Telematics Update interviews TomTom's Jocelyn Vigreux

Telematics Update interviews TomTom's Jocelyn Vigreux

Krystyna Grant: TomTom’s GO 740 LIVE caused a big splash at this year’s CES, what were the reasons behind deciding to release a connected device in the US?

Jocelyn Vigreux: For us, it’s about continued innovation. That’s what it’s all about. Looking back, we have made history in the category, by developing new features and devices to bring to the captive PND audience. As more people are jumping into the category, we felt it necessary to bring the next step in technology (a connected device) to the market. We are the foray in the US with such technology, and we are well versed in this technology as we introduced a connected device in Europe. Given its success, we felt it was time to bring it to the US so consumers would have increased traffic control and would be able to dynamically search content.

KG: What has been the initial reaction to your first connected US device?

JV: We announced the device at CES, and I have to say, the reception was very strong. It was a big honor to bring the ‘Best of CES’ award from CNET home. Also, our very good friends at LAPTOP looked at the 740 as what it is – a new revolution in PND technology; a new platform for technology.

KG: TomTom has made some very interesting partnerships with European carmakers i.e. the recent deal with Renault; do you have similar plans for the US market?

JV: We are very happy about the Renault deal. It is not only very important for us to be a positive leader in the PND industry, but also to parlay technology with serious car manufactures. Tele Atlas is busy making maps uniquely positioned for TomTom to play in the PND and automotive industry business. In the US we can’t disclose any further information on plans with carmakers. I can tell you, is that we have effort in North America and in Detroit specifically, to engage with US car manufacturers.

KG: TomTom devices offer several location-based services as standard i.e. fuel prices, traffic, weather; what other services have you developed to captivate the consumer?

JV: We need to be delivering the fundamentals. Traffic is certainly a fundamental service being developed and provided by TomTom. In addition, being a two-way device, the device can not only receive traffic information, but can participate in the creation of it. We continue to develop other services as well, such as Map Share, and IQ Routes. IQ Routes really brings the map to life and allows TomTom users to get routing depending on historical travel data rather than posted speed limits. This technology is a revolution in the navigation experience.

KG: How do you feel the Navigation and Location space will be affected by the economic downturn?

JV: It will be effected – no argument there. The propensity for consumers to go out and spend money is going down. The consumer is not out in full force, and we understand why. The navigation category as a whole, however, is still dynamic and of low penetration. We offer features with can significantly change lives and we see much room for growth in the US. We look at Q1 results, and there has been growth compared to Q1 of 2008. For us, this is a good way to look at the category and be quite optimistic that we will continue to grow in 2009.

KG: How do you envisage the navigation space developing in the next 5 years?

JV: The center of development will be the ability to communicate with a connected device. A lot of learning and developmental focus will come as we continue on the path of connected devices. Ability to communicate in a 2-way fashion will be absolutely central. It is important to understand that there is still a lot of learning to be done – Continued development of connected services is going to take a while. J

Jocelyn Vigreux is a key visionary in the car navigation industry and has played a leading role in evolving TomTom from a small organization into a global player. Vigreux’s key responsibilities as President of TomTom Inc. have focused on defining and driving the company’s North American business strategy and expansion as well as developing partner and retail relationships.

Jocelyn will be speaking on the openingkeynote of the Navigation & Location Track atTelematics Update's flagship showTelematics Detroit 2009,to see his session in full click here

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