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Navigation Trends 2014: How to Finally Get Your Car Connected

Navigation

The global navigation trends of the last few years have shown a strong and obvious shift towards integrated, built-in navigation solutions in car dashboards. Solutions on Personal Navigation Devices (PND) are continuously losing their popularity on matured markets. While smartphone navigation is still wide-spread, the needs are leaning towards integrated car solutions.

The focus is unquestionably on the automotive navigation market now, where new players have been entering and are still about to enter, answering the growing demands that go beyond “simple” aftermarket or factory-fitted solutions. A recent trend dominating the navigation industry is the Connected Car concept, which aims at improving the driver’s user experience. The Connected Car idea comes with several different approaches, represented by the major players of the industry who are forming and perfecting their offerings still these days. As a result, navigation trends of 2014 are not expected to significantly differ from the previous 1-2 years; connectivity still remains in the focus, while a popular approach is to enable online services by integrating the smartphone into the car environment.

Major solutions providers (including NNG with its iGO Navigation software) have introduced connected and/or integrated solutions in 2013, which mostly highlights how connectivity in the car plays an important role not only in gathering and processing location data but in increasing the user’s experience with up-to-date and reliable navigation software.

Other players have entered the connected car competition by bringing the Android OS into the car (NNG again is part of this movement as the company’s solutions are able to cover all possible platforms used in the automotive industry). The reasoning behind the usage of Android is that millions of people around the globe are already familiar with the Android system and use it every day on their smartphones. As a result, encountering the same system in their cars would give drivers a familiar feeling, therefore, allow easy usability and the freedom to focus on the road ahead… It remains to be seen if OEM-s give in and allow themselves to be limited to Google’s Android, or if they insist on their independence to innovate further in order to launch new and not-yet-seen solutions.

Apple in the same way wants to be part of the connected car game too, also working on bringing their iOS into the car. However, they are expected to face the same problem as Google: will car manufacturers choose the iOS just because it’s popular and attractive to users and has a highly-valued brand in the smartphone industry, or will the industry refuse to lose control over the operating systems in their cars in order to differentiate and offer different services (more extensive service than iPhone capabilities)?

Focusing on solving the main issues of the automotive industry – independently of OS preferences, hardware capabilities and smartphone entertainment options, NNG has taken a big step forward in shaping the Connected Car market. Its NavFusion technology enables real solutions to cost-efficient online services in the car, and an easy solution to map updates (the number one request of end users). NavFusion connects the driver’s smartphone navigation with the in-dash software, synchronizing the personal content, latest maps and the smartphone’s data connection on both units. If the user, conveniently located in a wireless zone, purchases fresh maps on his smartphone, the next time he sits into his car, NavFusion will update his in-dash maps automatically in the background – offering him optimal user experience by allowing him to drive with an updated navigation software in his car’s large-screen headunit.

Car manufacturers and end-users have various demands and requirements; they need solutions tailored to their geographic regions, their brand, interface expectations, technical capabilities and more. The different types of solutions available on the global market all seem to have a reason for existence trying to meet these different requirements. NNG focuses on bringing their always improving, heavily localized, high quality navigation solution to the car, combined with all the above mentioned third party services on demand.

The final decision of which service and solution is the winner, lies with the end user. The car maker can only try to anticipate what the user wants and needs. It remains to be seen which OS, which navigation solution, which smartphone integration model and service proves to be successful in the future car.

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Peter Bolesza

Mr. Peter Bolesza is the Vice President of Eastern Europe and Emerging Markets, NNG LLC.

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