Expertise On Demand
18 Jun 2007, 11:59PM PT
4 Jun 2007, 12:00AM PT
Closed: 18 Jun 2007, 11:59PM PT
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As more and more devices add GPS capabilities, what features will really differentiate personal navigation devices (PNDs)? What location based services will be most valuable to drivers? To pedestrians? What will GPS devices look like in 5 years?
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Andy Brudtkuhl
Thursday, June 7th, 2007 @ 1:30PM
What will differentiate GPS and PND's now is what the reality will be in 5 years. And that is an affordable solution included in mobile phones. The adoption rate will inherently increase when the application is integrated with mobile phones.
I am an early adopter / gadget geek but I do not own a PND nor do I plan on it. Would it come in handy often? Very much so. But the last thing I need is another device to carry around.
What hurts the PND industry is the fact that within seconds I can query Google Maps through the browser on my phone which will give me directions based on the location that I input. The value PND or similar applications bring to the table is that the end user need not know their current location. This increased value / differentiation does not warrant the cost or inconvenience of owning a dedicated PND.
If I was a PND manufacturer not focused on the future of mobile computing / mobile web services I would do so right away because that's what all the competitors should be working on. While R&D is working on mobile solutions I would only target frequent drivers or partnering with auto manufacturers to create brand awareness. I really like what Garmin has done in this industry by personalizing their brand and targeting non traditional GPS / PND owners like soccer moms.
But the future is all about access through integrated mobile devices.
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Nathaniel Bezanson
Sunday, June 10th, 2007 @ 12:15AM
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Mitch Brisebois
Monday, June 11th, 2007 @ 11:41AM
Wide deployment of GPS will have a significant impact on cities' ability to create "smart infrastructure" Once the flow of vehicular, transit and people traffic is KNOWN not PREDICTED - then the behavior of traffic controls can be dynamically modified to gain incredible efficiencies. The impact will be to reduce congestion, reduce the need for additional infrastructure, and make cities opearte at a higher level of effectivess. Other benefits of GPSii would be to facilitate travel for emergency response teams.
The ROI just on energy savings (plus pollution reduction) should be enough for a company to develop GPS-enabled infrastructure intelligence. Cool!
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Johan Hjelm
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 @ 7:37PM
There are two questions folded into this one: 1. What will _todays_ navigation devices look like in a few years. 2. What _other_ devices could get navigation capabilities.
To see what I mean with the latter, think about the WiFi indicators that you can get to put on your keychain nowadays. What if they were GPS-enabled, automatically positioning any WiFi network they found? And if you could connect them to your USB port to build a collaborative map of free wifi automatically?
As for the first one, this will obviously be quite different in different parts of the world, and different markets. Where people typically take trains, especially subway (instead of driving), the most valued capability will be for naviagtion devices to work underground (or in stations). More intelligent devices would also be useful (it does not help a pedestrian to be directed onto the motorway), and the devices could easily be made to sense what modality a user is transporting themselves with (for instance, using an accelerometer, you can quickly determine the motion pattern of walking). So making devices more sensitive to the situation of the user is one thing.
Another is more intelligent maps. Not only sensitive to the transport modality, but also containing several levels of information. I need maps to get around, but if I am looking for a restaurant where I want to have dinner with my wife, getting the McDonalds is not sufficient. I want real restaurants with recommendations. The user interface is going to need a bit of work here, since the selection must be simple and non-intrusive. Preferrably, the accelerometer could be used to enable the selection as well (gesture interaction).
Real-time communications capabilities is also something that is relatively easy to build in, but where the GPS devices today are too stupid to leverage the possibilities. For instance, in Europe you can get data about the traffic situation etc over the FM radio. How can GPS devices display this in a friendly and intelligent way? There are plenty of other things which you can get the same way (including weather), and it does not require internet connectivity, just an FM broadcast receiver.
There is one more thing you can do with GPS today, which is rarely done, and that is the third dimension. Today, GPS devices are normally used to determine your coordinates relevant to a two-dimensional map. But if you can relate your position to the height, you could get a lot more information such as floor layouts etc into there. And you could connect it to phone books, which tell what floor tenants are.
