With the navigation market hit by Google’s "free" bombshell, the main players in the Mobile, PND and Car navigation sector are gearing up for Navigation & Location US 09; the most important industry conference in the past five years.
November 3, 2009 — Organized by TheWhereBusiness, this year’s Navigation & Location conference in San Jose on December 1st – 2nd is where all the key players in the turn-by-turn navigation sector will meet to discuss the route forward for an industry shaken up by the power of "free".
OnStar, Nextar, Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, NIM, Nav&Go, Telenav and many more will be there to share their vision in response to "free".
In the past, turn-by-turn navigation service providers had to contend with the car manufacturing crisis, the rapid changes in map licensing and control, and, more recently, the swift invasion of their market by mobile phone navigation. Now the next battle is on our doorstep.
In a digital market "free" is unavoidable; as Chris Anderson says; you can only be free or compete with free. However, the speed at which turn-by-turn navigation has gone from a $2,000 car option to a $60 iPhone app to a free service has taken everybody by surprise.
Egil Juliussen, principal analyst at iSuppli who will present the latest trends and statistics for the whole navigation value chain at the Nav & Loc conference, says that Google’s announcement will have a tremendous impact on the navigation market as a whole, although initially its biggest impact will be on the US market.
According to Mike Flom, a consultant in the LBS sector, it will undoubtedly result in a dramatic increase in the number of GPS navigation users, particularly if Google decides to supplement its Android product by porting it to other smartphone OS like iPhone and Blackberry.
Nextar’s vice president Bob Sayles, who will present his perspective on the evolution of PND prices, features and channels to markets, doesn’t believe Google and its free navigation is going to take a lot of market share from PND manufacturers, but it will definitely hurt the smartphone navigation software providers.
"The industry will need to react quickly and make sure they get the balance between features, cost and target market absolutely right," says Sayles.
However, NIM’s vice president of marketing, Steve Andler, thinks otherwise, and questions whether a "brand new and completely unproven" map database should be used for a mission-critical function like real car navigation. "You can’t just put a bunch of smart programmers on this and assume that you’re going to have a stable, serviceable solution quickly," says Andler.
The navigation industry’s nervousness is understandable. Right now, given the effect of the announcement on TomTom and Garmin public stock prices, Flom suggests that Google’s GPS nav announcement may also have shaved 25-50% off the value of Telenav’s upcoming IPO.
Already a must-attend annual event for the location industry, this year’s Navigation & Location conference will enable navigation service providers, mobile device manufacturers and automotive players to decide on how to best defend their market. There won’t be a better time to look deep into the Navigation ecosystem and see how each player will come out of these exhilarating times!
You can see the updated agenda here: http://www.thewherebusiness.com/info/56