The future of GPS navigation in India is platform-agnostic

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Aug 23 2014, 08:18am hrs
The future of GPS in India will see two major usage platformsGPS tracking and connected navigation. This platform includes connected devices built for in-car navigation and tracking, and OEM fitted/after-market navigation and tracking solutions, says Rakesh Verma, managing director, MapmyIndia. In an interaction with FEs Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that MapmyIndia is in talks with various car companies to see how best they can leverage its GPS devices and make them available to end-consumers. Excerpts:

MapmyIndia recently joined the Inc India 500 club. How important is this achievement for you Can it give MapmyIndia brand popularity across the globe

Any credible recognition is a booster-shot for a brand. I strongly feel that Inc India 500 certification would further enhance the equity of MapmyIndia both within India and across the world.

How big is the threat to standalone GPS products (made by companies such as MapmyIndia) from smartphones that have in-built GPS technology

All standalone GPS navigation devices are getting internet-enabled. While a lot of smartphones have in-built GPS technology, the demand for connected GPS navigation devices is also increasing. We are responding or rather pre-empting the upcoming trends and introducing newer and better solutions across all platforms. Therefore, as a company, we dont feel that the rise of the smartphone or any new platform is a threat; rather it is an opportunity for us.

More GPS-enabled smartphones also mean more opportunities for your maps getting used on those phones. Isnt it

Yes, as more GPS-enabled devices are being launched, our maps are being increasingly consumed in the form of our suite of SNT (social, navigation and tracking) mobile apps such as NaviMaps, Locate, ReachMe and Explore.

Are your maps free or have a cost attached to them

Our maps have always been free, be those on the web, on mobile or on standalone devices.

You recently introduced the Smart Mirror for cars. How well has this product been taken Are you also in talks with car companies to introduce the Smart Mirror as a company fitment

Smart Mirror has been well received in the market and gave us the confidence to launch more such innovative devices. We are currently in talks with various car companies to see how best they can leverage our devices and make them available to the end-consumer.

Today GPS is being offered as a standard feature by almost all car makers in their high-end models. Does this affect your business

This, in fact, is an opportunity for us. Because this means our maps are being loaded in more and more cars.

The government has been talking about making GPS mandatory in public transportation

The government has been talking about this for quite some time and GPS has been successfully adopted in some areas or institutions. This is a an opportunity. We are consistently engaging with all the leading transport companies and related government institutions across India.

What kind of growth is the automotive GPS navigation market seeing right now

Even though the growth in GPS navigation hasnt been up to our expectations, what is clear is that GPS-based vehicle tracking and navigation has huge growth potential.

Where does the future for GPS navigation companies lie, selling standalone devices or tying up with auto companies for in-build GPS devices

The future of GPS in India will see two major usage platformsGPS tracking and connected navigation. This platform includes connected devices built for in-car navigation and tracking, and OEM fitted/after-market navigation and tracking solutions. I think the future of GPS navigation in India is platform-agnostic. And thats how MapmyIndia as a company has evolved. We are reaching out to the consumers on their own preferred platform.

What sort of technology-sharing automobile companies have with GPS navigation companies

We are already working with many car manufacturers in India. A particular manufacturer taking just maps or maps along with software or hardware depends on multiple factors. These include how are the processes aligned internally and externally, and do they have an internal software development capability or is it outsourced. If it is to be outsourced, then what does the relationship encompass It can also be the case that the company needs software solutions or just our maps; this depends on their individual needs. But we are open to engaging the Indian automobile industry at any level.

India is a dynamic country. New roads, highways and landmarks are built regularly and older roads get additional roundabouts, lanes and one-ways. How do you cope with such changes

Map-making is a dynamic process. The product needs to keep evolving with time else it will become obsolete. We have maintained a leadership position in digital maps, GPS navigation and location apps categories across retail and enterprise segments because we have been continuously working towards improving/updating our product offering. Helped by a dedicated team of engineers and technicians who are supported by over 400 surveyors scouring the Indian landscape for new developments and changes, we have been able to create the countrys most comprehensive, accurate and rich map data. We keep on launching new map versions to keep current with the changing geography of India.