In other words, GPS devices today should stay what they are - but get better at it.
The non-GPS-devices, however, that is a different story. GPS has become so cheap now that we could build it into litterally anything electric. Of course, the usefulness of having a GPS vacuum cleaner might be questionable. The trick is not getting the GPS information in there, but the trick is getting the information out, and into something useful. Devices which constantly stand still might not have immediate use for GPS, unless they are unexpectedly moved out of position (think safes). The sky is the limit, litteraly.
Hope that helps. Come back if you want more.
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Vinaya HS
Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 @ 2:24AM
2007 is predicted to be the year when GPS technology will – to quote Geoffrey Moore – “cross the chasm” from early adoption to mainstream adoption. In today’s market, it is almost impossible to find a pure personal navigation device. Navigation has become just one of the umpteen features offered on a personal navigation device. Personal navigation devices can today capture FM radio signals and DMB mobile TV signals, masquerade as audio/MP3 players (with an iPod dock of course), double up as hands-free Bluetooth kits for your cellphone, and even display e-books. Talk about feature abuse!
On the other side, traditional devices such as cellphones, smartphones, and portable media players are now taking on GPS capabilities. It’s a feature abuse game being played from both ends of the equation. With so many manufacturers involved, navigation devices are slowly turning into commodity items. Indeed, market leaders such as Navman have gone on record saying that there’s not a great deal of differentiation that can be done on the technology side.
Although I believe that the market for pure personal navigation devices is steadily shrinking (simply because there are not too many manufacturers making them), the areas where differentiation is possible are:
Design – Stick to simplicity. Do one thing: navigation, and do it well. Be the best in navigation rather then being mediocre in multiple things. Make the devices compact enough, so that people can simply pick them up, stick it into their pocket/purse when leaving the vehicle and then use it for navigation in pedestrian mode. Again, don’t stick features into the device simply because you know how to.
Features – Provide plenty of navigation related features. Strive for connected information with ideas like social networking, safety-camera downloads, and dynamic points of interests. Make the device easy to use out of the box. Create a “Wow!” experience. Your customers will love you for it.
I believe that five years down the line there will be demand for both forms of the product. There will always be customers who want one of those all-in-one devices when they are in pedestrian mode, but when the same people get back into their vehicles they will want a pure personal navigation device with a big bright screen and clear speakers.
I believe that the following location based services will be most valuable from a vehicle driver’s perspective (i.e. as a daily commuter):
Real-time traffic congestion updates
Shortest route from Point A to Point B (taking into account real-time traffic congestion)
Services that answer questions such as:
Which is the nearest fuel station offering gasoline at the lowest price?
Which is the nearest car-wash?
Which is the nearest garage (in case of vehicle breakdowns)?
From a pedestrian’s perspective, I believe that the following location based services will be most valuable:
Permission-based buddy services to discover friends nearby
Instant geo-tagging of photos
Location-based gamesLocation-based advertising
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by David Mould
Saturday, June 16th, 2007 @ 8:12PM
For a long time GPS devices were the reserve of a minority of users in a very small niche. Outdoor enthusiasts used them for safety when walking. In car GPS started to take a hold and now most high end cars come with either a CD or DVD based system onboard.
Today the latest trend in the Mobile Handset evolution is to see GPS added on as a feature. This trend is now entering the lower end of the handset market and for those phones equipped with Bluetooth there are small GPS devices that connect to your phone, for viewing, via Bluetooth.
This handset trend is set to publicize GPS technology and with hybrid handsets also being able to use cell based location services the platform has been created for Location Based Services. The use of cell based services is more preferable in urban areas where cell site saturation make the system accurate enough add where the tall buildings can hamper the line of sight required for satellite acquisition.
Where will the technology lead us to? What will be required to ensure adoption?
The move to mobile phone handsets and the use of hybrid services, either satellite or cell based, means that personal navigation devices (PND) are no longer for in car use.
Many devices today, like the Nokia 330, have modes for vehicle and foot. This allows the user to get route selection by road or by pedestrian friendly routes.
