One of the bigger makers of maps and location services used in mobile phones and connected cars has now been taken over by a consortium of car makers. Today..
Sourced through Scoop.it from: techcrunch.com
I said back in 2013 that HERE needed the support of OEMs to get a critical mass of users of their solutions such as HERE Cloud and some decent functionality combining info from the ODB2 port in your car with information such as the location of your nearest petrol station to supplement their work in areas such as travel information.
It was looking very likely that the consortium would buy it and interesting that the financials for a 2.8 Billion Euro sale hinged on 300,000 Euros and ensuring that it didn’t create an industry monopoly.
I think this is a great positive step forward towards safer driving, intelligent transport systems and yes, also the autonomous car. Although brands such as BMW have been very clear that they don’t want to launch a driverless car which is safe 70-80% of the time. They have been working in this space for a long time, having developed safety features such as monitoring drivers’ eyes and reacting when the car starts drifting out of its lane.
I would sooner trust their advice than those who are trying to tell us that autonomous cars are 100% safe and the insurance companies are right behind them. I will be very surprised to see policies from insurance companies that don’t provide outs. The only way I can see insurance companies offering guarantees is if the car manufacturers are underwriting them, possibly the back story to this reversal. https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/autonomous-cars-shift-insurance-liability-toward-manufacturers-business-insurance/
Anyway, congratulations to Nokia, they have probably come close to getting their money back on what could have been a disaster business unit given the push from brands like Google into this space. It may generate opportunities to use their skills building mobile network infrastructure technologies, perhaps mesh networks to support V2V technologies.
I note they talk about not missing new technologies again and hints of trying to get back into the mobile space. That’s kind of busy right now and I fear that continuation with Windows Mobile or trying to design a phone to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung is a gargantuan task. It’s a long time since Nokia was a market leader in mobile telephony.
I’d like to see them leap the current technologies. There are markets for low cost devices still in places like Africa, which could be a good cash-flow opportunity for their planned purchase of Alcatel-Lucent, although that is probably also more about network technology.
I think we’re running out of excitement about increased resolution of screens and more megapixels from tiny smartphone cameras. Samsung is doing the VR thing which will get more people gaming again and with a bit of luck, finally open up Augmented Reality.
The question is what is the next step? Perhaps fitness and health? Loads of people will be getting Fitbit or similar products for Christmas this year. How about a wristwatch phone where the audio can be transmitted via your finger to your ear? Someone has to come up with the next form factor.
There remain lots of specialist opportunities like watches for people with health problems. I laughed when Casio brought out the G-Shock Muslim Prayer Watch. I couldn’t imagine there was a market for that. Apparently they sold over a million in the first couple of weeks. If Nokia produced a watch that did all the fitness stuff but also had the ability to do diabetes blood tests and transmit the results to a health cloud, which would provide feedback to the wearer. There were over 29 million people with diabetes in the USA in 2012 alone! That’s just one condition.
There are a huge number of opportunities as long as they focus on what they are good at and create new categories rather than try to compete in what are now quite mature markets. I don’t want a Windows phone and I’d be hard pressed to take on a Nokia Android. Why would I?
What do you think a mobile phone will look like in 5 years time?