To boost presence beyond just cellphones, Finnish handset maker Nokia has launched a new brand, HERE – a cloud-based location mapping application that can be used across screens and operating systems.
HERE, Nokia says, will play a key role in helping the company leverage the new mobile form factors in future. For, the map usage has increased by at least 75 per cent in the past two years, globally. Consumer and advertiser expenditure on location based services is likely to reach $6 billion by 2017 as estimated by Strategy Analytics.
Unlike Ovi that was launched a couple of years back, HERE will have a differentiated location experience.
The application comes with features like driving directions, live traffic view, satellite view, public transport line view and offline view, traffic congestion alerts, among others. Other features of the app include step-by-step voice navigation, navigation information through pedestrian routes, parks etc. The app also offers some public transit directions.
In some countries, Nokia would leverage on crowd sourcing, where community maps would be produced and updated by users, hinting at its push towards more user engagement with its services. Users can share places and locations with friends via SMS, email and social networks. They can also categorise places of interest into ‘Collections’ and access the same via Here.net.
HERE, a brand with a tagline – ‘Sensing the World’, will be present in more than 200 countries with live navigation facility in more than 100 countries. “In India, Nokia has already covered more than 4000 cities with specific details of more than seven million points of interest and 1.2 million roads,” says Vipul Mehrotra, director and head of smart devices, Nokia India. The app would be available in three Indian languages.
It also aims to capture 3D indoor mapping of all big places of interests, including the shopping malls with floor-wise details. Indoor mapping is almost done for the western countries, and Nokia is working on the same in India now.
Interestingly, HERE can be accessed offline without the live navigation facility. It will also address other connected devices – not just mobile phones but also tablets, connected cars, and wearables.
The application can be accessed through beyond Nokia Windows phones and also initially, other Windows Phone licensees, such as Samsung and HTC. That’s why Nokia will launch an application for iOS 6, a partnership with Mozilla to launch a mobile Web version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year, and an Android app and plans for the availability of a HERE SDK for Android in early 2013. “Location aware services represent the future of mobility. Our goal is to make HERE synonymous with location,” says Mehrotra.
However, Nokia handset user will get something extra. Users of Nokia’s Lumia will have City Lens – an augmented reality application that allows you to find out more about the shops, restaurants and other attractions near your area. “We constantly update the location details, adding more specifics and new routes every day with inputs from more than 80,000 official sources and all the people using Nokia maps on navigation,” says Mehrotra.
With HERE, Nokia aims to become the leader in cloud player, about five years after its acquisition of Navteq for $8.1 billion, followed by the acquisition of Earth Mind.
The application will also be available on Apple devices like iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Initially, Nokia would look at earning revenue from licensing of map content, especially to the automobile companies.
Later, it would look at advertisement, offering location-specific deal details to users depending on the time of location search, among others. Nokia also hopes that HERE has the potential to become a significant player for location mapping over the next 3-4 quarters, adds Mehrotra.