Last Thursday evening, I had to drive to the Crown Plaza hotel in Nairobi. I had never been there before and the thought of navigating the rough roads of Upper Hill was slightly daunting. I figured I’d give Nokia Drive a try. As soon as I entered my destination, Nokia Drive had mapped out my route accurately, and even gave me 3D representations of local landmarks along the way. Being Upper Hill, the initial road that was mapped out for me was impassable due to construction, but Nokia Drive quickly rerouted an alternative map and I made it to my destination on time. That is the power of the Nokia location services ecosystem.
When Nokia purchased Navteq for 8 billion dollars in 2007, many thought that the Nokia board had lost the plot. Today it is a vaunted service that supports virtually all the Auto Manufacturers GPS devices, business such as Amazon. Nokia announced today at Mobile World Congress 2013 that all its location services would fall under the HERE brand, consolidating into a unified approach. The reason for this twofold:
- Anyone who has used Nokia Maps, Drive, Transport and City Lens on Windows Phone understands how all these services work in conjunction with each other. When we make decisions based on location, it often leads to several other decisions that require the same services. e.g. If I need a restaurant, I can Use City Lens to find which restaurants are closest to me, then I am seamlessly transferred into Nokia Drive for directions on how to get there.
- To improve its location services, it’s important for Nokia to move onto other platforms and as such, use the standalone brand HERE. This means expanding beyond mobile platforms into the web, enterprise and more. More users, means more aggregated location data, which leads to better services.
Nokia has already embarked with direction by offering HERE maps on iOS, signing a deal with Toyota Motors Europe to support location services for their connected vehicles, and now Nokia will now provide locations services for FireFox OS. Nokia has opened up its API to developers on all platforms to allow developers to use such innovations as augmented reality or 3D mapping (a feature gained from the recent acquisition of EarthMine). The HERE brand, demonstrates the significance that Nokia has placed on excelling in the location services space.
Visit Cape Town in 3D on HERE Maps. Hopefully we will get to see Nairobi mapped out in such detail in the near future.