Is connectivity the key to continued profits for the PND?

Is connectivity the key to continued profits for the PND?

A new statistic from ABI caught my eye today. ABI has said that studies suggest 34% of all PNDs from firms including Magellan, Mio, TomTom and Dash will ship with onboard connectivity by 2013.

ABI has very kindly provided us with their 'connectivity in navigation' whitepaper, and I've included it amongst many other insightful whitepapers, reports and articles in a report portfolio that you can download absolutely free. Click here to get it!

We've long been advocates of connectivity in navigation. Personally, I just think it's so much more exciting. I want to know what's happening right now all around me!

But, moreover, it seems to be increasingly apparent that connected navigation will be a critical success factor in the transformation of the navigation business model towards service and content provision. Only those companies that understand and implement this new strategy and model will emerge as the true winners in the navigation ecosystem.

From the consumer perspective, I think PND connectivity is one of those things that we need to have before we realise how important it really is.

Take the PC and the Internet as an example. When computers were not connected (if anyone can remember back to those dark days…!) I was perfectly happy going about my business with the PC – writing a word document here and there and occasionally playing a game of solitaire – basically, not realising how connectivity would blow open my computing experience. Now I can't fathom how I even lived without the web! If you took it away, the computer would suddenly seem so limited and unappealing.

I can really see the same happening with navigation. How could you ever go back to just turn-by-turn navigation when there's a whole world out there to discover? You would be master of the road, all-knowing and all-seeing. Nothing would escape you.

Furthermore, for the navigation players there are great profits to be made. New revenue streams will be created. Subscription services and feature bundles will both play a part in generating new profits.

But with eroding prices and increasing navigation competition, it seems that the real importance lies in differentiating your product and standing out from the crowd. Compelling services are now essential in giving a navigation product that edge. And the justification for high-end devices would also be stronger and clearer. Distinctions between device ranges would become clear and high-end devices marketed more compellingly.

And let's not forget advertising revenues … real-time content and a user's location bundled together? Advertisers are salivating at the prospect!

In short, it seems that connected devices could secure continued profits in the navigation segment.

PND connectivity seems inevitable, but we are just starting out on this navigation adventure. But with increasingly tech savvy consumers and a maturing market the transition to the next generation is definitely starting.

Connectivity will be a key issue at Navigation and Location Europe 2008. I think it's important to address the issues from all perspectives. Thus, it's good to know that players will be present from the in car, PND, mobile, content and mapping worlds.

To see the how connectivity will be addressed, and who will be talking about it, at Navigation & Location Europe, see the full agenda here.

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