Industry Leading Event Aims to Answer the Question - Where is Navigation Going?

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On December 5 and 6 in San Jose, CA, navigation industry leaders will meet at Telematics Update’s Navigation USA 2006 conference to discuss which companies will be making the most money from consumer navigation services in the long term.

On December 5 and 6 in San Jose, California, navigation industry leaders will meet at Telematics Update’s Navigation USA 2006 conference to discuss which companies will be making the most money from consumer navigation services in the long term.

Consumer navigation has seen massive market expansion in the last two years, and many industry analysts predict healthy future growth through 2010 and beyond. While it is clear that there is a market for navigation services, it is not clear which devices people will use and which companies they will subscribe to.

“More and more companies are trying to capitalize on the current navigation boom and move into the Portable Navigation Device (PND) market,” says Ven Pedro of Telematics Update “But, if I were a PND maker, I’d be worried right now; in my opinion they’ve had only two things going for them in the last two years – novelty and price.”

But, although top consumer electronics companies and traditional in-car system makers like Sony, Philips, Delphi and others are now releasing new PND devices, these companies may have missed the window of opportunity, and are entering into an already saturated market. In addition, there are hundreds of new start-ups releasing devices with last year’s high-end features, such as text-to-speech and real-time traffic – at really low prices – which is not a good sign for the industry’s big players.

“Long-term success in any industry is never achieved by competing solely on price,” said Pedro “PNDs are trying to overcome this by going multi-functional, which is fine as an additional benefit but is not a valid unique selling point. No-one will choose a PND instead of an iPod to listen to music.”

PNDs have had great marketing and advertising campaigns, and while the market leaders are now household names, brand recognition in itself doesn’t sell. The argument is that the market for PNDs is now tapped out, and there are not many first-time buyers left for these products. Will existing customers upgrade to new PNDs? Probably not; if they want a more sophisticated experience they will most likely look to an embedded system. Many people who are slightly tempted by navigation services will be more likely to try them on their cell phones than a dedicated nav device. This is why many experts agree that, going forward, smartphones and embedded systems look to be a in a stronger market position.

The simple fact is that route finding is just not sexy enough for people to get emotionally involved with their devices. They’re not like MP3 players, video games systems and phones – when new systems are released, they are desirable not just for their functionality but also because they are cool, and because people define themselves through these devices. PNDs don’t have that impact, and, if there are other ways for people to get routes for the same cost in the future, people will use them. For that reason, PNDs may well go the way of the car phone.

The ever increasing sophistication of technology promises a future where consumers can have access to personal navigation solutions that far surpass today’s systems and offer a host of additional location based services. There will be a large market for these services, and the companies that start planning their future strategies now will be the ones most likely to find their niche and capture their share of tomorrow’s market.

Telematics Udpate’s Navigation USA 2006 conference has been created as a platform for visionary companies to plan for the future. To learn more about the conference, visit: http://www.telematicsupdate.com/info/96

Conference speakers include: DaimlerChrysler, Panasonic, NAVTEQ, Mio, INRIX, Cingular, Motorola, Spring, PTV and more.

About Telematics Update Magazine:

Telematics Update provides a free print magazine, weekly e-newsletters and business information for senior executives with an interest in wireless automotive technologies: Telematics Update has been organising leading business conferences in the USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific since 2000.

Visit http://www.telematicsupdate.com for more information.

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