by Robert Brady
The NAVTEQ Connections Conference in Budapest last week brought together industry-leading developers, device manufacturers, wireless carriers and enterprise solution providers for three days to discuss the evolution of location-enabled services and mobile dynamic information.
One company that is fully immersed in the future of these services are the conference organisers, mapping company NAVTEQ. Owned by Nokia, it considers itself as a foundation for the growing category of wireless location based services (LBS). An offspring of 1980's Silicon Valley, NAVTEQ boasts 3,300 employees worldwide, located in 174 offices in 32 countries, it is certainly well placed to take full advantage of the rapid take up of LBS.
The conference buzz was very much centred around the connected device. With 'always on' devices very much in the ascendant, we can look forward to a raft of traffic based applications to hit the market. All agreed that live traffic coupled with dynamic points of interest (POIs) such as parking space availability, fuel prices and live local information (including where our social network is) were the most popular consumer requirements.
We can expect further additions to the standard shortest and fastest routes in the form of routes that decrease your fuel usage and routes that divert your journey to the lowest price petrol station, but only if it is cheaper do so.
We can also expect a safest route option that utilises historical accident and road attribute data. NAVTEQ’s "whole environment" data includes information on ascents and descents, bends, exits, speed limits, temporary speed restrictions, and even the number of lanes.
We'll also be able to plan our journey based on the most pleasant weather en route with map overlaid predictive weather symbols or indeed altering our route based on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) pushing real-time information from windscreen wipers to servers. Car-to-car communication solutions, which would allow vehicles to share information on traffic speed and re-route, were confidently predicted to be available in the coming years.
High hopes filled the air at the conference; hopes based mainly on the promises of the social and commercial riches that could be gained from real-time LBS. As these services become pervasive, consumers will ultimately drive progress and decide which business or advertising based models will be adopted.
The debate continues as to whether we will pay extra for such services or allow ourselves to be advertised to. Research has suggested we would be very receptive to advertising as long as it is up-to-the-minute, accurate and relevant, i.e. you're low in petrol, so therefore diverted to cheapest en route advertised station without losing the savings you might make due to increased diversion distance.
Current traffic information is notoriously unreliable. How often have you ignored congestion advice and driven through the 'affected' area with no problem? Would you pay extra for accurate, automatic rerouting that guaranteed to get you to your destination more quickly, more safely and more cheaply?