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HERE Directions 2020: Accelerating Digital & Business Transformation with Power of Location

HERE, the world’s leading location platform, concluded its annual summit – HERE Directions 2020 –  recently. The two-day summit, attended by the platform’s ecosystem of developers, partners and customers, gave a deep dive into how mapping and location data are driving innovations, newer experiences, and efficiencies for different applications across verticals.

Growing Traction as Monetization Kicks In

We have followed HERE’s journey from a mapping provider under Nokia to being a spinoff from Nokia to an acquirer of companies (including Medio and Desti) over the years to launching several offerings for building the HERE platform. We highlighted in our CORE (COmpetitive Ranking and Evaluation) framework for the world’s top 25 Location Platforms published earlier this year that HERE excelled in 40+ criteria out of the total 60 for Maps Data, Location Intelligence, Location services, Developer, Partner and Customer ecosystem. This was mainly due to its expanded offering, platform capabilities, ecosystem growth, and performance over the last 18 months.

During the summit, HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek elaborated on the expanded partnerships (like Ford, Inrix, Verizon and Zenrin), customer wins, developer traction (356,000 direct and 3 million+ indirect developers, 80 billion API calls), and the new investors (NTT and Mitsubishi) bringing shareholder diversification and showcasing HERE’s growing scale and mindshare in the industry. To add, HERE is ingesting and processing over 7 billion probe data points daily. Furthermore, HERE has already clocked more than Euro 1 billion of “new business” this year as the monetization has finally kicked in, with the last few years being spent in laying the building blocks for the now powerful HERE Platform.

HERE’s Offerings Go Broad & Deep:

At the summit, HERE showcased its three main offerings for the location ecosystem. The first one provides highly detailed, fresh, and a wider and deeper coverage of HERE mapping content for automakers, enterprises and consumers. The second offering showcased HERE’s growing bouquet of dynamic location content, intelligence and services, like for real-time traffic, HD Live Maps, HERE Hazard Warnings and road signs.

For example:

  • How USPS uses HERE’s real-time traffic solutions to optimize its routes to deliver mail across the US.
  • Fourkites enables global supply chain optimization by using HERE route algorithms for accurate ETAs for truckload shipments and enhanced visibility for its shippers.
  • Tie-up with Verizon to co-create a safety and navigation system, and power future location-centric 5G related applications for both consumers and enterprise.
  • Alam Flora in Malaysia using HERE APIs for geocoding to improve efficiencies in fleet management and redefine waste management.

The third offering showcases HERE’s multi-sided open location data platform, the HERE Platform, where developers can use sophisticated tools – “HERE Studio” in the “HERE Workspace” – to integrate the location data (HERE or a third party) into their apps, build unique location-centric algorithms, visualizations, analytics and solutions, and then exchange, buy or sell the location-based data, solutions or services using the “HERE Marketplace”, all on just one platform. So, the end-to-end platform allows developer to build location-centric applications or services with own, partners’ or HERE’s location data, and then put the application or service into production via the platform itself for internal use or even sell via HERE Marketplace to multiple other potential companies at scale, securely, and with accelerated time-to-market.

For example:

  • Ford uses the HERE Workspace to create, develop and scale location datasets and services for its driving assistance feature.
  • Mastercard data is now available on HERE Marketplace which can be used by retailers to combine it with other data, like on weather (AccuWeather), vehicle traffic volume and parking (INRIX), to plan future store locations.

The business model spans from licensing content and tools to an all-round neutral platform to create, collaborate, exchange and transact location centric-data, solutions or services.

Further, HERE’s location platform and offerings span across multiple verticals and use-cases. However,  key themes at this year’s Directions 2020 were – Supply Chain Optimization, Fleet Management, Urban Mobility, Public Safety and Connected Driving.

New SDKs Built Ground Up for iOS, Android and Flutter

Over the last couple of years, HERE has stepped up its developer evangelism efforts to promote its latest set of tools, big data modeling capabilities, self-serve capable developer portal, marketplace, and very attractive pricing plans via the HERE platform. During the summit, HERE introduced a new family of SDKs for iOS, Android and Flutter (build Android or iOS apps on a single code base) for developers, built ground up to ease the development, and accelerate and scale the deployment of their location-aware apps and services. These SDKs are available in three different editions – Lite, Explore and Navigation – to help build apps targeting basic to the most advanced use-cases integrating multiple HERE maps, navigation,  location intelligence content, services and a variety of developer features. This is a key launch to court more developers for a more comprehensive and open HERE platform away from the likes of Google, Mapbox and TomTom.

Key Takeaways from HERE Directions 2020:

  • HERE leaps ahead of the competition with its newest capabilities unveiled at HERE Directions 2020 across its open, secure HERE Platform to empower developers to “co-create” and “transact” anything which is location-aware.
  • HERE is seeing a good flow of partnerships and monetization kick in for its highly capable HERE Platform which it has been building for the last few years.
  • The monetization on the marketplace will be interesting to watch out.
  • HERE’s Developer strategy will be central to scaling the HERE platform, building further on the ongoing successful efforts.
  • HERE’s key focus verticals this year will be Auto, Transport & Logistics (T&L); Tech, Media and Telco (TMT); and Public Sector & Infrastructure (PSI).
  • In terms of regional focus, HERE is rapidly expanding into Asia Pacific with markets such as Japan, Korea and India as key to its strategy. The new investors – NTT and Mitsubishi along with other partnerships in these regions — should help HERE expand quickly geographically as well across key focus verticals such as TMT and PSI.
  • HERE has already great traction in automotive and enterprise (B2B and B2B2C) segments, and would love to see more offerings in the B2C world, directly touching consumers in the coming months and challenging Google, Apple and TomTom.
  • Great initiatives to build location-centric tools and offerings (like HERE WeGo Deliver) with partners quickly will help companies to adapt and optimize their processes amid the COVID-19 situation.

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Neil is a sought-after frequently-quoted Industry Analyst with a wide spectrum of rich multifunctional experience. He is a knowledgeable, adept, and accomplished strategist. In the last 18 years he has offered expert strategic advice that has been highly regarded across different industries especially in telecom. Prior to Counterpoint, Neil worked at Strategy Analytics as a Senior Analyst (Telecom). Neil also had an opportunity to work with Philips Electronics in multiple roles. He is also an IEEE Certified Wireless Professional with a Master of Science (Telecommunications & Business) from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.

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