HERE Maintains the Location Platform Leadership, Ahead of Google, and TomTom in 2021

The tech industry is going through an “intelligent” digital transformation wave as data collected from the billions of connected fixed and mobile assets is converted into actionable intelligence and insights. However, all the intelligence is less useful without adding richer “location data” as context. The power of location when merged with the business and telemetry data is the new battleground and the mapping and location players are at the center of it transforming their offerings and business model taking a location platform-centric approach to address this massive opportunity.

This approach helps the traditional location and mapping data providers to share/license their location data and other location-reliant data from their partners using the marketplace in a very integrated and holistic way leveraging cloud technologies. Further, these players are building a robust set of modular platform capabilities to offer different services, development, analytics, and visualization tools to empower the developers to build powerful location-centric solutions. However, choosing the right platform is challenging for the enterprises, developers and which warrants a thorough evaluation and understanding of the vendor’s capabilities.

To help better understand the key location platforms’ capabilities and market trends, Counterpoint has released its latest edition of the Location Platform Vendor Scorecard report analyzing 25+ leading mapping and location platform vendors using our proprietary CORE (Competitive, Rankings & Evaluation) framework. This comprehensive and detailed evaluation is conducted based on 65+ key capabilities spanning across seven categories – maps data, location intelligence, location services, data platform, developer ecosystem, partners, and customer rolodex growth since our last update.

2021 Location & Mapping Platform CORE Scorecard Analysis:

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Evaluation 2021HERE continues to lead the location platform for the fifth year in a row by scoring the highest in our rankings. In the last 18 months, HERE has expanded its portfolio, platform capabilities partnerships and customer base handsomely to widen the gap with rivals leading across all the categories, setting a gold standard of an ideal location data platform for the technology industry. The vendor expanded number of products and services to differentiate its platform such as HERE Anonymizer, HERE Consent Manager, EV Routing, ISA Map and so forth.

Commenting on HERE’s pole position, Counterpoint’s Research Vice President, Neil Shah, added, “With a few years in making, HERE Platform has thus evolved into an industry-first and one-stop platform with infrastructure and toolsets for companies to develop, license, and integrate first and third-party mapping, location intelligence data into their applications at scale. Further, help generate, analyze, visualize, and monetize the data using the same platform. HERE has become “Switzerland of location platform” with an open, neutral and privacy-centric offering compared to Google or other vertical players.”

Google is the second largest location and mapping platform provider globally behind HERE. Google scored well in terms of comprehensiveness, coverage, POIs, and freshness of the maps data and adding newer capabilities such as Augmented Reality in the consumer space leveraging with 3.5 billion Android users globally.

Commenting on Google’s evaluation, Senior Analyst, Prachir Singh, commented,” Google continued to focus on consumer with Android app developers and B2C enterprises mostly in retail, T&L space with logistics, O2O services players adopting Google Maps Platform. Google’s strength has been around POIs, location based services integrated with its advertising platform for businesses. Google has also ramped up number of platform tools this year for visualization and analytics to compete with Mapbox and HERE.

Google though still lags when it comes to automotive, enterprise sectors behind HERE, TomTom and regional champions in key markets. Google has been relatively slow to transform into a full-blown platform model despite in mapping usage.”

TomTom is the third largest player in our CORE rankings with growth in the mapping and location intelligence capabilities mainly targeting the automotive industry and other maps data licensing opportunities.

Commenting on TomTom’s competitiveness, Research Analyst, Mohit Sharma, noted, “TomTom launched a number of mapping and navigation products focusing on newer opportunities such as Electric Vehicle services, ADAS & HD Maps, Digital Cockpit for the new generation cars through new offerings such as Horizon and Indigo. Another area where TomTom has done well is cracking maps data licensing deals with marquee clients such as Microsoft (Bing & Azure Maps), Huawei, Apple, Carto and others expanding its reach and enriching its location data.

Within automotive and enterprise space it is becoming a two-horse race between HERE and TomTom, though TomTom still lags on a comprehensive location platform capability compared to HERE in terms of developer workspace, visualization tools, marketplace and so forth.”

CORE Rankings: Location Platforms – Key Customers & Partnership Relationships

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Customers & Partners Relationships Jan 2022Mapbox is one of the top five location platforms globally in our rankings building on its developer traction, advanced visualization, analytics tools and partnership roster. Mapbox also has been doubling down on its focus on automotive sector with launch of Dash to target the in-cabin cockpit experiences such as Navigation (lane guidance, live traffic, speed limits etc) Maps (instant updates), Search (voice, autocomplete, POIs), Apps (Music, companion) and Vision (Augmented Reality, ADAS and Monitoring) to expand newer opportunities with high ticket automotive OEMs.

Regional players such as AMap, Baidu Maps and Navinfo continue to lead in China. A-Maps saw the most comprehensive transformation to become one of the world’s top five location platforms despite presence mainly in China. Naver, Kakao and Tmap also developed leading edge capabilities though focusing on markets in S. Korea and around with limited geographic reach and ambitions. MapMyIndia, one of the leading maps providers in the world’s second largest market, India, have also expanded its capabilities and customer rolodex in run up to its IPO to go into a further growth mode. Similarly, Zenrin has strong footing in Japan and have partnered with number of global players including HERE to expand and integrate the offerings into newer verticals and geographies.

The rise of potential data platforms startups such as Otonomo, Carto and others are off to a good attracting a good set of customers and partners turning up the heat. Though, not owning the full stack of first party data, services like the big three makes them less unique and replicable and leave being just a competitive marketplace to exchange, integrate and analyze the location data.

  • HERE led in more than 40 capabilities including Maps Data depth, freshness, indoor maps, HD Maps, navigation, routing, EV services, tracking and positioning, developer support, platform privacy, security and so forth
  • Google led in overall maps data reach, coverage, depth, POIs, AR, Infotainment and so forth.
  • Tom Tom led in navigation, offline maps coverage, navigation and other areas.

Many more insights, evaluation, and analysis on the key platform players’ product offerings, business model, key focus areas, capabilities, major development partnerships, customer wins, and other parameters are captured in our comprehensive report which will be published on our portal.

HERE, Google & TomTom Continue to Lead Location Platform Landscape

HERE led the Counterpoint’s CORE evaluation of the location platform capabilities and effectiveness index widening the lead with Google and TomTom. Players such as Mapbox, ESRI, Telenav, Apple, NavInfo & Sygic are rapidly challenging the established platform players with unique and targeted capabilities.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – April 02, 2020

Counterpoint Research has completed its latest in-depth analysis using its proprietary CORE (COmpetitive Rankings & Evaluation) framework evaluating the leading 25 maps and location platform players on more than 60 capabilities and ecosystem success parameters over the last twelve to eighteen months.

As we have highlighted before, the tech industry is undergoing a huge transformation as map & location intelligence providers are moving to a platform-centric approach beyond just selling maps content and navigation solutions for use by automakers and device makers. New experiences are being enabled by combining location-centric intelligence and enterprise/consumer data. The platform approach helps these players to share/license their location data, services along with advanced  development tools and open partnership models with a wide spectrum of developers to help build powerful location-centric applications, services, and solutions. These platforms are becoming highly modular including rich maps data, location intelligence, analytics, development tools, and services leveraging cloud infrastructure licensed together or individually according to the developer’s needs.

Exhibit 1: Open Location Platform Approach A Winning Strategy

Counterpoint Open Location Platform Approach A Winning Strategy

This platform approach is being adopted by some of the key players, allowing them to not only offer advanced location services efficiently in a scalable way, but also to cater to different vertical applications and expand their total addressable market. The following are the rankings and scores for the top 25 location platform players in this study:

Exhibit 2: CORE Scorecard: Global Location Platform Rankings

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Evaluation 2019

Commenting on the findings, Vice President of Research, Neil Shah highlights, “HERE continues to emerge as the world’s leading and most comprehensive location platform in our evaluation. Over the last eighteen months HERE has widened its lead compared to the competition, developing end-to-end capabilities, a broader and deeper portfolio of offerings, a string of partnerships and a large number of customer wins. The open and industry-neutral platform approach, along with advanced tools and effective developer evangelism has helped HERE catalyze the platform adoption as all-round monetization kicks in.

