An evolution of thought about the Indian navigation market

An evolution of thought about the Indian navigation market

One thing that strikes me about the global navigation and location marketsis the rapid pace of change.

It’s not only the products and technology that are in constant flux, but consumer demand and market strength also fluctuate considerably.

So, what about India? I’ve been looking at the market and talking to companies for around three months now, and, with the Navigation India conference on the horizon, I thought it appropriate to take another look at the original issues I put forward – especially in light of the current economic situation.

I’m going to look at two areas where I’ve seen an evolution in the situation:

1. Map data
2. Market/consumer demand

In the course of conducting my research, I’ve inevitably talked to more and more companies, who are either active or seriously looking at possibilities in the market, to further understand their aims/views.

Map data – (you can also refer to a previous blog on this subject) Considering, this was the absolute number one issue at the start of my research (and the issue that was supposedly holding things back the most), the situation is now almost rosy.

Obviously, MapmyIndia isa local player with an already very impressive market presence and penetration. The company's map data is constantly being updated, and, with its recent ‘Navigator 2.0’ release, 174 cities are now mapped out. Not bad!

But let’s not forget the big boys … Navteq is really going for it and, in all honesty, with their track record and the tools they have at their disposal you can expect a very high quality product. And let’s not forget that Navteq already has all the major India cities mapped, with Nokia exploiting this product in the market right now.

And, of course, Tele Atlas is in a great position. A new product launched in September has more than 108,000 POIs (with plans to add more) – nice!

Conclusion – India can be map happy!

Consumer demand/market status – Ok, globally it’s crunch time. Recession is looming in many countries and it's inevitable that consumer spending will slow. Companies worldwide need to protect profits and look to adapt their strategies.

(Personal rant – It’s annoying for all involved that the general scaremongering of the mass media has had a big impact on consumer spending itself. People have almost talked themselves into recession!)

Anyway, a few articles in the past week have led me to believe that things aren’t so bad for India – but obviously not great. (N.B – we are looking at consumer spending rather than stock market meltdown) Check out these two articles:

Anarticle yesterday in India’s Economic Timeslooks at who the consumers actually are in India (vital in all markets) and how badly they are affected.

Questions that need to be asked are: What are the real income hits? How is credit availability and price? What is the overall mood of the consumers in India?

The picture is nowhere as bad as we imagine, and the Economic Times stresses that ‘there may be opportunities to shore up market share or customer loyalty’ in these times. Never forget that companies can make big money in recession.

An article a couple of weeks ago in The Economist actually looks at how Indian companies can make the most of the current situation (more to do with acquisitions, but still interesting).

Outlook/prognosis – there is absolutely no denying a slow down in spending, but it may not be as bad as companies think. For navigation and location companies, pro-actively looking at the market and adopting business models is vital to continued profits and growth at this time. It's going to be hard for this maturing market, and companies seriously need to plan and ensure strategies/business models are absolutely spot on.

We're going to breakdown these issues at the Navigation India 2008 event andscrutinise the current climate. The big players are coming together on November 20th and 21st (every single major nav & loc company is now confirmed) to hammer out what the next steps forward should be for the industry.

Take a look at what they will be discussing in New Delhi and contact us for more information or go to www.telematicsupdate.com/info/714.


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