Merging Mapping and Connectivity

Wireless Logic Group’s Business Development Director Jon-Paul Clarke explains the merging trends of mapping and connectivity within the M2M/IoT eco-system. An area that resellers should consider when talking to potential customers with both a connectivity and location platform requirement:

Mapping technologies are justifying their ‘one to watch’ status as the tech world turns its attention to the power of location, location, location. No longer just a physical description of a geographic space, mapping’s 21st century makeover increasingly centres on interpretation and analysis as connected devices sharing data on context and location communicate evermore complex spatial relationships.

The resulting intelligence and insight is being harnessed in a number of useful and imaginative services that enhance our daily routine from how we drive to work to making the morning coffee run an altogether slicker process. As ever, the challenge is to reap the optimal value from the opportunities.

As the two technology titans leading the market, the latest offering from Google Maps and HERE reflect the scope and innovation behind the traction. Backed by a consortium of German household names in the automotive sector and Intel, perhaps unsurprisingly HERE is cementing its status as a market leader in automotive mapping with geolocation data typically delivered by APIs over a cloud-based platform spearheading the next phase in digital driving, such as increased safety and driverless cars.

A notable area of use for the company’s map data centres is on plotting efficient and legal routes for trucking fleets particularly when carrying hazardous chemicals. The information transmitted covers every base from bridge heights and weight restrictions, steep hills and petrol stations to identifying routes in which explosive and flammable goods mustn’t be driven, all of which has a transformative effect on both safety and convenience.

And it doesn’t stop there. Renowned for the scope and quality of its speed limit data, the company is committed to evolving the capabilities of vehicle telematics, one of M2M world’s most mature and commoditized markets. Repercussions are set to be most acute for user-based insurance providers, who, fuelled by more tailored and intuitive intelligence, will be able to offer increased precision assessment and sophisticated risk models for policyholders.

Furthermore, adding an extra layer of value to basic tracking technology by enabling greater insight on driver behaviour can reap tangible rewards in terms of cost saving and a company’s reputation. Anecdotally, we are hearing how data used in this way can enable companies to devise league tables of their drivers to ensure they are not breaking the law or getting speeding tickets, a much-needed transparency which in some cases is halving the number of tickets received.

Not to be outdone, Google Maps’ minutely detailed street imagery is set to play a part in driving the wider adoption of automated cars, though here the focus extends more broadly to handheld devices. Adding location awareness to apps can breathe new life into the most pedestrian processes such as alerting the coffee shop on your way to work to when you’re seven minutes away so they can make a start on your latte.

While it may be at the other end of the spectrum from the kind of services boosting road safety, it does highlight how geolocation data will become more entrenched in our daily lives to meet the consumer’s seemingly insatiable demand for seamless anywhere, anytime service.

With the credentials around mapping technologies firmly established as a source of differentiation and added value, as ever the implementation can be a deal breaker if the full benefits are to be reaped. Adopting this technology comes with an inherent complexity as well as costs that can be traditionally prohibitive to many unable to fund the significant capital outlay involved. Consequently, a collaboration with a connectivity service provider such as Wireless Logic can provide a cost effective and accessible means of making mapping and location services on desktop and mobile devices a reality while avoiding the upfront expenditure and trial and error that is most likely to ensue without the right guidance or expertise.

For all the innovation and added value the technology represents, the success of mapping and location-based tools comes down to how data is communicated between devices and ensuring that transmission across the networks is seamless. As such, our role as a connectivity specialist providing a software platform for M2M/IoT devices represents an entirely logical hook up for customers who require connectivity services along with location-based services as part of their application.

The result is the ability to access an entirely consolidated service which combines M2M/IoT connectivity, device management with mapping platforms delivered by HERE and Google Maps all in one bundle for greater speed, efficiency and lower costs, a proposition that becomes particularly attractive to start ups and those dipping their toes into new territories. Furthermore, customers who take this route benefit from the expertise and consultative support from our insight and experience of both brands, whose specialities chimes with our own knowledge of the automotive sector.

Ultimately our journey to convey the potential of this technology and what is available from the APIs as well as demonstrating the return on investment is one that won’t stop until we’ve reached our destination.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine