing another piece of paper, while traveling to and from and within the airport. Also, if this gets me out of another queue at the airport, sign me up!
I guess the only problem is if you run out of batteries from the security gate to the time you board the plane…you’ll have to stand in line. Remember to charge your mobile phone battery once a day!
Holiday cheers from the Sprint Ambassador Program:
Did you know that you can stream Holiday music through your Sprint phone?
Sprint Radio Premier has all of your favorite Holiday tunes on a continuous loop â€“ To access, go to Menu>Media Player>Channel Listing>Music & Radio>Sprint Radio Premiere> BONUS: Yuletide Tunes
Here are some screenshots from using the service:
Comments: I just need a bigger battery so I can use this to power all my holiday parties, because I haven’t prepped my iPod and synced my Christmas music. I’m not always with my AC adapter. Otherwise the Sprint quality for pushing streaming Holiday Music is definitely one way to get a few more subscribers during the rush to buy mobile phones.
Navigation and Location 2007 USA – Real Time Traffic Data
Bryan Henry, Market Research Analyst, IMS Research Panelists:
Tom Bouwer, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, AirSage
Bill Greco, SVP, Sales and Marketing, Traffic Cast
Jonathan Hubbard, CEO, Land Sonar
Len Konecny, Vice President, Business Development, Clear Channel
Real time traffic data is big business, but is it developed enough to circumnavigate the drive-time tailbacks?
Get the inside track on who is likely to win the battle for traffic data domination
Discover what measures need to be put in place to improve the accuracy of traffic data
Clear routes to best practice â€“ find new ways to amalgamate sources, and allocate funds to deliver precision
Can probe data alone resolve the issue of real time traffic data?
One of the main themes in Day One of the conference was Traffic. There seemed to be lots and lots of examples or references with respect to Navigation and Location. But after the panel was over, it would seem that there could and should be other examples besides traffic as a main use case for navigation and location. Having said that, there *were* a lot of good points discussed during this panel, albeit, probably not a whole lot of resolution to solving some of the problems. Perhaps because the state of things are still trying to “lay down” the infrastructure and layers with navigation services in order to provide a large and comprehensive data set as building blocks for other applications.A few concepts that came up were the ability to show accurate travel time data that would be superimposed or compliment navigation during the journey. While this may sound like a simple request, it in fact is quite complex given the nature of the number of systems involved. Another idea of providing a navigation service that would saving time for any given journey in exchange for some privacy elements given to “personalize” it for the individual. This would seem to be a good idea since some data can be obfuscated to given out unique identity information, but not given the true identity of any given person. The question to solve would be how many and what aspects would be relevant to make the service useful and which are useful to provide marketing data/sales opportunities to the person while using such a service.Another critical topic that was raised was the delicate balance between the depth of data accessible versus the simplicity or user control of the application or service. This is greatly due to the fact that one device/application/service cannot satisfy everyone. This stems from people’s desire to want degrees of granularity for information. This is also dependent on the modal whilst traveling (for example, while driving to a destination, too much detail might be more of a distraction).
Finally, with all this power in hand, a question was posed, but not really answered: What is the best user-acceptable maximum latency for a navigation/location service? For people coming from the world of a mobile phone, it’s nearly instant. While we can tolerate loading some information, we become more and more impatient after about 5 seconds. For those using a PND, due to the modality, taking longer than 5 seconds would be fine, since you are probably paying attention to driving.
So we need to keep installing infrastructure and maturing services on one end, while marketing PNDs and navigation services. Just like web search and email, which have become near ubiquity, navigation and location through mobile and web needs to continue to march forward to get more and more people using it.
Navigation and Location 2007 USA – Section 4: Content for Cash
Jonathan Husby, Director, Automotive Sales, Tele Atlas
The Role of Digital Maps in Driving the Future of Navigation
Gain an overview of how digital maps and content are evolving to embrace demands for dynamic information
Find out how navigation companies and applications are enabling custom navigation experiences
As personalization, connectivity and content continues to take off, discover how industry leaders will rise to the challenge of developing and delivering devices and services that will include location-based information
So far there has been an expensive infrastructure overlay in building out coverage for navigation and location. As providing good coverage has been nearly completed, the next wave includes: data content, services, and the merging of applications and data sets. Once the next wave has been mature, even more interesting applications and services will arise. If you take mapping for example, currently it’s a 2D map with basic views and layers to show roads, street names, natural places (lakes, rivers, parks, etc).
But to satisfy people, 2D maps will not be enough. Topographic information, visualization of city maps will need to be layered. Basic outlines of roads, buildings, into simple 3D objects. The layers further get complex as texturing of physical objects are added. It might be to the point where you are creating a very detailed virtual experience in the palm of your hand. This is because people can understand directions, but need more detailed visual cues like gas stations, shopping malls, building shapes and colors, unique markers, which is currently lacking and beyond navigation units today. But with one billion GPS-enabled phones predicted by 2011 and over 140M wireless applications using LBS by 2010, the other components to realize this dream will come online soon. More than likely, navigation and location will fall into the background and new applications will take advantage of all the power behind it while abstracting things like coordinates and cumbersome address/destination entry a thing of the past.
Navigation and Location USA 2007 – Nokia Preso
Case Study by Nokia: Location and Navigation
After the Panel, it was a change to hear from Nokia regarding their products and services related to the Navigation and Location space. But before that, a few stats about the company.
1M phones per day are currently being shipped by Nokia. (Given that 1B phones are going to be shipped this year and Nokia has 38% market share, that sounds plausible).
Some of the vision that was presented was the fact that between the dedicated PC and the mobile device (whatever it eventually morphs into) the user experience with connecting to the online world of applications, content, and services will remain as a paramount challenge. It’s not simply just text transcoding or screen formatting, it really needs to be a unique experience that engages and builds stickyness. I hope to be able to publish some of the charts and user studies that were presented at a later time.
Navigation and Location 2007 USA – Section 3 Business Models
Phil Magney, President, Principal Analyst, Telematics Research Group Panelists:
Steve Andler, VP Marketing, Networks in Motion
Kal Mos, Engineering Director, Consumer Electronics Integration and Connected Audio and Video, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development, North America, Inc.
Kiyoshi Hamal, Senior Director Sales & Marketing, Mio Technology USA
Can factory installed navigation systems keep up with cell phones and PNDs?
Find out if factory installed, pay-up-front applications have a place in todayâ€™s market
In the face of huge competition, learn how updated, accurate, high quality data delivery is being developed to keep customers happy
Does partnering with traffic providers, to offer â€˜lifetime freeâ€™ data, make in-dash navigation systems attractive enough to customers â€“ and what should the price tag be?
Hear about new content bundles that can increase the value of pay-up-front applications
Factory-installed navigation systems in cars have a nice place for consumers. The integrated, large screen and most have voice-directed turn-by-turn directions. Part of the issue becomes the ability to support dynamic conditions such as traffic as well as frequently changing data (points of interest, new roads and routes, etc). With prices this year at the $100 price target, these devices have hit mass market afford ability without needed the more expensive in-dash option, even when looking for a new car.The panel was boasting about how the PND market will hit 7M+ units in the US in 2007, which represents a rampant growth of 100%. Meanwhile, there are over 200M mobile subscribers in the US as the end of 2007 draws near, with roughly 17% of the devices being location enabled*. Hmmm, at 34M mobile phones with navigation features, that’s 5x the number of units! And in 2008, 40% of the phones sold will have A-GPS â€” 80M devices. Added to the pressure is the recent Nokia acquisition of Navteq, announcements from Google about improving Google Maps for Mobile and others that really start to encroach on a booming space.
Navigation and Location 2007 USA – Section 2 Device Platforms Technology Update
Thilo Koslowski, VP and Lead Auto Analyst, Gartner Panelists:
Ed Staehlin, Director Product Management, Automotive & Navigation, Motorola
H.P. Jin, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, TeleNav
Bernardo Lopez, Head BMW Group Technology Office, BMW
Christian Bubenheim, VP Product Marketing, Magellan
Silvio Nasi, Product Manager, Embedded Technologies, Loquendo
The ongoing fight for device market dominance â€“ is a winner emerging?
Find out what differentiating strategies dominate the PND, mobile, in-dash, and web markets
Discover the best device markets to plough your development dollars into
Discuss the prospect of PND and mobile device convergence and how this might affect the future of navigation services
Synchronizing applications between devices and the web â€“ learn what opportunities this offers to customize and monetize value added applications
At the start, this was one of the more interesting panels to listen because it was a fairly accurate representation of ecosystem represented in the navigation space for consumers. One of the main topics that were trying to be answered was what kind of winning business model will emerge from navigation devices for consumers. One question that was raised was a free (potentially ad-subsidized) will be in contention with a paid or subscription model for navigation services for mapping, directions, etc. Mr. Jin from Telenav strongly stated that for business users, a free model most likely would not be tolerated, however for the average consumer, they would be more willing to see ads to support a free or heavily subsidized location service. Google Android was mentioned and the reaction from the panel was that of little concern (at the moment, since no official product with Google Android technology has yet to be launched). Other comments regarding the agenda are summed up here: Magellan: “Lofty goal” of a seamless transition from car to mobile for navigation and location experience. The service and application also needs to suggest alternate routes such as ("green", mass transit, road construction, etc).Speech recognition to compliment and enhance navigation must get better and simpler for consumer input. As the price point continues to drop and more and more consumers are requesting personal navigation devices (PNDs), the need to make it simple and easy, potentially using one’s voice can be a great way to interact with the consumer. BMW: Having lots of devices that come in and out of a vehicle is not practical. Either the auto manufacturer offers it with the car, such as in-dash navigation, or allow for integration (similar to the Apple iPod adapter).One final thought for this session was the need to partner with technology, brands, and distribution channels in order to build and create sustainable value for the industry. Also, increasing connectivity for PNDs must happen; dynamic data, user-generated content and other uses will evolve out of a single use device into a multi-functional unit.