Many devices have 2D and 3D viewing capability. This moves from the flat, map like, representation to allow for a sense of height and vertical separation.
As the devices are increasingly mobile phones or PDA’s how will the use need to evolve to make the system suitable for pedestrians?
A key feature for a PND will be the location of Hospitals, Police Stations, Dentists, Embassies and maybe Information Centers.
Directory services and web sites should start to include coordinates so that users can find their way to the site as quickly and as efficiently as possible. IVR systems should start to include an option “press 8 to hear our coordinates”.
For travelers that find themselves in a foreign location that need the taste of the familiar franchise companies could start providing locations of their stores to be uploaded into the handset:
Another extension could be the convergence of your PND and your travel guide. I previously posted an idea on how Lonely Planet could collaborate with location based services. With the potential explosion of PND’s consideration should be given to add coordinates of key sights, hotels and such into the guide so that tourists can, if they wish, find the way there.
This would lead to additional modes for foot users. At present personal navigation tends to plot the fastest route. In some cities this may not be the best route, what about the safest route? For convergence with tourism what about scenic route?
Collaboration and Community
GPS already has one strong community, Geocaching. This is where users place objects or create interest points that can be found via your PND. One sight might be a box that you locate and add your name to a log or a location where you take a photo and post it on a site to prove that you’ve been there. Other variations are where you can log your note/bill and track where it’s circulated to through the community portal.
The ability for users with a common interest to log coordinates and share the navigation experience will be a key strategy to success. TomTom now have a map sharing service available. Users can edit the map, share it via the web and other users could share the edits to update their device. This would tie in nicely with Lonely Planets Thorn Tree forum where travelers can help keep the guide up to date.
In order to support this PND vendor will need to have an open source approach so that handsets can have their maps edited, if need be through a website.
The other success factor, in addition to function, is size. The newest generation of GPS devices will fit into your shirt pocket.
Overall I see the trend of handsets to be more component based. Many devices now integrate Bluetooth for connectivity. I see a Bluetooth hub in your pocket that has a WiFi and GSM gateway. The phone will be a small display and keyboard for voice, SMS and web browsing that connect over Bluetooth to the hub and out over the channel required. In the same way the current Bluetooth GPS devices could then be placed in any pocket and still supply functionality, maybe eventually to a heads up display that projects into your sunglasses.
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Alex Curtis
Sunday, June 17th, 2007 @ 5:08PM
The GPS devices that will become increasingly more valuable will be the ones that can communicate with others and aggregate their collective information via a network.
Of course, real-time traffic data aids drivers immensely, but the way most of this data is collected is via street and highway cameras, and very little is via the cars or nav-devices themselves. Dash.net is running their trial in California with two-way PNDs and I believe this hub-and-spoke two-way communication will prove more cost effective and accurate for real-time traffic info than other kinds of traffic monitoring. Enabling PNDs to communicate amongst themselves, in a mesh or peer-to-peer kind of way would allow information to flow more efficiently. Imagine the safety implications: a car in distress automatically communicating the SOS call to other cars passing by; quickly alerting other cars in the immediate vicinity that others are stopped; or an ambulance telling cars down the road to get out of the way.
Other location aware devices, like digital cameras, will be able to provide a much richer experience when that information is exposed to online photo services. While technology like Microsoft's photosynth generally compares images to extrapolate points-of-view in a 3D world, geo-location tagging will be the next step in automatically placing those photos and video in a place and time. Imagine real-time photos of Google Maps Street View pulled from standard photos uploaded on Flickr.
Location-aware applications on mobile phones allow users to find where their friends are located, today. Other applications offered today can help users find services and products right where they're standing. We're going to see more online services tie into this data, like friends-of-friends networks, for both the social MySpace and professional LinkedIn crowds. General web-searches will be more precisely tailored to the user's location for devices that expose that kind of information to the search engine. Personal automation will also be greatly benefited with the additional location datum--your mobile phone will know you don't want to be disturbed when you're physically at the movie theater, or automatically reschedule events when you may not be in the vicinity of your next appointment.