Mr. Shah, further adds, “Google has been more focused on consumer-centric location experiences directly (B2C) or indirectly (B2B2C) which directly aligns with its ad-driven business model. This is where Google, despite having a richer map data and location intelligence thanks to its billions of active Android users, is behind the competition such as HERE, TomTom, ESRI or Telenav when it comes to attracting enterprise (B2B) and automotive customers.

Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst, Prachir Singh, highlighting TomTom’s competitiveness, adds, “After selling its telematics business a year ago, TomTom has been more focused on acquiring marquee customers and attracting developers such as Huawei, Microsoft, and Verizon. TomTom has been focusing on developing extensive capabilities from HD Maps to services for Electric Vehicles to 3D Landmarks and so forth to compete with Google and HERE. TomTom’s partner and customer development has been robust and scores well in our evaluation.”

Mr. Singh, further adds, “Mapbox has done well over the years to climb to the fourth spot in our rankings with attractive offerings and pioneered visualization toolkits to help developers build beautiful maps. Mapbox has done a great job of evangelizing app developers to embrace its location platform to build unique location-centric experiences. It nicely addressed the developer’s pain points and built a platform around its visualization tools. We are seeing other players also beginning to offer similar tools for 2D/3D visualization to build attractive layered maps and digital twins, but with richer map data, thus competing for this segment head-on with Mapbox.”

The need for high levels of capital investment has shaped the competitive landscape, we see very few global-scale leaders as they have to keep their maps and location data fresh which is a herculean task. There is a long tail of regional champions such as Zenrin in Japan, NAVER & Kakao in S.Korea, MapMyIndia in India, Yandex in Russia, NAVINFO, Autonavi (AMaps) and Baidu in China and Navitel in Eastern Europe. Then, we have emerging leaders that are looking to offer maps and location platforms at global-scale but licensing maps from the leaders such as HERE, TomTom or using OpenStreetMaps (OSM), these include Apple, Microsoft (Bing & Azure Maps), Sygic, TELENAV and ESRI.

Commenting on the key regional location platform providers, Senior Analyst Ethan Qi adds, “Chinese mapping giants such as NAVINFO, Autonavi (AMaps owned by Alibaba) and Baidu have been dominating in the China market. These players also have a significant breadth of customers and partners, from automotive, to enterprises, to consumer-facing devices and applications, helping them build robust location intelligence platforms. They have also struck important partnerships with global location platform players such as HERE, TomTom, Telenav, Zenrin, Mapbox, and others to help their customers scale globally.

Mr. Qi, further adds, Apple Maps has hundreds of millions of users and we look forward to Apple further improving its maps to the level of its competition. Apple Maps has been working hard to become self-reliant and build maps in-house rather than just depend on sources such as TomTom or OSM. It has done well starting with its North America maps, though keeping it fresh and dynamic requires more of a horizontal partnership approach than vertical. Emerging leaders such as Telenav have strengthened their position in mobility space with a healthy roster of customers in automotive and shared mobility space especially in North America for their platform offerings from OpenTerra tech, connected car and in-vehicle commerce.”

Some key findings from the research:

  • HERE leads in more than 40 capabilities out of the total 60+ criteria, including Indoor Maps, HD Maps, Geo-Coding, Traffic, Tracking & Positioning, Openness, Marketplace, etc
  • Google leads in data geographic depth, reach, POIs, 3D content and so forth.
  • TomTom leads in offline maps coverage, EV service, while Mapbox leads in Visualization tools, Telenav in connected car infotainment experiences, Sygic leads in-app travel planning, driver safety Augmented Reality experiences integration, etc.
  • ESRI is the third-ranked player when it comes to overall parameters through building a robust developer ecosystem in the location platform space.

Many more insights, evaluation, and analysis on the key platform players’ product offerings, business model, key focus areas, capabilities, major development partnerships, customer wins, and other parameters are captured in this report and available for download here.

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