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India poses huge Opportunity for LBS
Jayakishore Bayadi
Sunday, February 1, 2009
What are the advantages developers will have if they use NAVTEQ mapping platform? What's unique about your products?

The key advantage of the NAVTEQ map is that it offers a single global specification that has been painstakingly created to optimize the needs of customers, end users and developers. The NAVTEQ Map offers more than 260 attributes, which helps us to create the maps in a very consistent manner, according to the needs of that particular country with high quality standards. These attributes are captured by pure technical personnel who are equipped with proprietary equipment, whether it’s pedestrian or automotive. Equipments are designed to optimize the collection and capturing the data accurately. For instance, details of a street, which even includes number of lanes, streets and one ways and no parking areas and several other minute details are captured and stored in the database, which is updated regularly. In addition to 260 attributes, we also collect 50 categories of POIs (Point of Interest) like ATMs, restaurants, transit stops, taxi stands, cross walks and many more.

So, because of such huge and detailed data availability, it makes developers easy to offer the customized and quality map data to their customers, who will experience the similar quality of data regardless of which country they are in. Globally, NAVTEQ collaborates closely with the leading LBS developers and service providers. With presence in over 74 countries we have created a proprietary tools, technologies and processes, which is very hard for any other companies to replicate, which makes us unique in what we are.

Can you elaborate on NAVTEQ Network For Developers?

NAVTEQ Network For Developer (NN4D) is a global community and a place to connect with thought leaders highly invested in the location ecosystem. Here one will find rich technical resources, ways to reduce development costs, platforms to showcase your application and ideas for accelerating time-to-market. NN4D.com provides developers, business partners and visionaries with the tools, people, and support needed to build, showcase and surpass conventional demands for location-rich experiences.

With regard to LBS, how different is India over developed countries?

Well, it’s certain that the driving habits and walking habits are quite different in India compared to the U.S. And our team has encountered this difference and we have already made arrangements to accommodate those data relevant to India. NAVTEQ utilizes hundreds of local geographic analysts within India in order to assess the unique local nuances of the road network. These nuances are then factored into the many attributes NAVTEQ uses in its India map. Also, to cater the unique needs in the country, NAVTEQ has state-of-the-art R&D center in Mumbai and a sales office in India.

How a developer can contribute to boost LBS ecosystem in this country?

There are number of ways. Firstly, there are some Indian companies, who may have necessary technology. Developers can approach them to build some thing unique on top it. And there are companies who probably want to buy the technology or content to which developers can target. In fact, I strongly believe this could accelerate content portfolio of companies like us in the Indian market specifically. Thirdly, developers can leverage the products we offer to develop some innovative solutions to cater the needs of genre of customers like device makers such as Nokia, Samsung, (Sony Ericsson) or mobile operators or enterprises. Developers can even build solutions for the world market as well.

Five years down the line, how you see the growth of LBS in India?

My hypothesis is that lesser the infrastructure and lacks of the transparency, greater the demand for LBS. If the services are made affordable leveraging variety of models including targeted advertisement model or any other, people will love to buy such services, as it will of highly useful for them. As India becoming more mobile centric with increase in the city centric population, people want to fed and subscribed to such services that are very specific to their ethnic background, family situation, job profiles, the hobbies, social networks, which all impacted by location. In this context, India poses huge opportunity for LBS to grow.

What are the challenges?

I see two major challenges in India but they are the global challenges as well. First is service discovery. There is a lot of noise out there in the market with plenty of applications, solutions and services available. How a customer will get to know about a solution, which is much relevant to his needs? How will you make the services to be used by even a farmer who just uses his mobile receive and make calls? I think this is going to be a major challenge.

Second one is how will you create the stuff that is (solutions that are) cost effective? With major portion of the mobile subscribers are poor in India, having less than a dollar balance in their mobiles. It’s not an easy to increase the penetration in this segment of the market and obviously it requires innovative business models to capture the segment. Some approaches I’d like to highlight are making low-end devices GPS enabled, adopting advertisement based models to make services free, offering diversity of experience and delivering the value could be the way to attract most customers. These apply to all emerging markets.
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