What we perceive as an integral innovation of Web2.0 is the ability of products and services to mash-up open data sets to create a new innovation. While two-way communication can give a device manufacturer / service provider a great edge, it's this writer's opinion that it would behoove the market to learn the lessons from Web2.0; PND market as a whole would be better served a if an open, two-way communication standard were developed.
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Jim Lyons
Monday, June 18th, 2007 @ 2:58PM
I write a blog mostly covering the Printing and Imaging industry but this question pops up as interesting to me because recent user studies in our industry have found one of those most frequent print tasks in the home these days is printing driving instructions. So an optimistic printer executive might conclude that future personal navigation devices will include portable printers. More pessimistic types would say that the paper directions of today are an intermediate step doomed to go away when PNDs are more pervasive.
However, I'm somewhere in the middle, and understand that the portability provided by today's print out from Mapquest, for example, does have advantages in readability (visible in almost all lighting situations) and true portability (can't run out of batteries), for example. It's also less risky in the case of loss, and can be adapted to other complementary purposes (like jotting down notes or phone numbers to go along with the directions).
So my perfect PND would have all those advantages of customized paper directions -- readable, portable, easily and almost painlessly replaced if lost, and updatable with companion information.
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Greg S
Monday, June 18th, 2007 @ 4:22PM
The Future of Personal Navigation Devices by Derek Kerton
Monday, June 18th, 2007 @ 5:04PM
As someone who has bought and used multiple devices from Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan, as well as is on the Board of Advisors of a LBS start-up, I think I can offer you some input into this issue.
What LBS Features Will Be Most Valuable To Drivers:
What location based services will be most valuable to drivers?
What location based services will be most valuable to pedestrians?
What will GPS devices look like in 5 years?
PNDs soon will be squeezed on one side by OEM car devices which are integrated with rear-view cameras, entertainment systems, HVAC, etc, and on the other side by phones. And phones have the distinct advantage of being connected to the network. So in 5 years, PNDs will look like...Phones. Well, no joke, if you look at the Nokia N95, for example, you can see that the functions of the PND can be integrated nicely into phones today. The PDA market was big in the late 90s, but it got swallowed up by the Smartphone. And so the PND will face a similar threat. Palm became a smartphone company, as has MSFT with their PDAs. PND makers might consider doing the same. Worked for RIM! On the one hand, phone handsets are a cut-throat market, on the other hand, 1B get sold every year - that's an opportunithreat.
Thus, for pedestrian use, this market is going to go to phones. PND makers can either follow Palm, and make phones, or just let that market go bye-bye.
PNDs makers need to focus on other niches, such as competing head-on for the in-car market. The OEMs have some advantages, but their product cycle is slow, so stand-alones should always try to beat them on price, and modern features. Connectivity may be a differentiator in the next five year product cycles. PND makers should be the first to connect to wide area data networks (EDGE, EVDO, HSDPA, WiMAX, Wi-Fi) and stay in front of Delco and Denso. UI also becomes a very important differentiator. They may have better screens, but I still haven't seen an in-car model that competes with the best-of-breed PND for UI. That's the Blackberry/iPod advantage: even years after their release, still no one really can match their user experience.
But I think that the squeeze is going to be painful for PND makers. Perhaps partnerships with the automakers is the best long-term plan. Compete with them using your PND standalones, but hedge against obscurity by partnering with them to deliver best-of-breed SatNav.
Remember in the 70s-80s, aftermarket car stereos took off, and names like Alpine, Pioneer, Sony and such had big addressable markets. Then automakers started changing the form factors of car stereos, and putting better radios in cars. They became integrated with other car functions, simply at first - like dimming when the headlights were on. The aftermarket took a hit - and that has only continued. Yet the aftermarket vendors have seen some resurrection by partnering with automakers, and offering their products as OEM/branded solutions in new cars. There's a reason why Bose and such displaced Delco and such in the audio of high-end cars. Because of specialization, Bose delivers a better audio solution. Garmin, TommyTomTom, et al need to navigate the same waters.