Navigation and Location 2007 USA – Section 1 State of Navigation and Location Market
VP and Lead Auto Analyst
Get the latest facts and stats on the changing market landscape
Gauge which markets promise the biggest rewards for navigation uptake, and find out what consumer do and donâ€™t like
Discover which innovators are best positioned to deliver dynamic and synchronized, next generation navigation and location services
Find out who is merging with who, and where the balance of power is shifting within the industry
Thilo from Gartner had a lot of stats and facts to present to the audience to kick off the first session of the conference. He posed a strong question about a potential emerging category: Navigation as a Service, akin to Software as a Service. As the name implies, there needs to be quite a bit of infrastructure in place (hardware and software) in order, standards across lots of different platforms and devices need to be agreed upon and ubiquity on devices needs to be solved. I’m not sure if navigation has reached the point of becoming a commodity, even though there a two basic companies that supply the data for GPS. But when it comes to implementation of devices that can interpret and apply the data for human consumption, the variety of solutions our there seems to mirror the music market (3 flavors of broadcast radio (AM/FM, HD, and satellite), portable devices (CD-players and iPods, and other variants), and converged devices (mobile phones).Then is comes to use of the navigation and location. This is where it seems that a divide has sprung up between occasional users and heavily dependent applications where it is business-critical to have navigation and location. This is where we begin to “leap off cliffs” and start to see a wide open diverse array of solutions to suit everyone.
On the one hand, you have the person who wants one device for one function (for example PNDs). While these are good for the automotive or transportation sector, these devices potentially suffer from low integration, static data, and little or no data connectivity (via cellular, WiFi, or even sync to a PC. It is true that these devices have significantly come down in price ~$1200 USD, about 10 years ago to barely over $100 USD (with 2007 Holiday Shopping incentives) and the confluence of the media advertising and more sophisticated applications have created the importance of location and navigation into common culture and society. This also plays nicely into current society in which people are highly mobile and potentially traveling to more places outside their their home and also dealing with new places with new streets, etc.
On the other hand, you have people who want integrated and converged devices which cram lots of features and functions into one unit (mobile phones with camera, bluetooth, navigation, QWERTY keyboard, email, etc). I can’t remember the last time I carried a backpack full of devices: music player, mobile phone, digital camera, GPS device, and PDA. With all the power plugs and various add-ons, I think I could get my daily workout just by lifting composite plastic and metal and silicon versus dumbbells each day. With 40% of mobile phones expected to have Assisted GPS (A-GPS) in 2008, that is equivalent to 400 million plus handsets next year. It would seem essential for a wave of companies who want to monetize that kind of market opportunity to leverage location and navigation, targeting mobile handsets, which are one of the most pervasive technology devices worldwide.
But with this bifurcation in the market comes some dynamics. Some include the diversity of device platforms, form factors, data connectivity, multi-functional (beyond just a plain location/navigation device), and the list goes on and on. To be fair, it also means a lot of opportunity to find niche plays and verticals to build value.
Lastly, whilst this is all happening, just remember to make the UI intuitive and the application extensible since the user does like to deal with things in which you really need to read the instruction manual!
Navigation and Location 2007 USA Conference – Hilton San Jose
First off, thanks to David for introducing me to Abbie, Industry Researcher and Global Event Director, from Telematics Update. She and her team did a great job pulling this event together, now in it’s fourth installment. David told me about the Navigation and Location 2007 conference taking place in San Jose; he was unable to attend, so I happily agreed to take his place in exchange for blogging about the event. So the the set of posts captures some of the notes taken on each session as some commentary from me. I encourage you to post some comments to continue to discuss the topics covered long after the conference is over.
At first glance, I looked at the sponsors, exhibitors and delegate list and noticed the heavy presence from the automotive and portable navigation device (PND) space. But diving deeper into the agenda and topics, it was clear that mobile handsets, LBS, and mobile data services was essential to the conversation. As the event unfolded, one thing was clear: location and navigation has come to the foreground with respect to consumer and enterprise importance; unlocking the value and deriving applications, services and success is deeply important and achievable, but the roadblocks in the way must be tempered and patience exerted.Lastly, in the next few weeks, I hope to obtain the presentations and will try and post relevant pictures and stats up on my blog.
A few friends commented to me that the new layout design that I had put together was not as nice and clean as the previous one. On top of that, it has been a while since I upgraded my version of WordPress as well as install some updated plug-ins and did some housecleaning on the site. So all in all, it was a good time to take care of a few of these things.
I am still trying to figure out the new WordPress 2.3.1 with the Tag Cloud feature, since UTW (Ultimate Tag Warrior) is not compatible with this version. So you might still see some incremental changes and updates in the next few weeks.Let me know what you think about the new layout.