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Netw Case Analysis 3

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By Nish1627
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1. Why have Personal Navigation Devices become popular? What technologies are required to facilitate the success of PNDs?

A PND uses a GPS signals to determine the device’s location and display it on a digital map. Additional software brings features such as routing, driving conditions, suggested directions, ETA, interactivity, etc.

The main features of PNDs that made them popular were convenience and accuracy of information. Before PNDs, to navigate one would need paper maps. Paper maps can become quickly outdated and cannot show current location. Users would have to know their locations in order to manually calculate a route to destination. A PND calculates the current location by triangulation of GPS signals and software calculates a route based on multiple criteria (fastest or shortest route, traffic conditions, etc).

As the technology evolved, more features were packed in PND such as POI (points of interest). While a paper map can aid in manually generate a route to known destination, it cannot help finding a POI of which location is unknown to the user.

2. Who are some of the leaders in PNDs? What are the likely factors that will contribute to winning in this marketplace?

If we are talking about dedicated PND, the market leaders are Garmin, TomTom and Magellan. However, if we are looking at the total number of GPS enabled devices that provide navigation features, then the combined sales of Samsung, Motorola, HTC and Nokia devices make the others’ position on the market just an insignificant detail.

When Google announced that turn-by-turn navigation will be available for the free Google Maps, TomTom shares lost 20% of their value and Garmin’s 16% (Wortham Jenna, 2009) showing that consumers were awaiting for the convergence of smartphone features with those provided by a PND.

I think it is very unlikely that there will be a market for dedicated PND. GPS is already a given in almost any smartphone regardless of manufacturer or carrier. Personal navigation will also become a baseline feature. I have yet to find a competitor to Google Maps that is worth the switch but eventually GPS/Maps/Navigation will be used as a framework for further differentiation such as location based augmented reality.

3. What will be a likely future for PNDs?

Their certain (not likely) future is that they will just disappear from the market as they will not be able to compete with convergent devices such as smartphones or in-car navigation systems that provide more features to the user than a dedicated PND can. Google NAV is better than any dedicated PND out there due to the fact that it is free, accurate, and always up to date and can provide additional information based on collective intelligence (traffic patterns). It is very possible that dedicated PNDs will always have a better GPS sensor due to larger form factor and dedicated purpose but the cost of the inconvenience of carrying two devices around (a smartphone and a PND) will not warrant purchasing a PND. Users will continue to get GPS capability by purchasing a must-have device, smartphone, and as the navigation software and GPS accuracy on those smartphones improve, PNDs manufacturers will have less and less arguments for convincing consumers to get yet another device.

It is possible that dedicated PND will remain relevant for some time in certain niche markets such as navigation for trucking (avoiding certain routes such downtowns and roads closed to truck traffic is not yet a feature in most if any smartphone navigation software), off-road, backpacking. However, since these are just features provided by software and not hardware it is just a matter of time until we see them on smartphones making PNDs even less relevant.

4. Apply as many TCOs to Personal Navigation Devices as possible.

TCO A

Once for strictly military use, PNDs technology spilled over consumer market. These devices became more and more ubiquitous in the consumer market as their prices decreased, more features were added and became easier to use.

TCO C

PND manufacturers developed core competencies in GPS engineering that allowed them to provide products and solutions for different markets. While Garmin may never see the PND market too profitable due to competition form GPS enabled smartphones, they will remain a market leader in GPS devices for aviation and marine use.

References:

Wortham Jenna. (2009, October 28). Hurting rivals, google unveils free phone gps. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/technology/companies/29gps.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

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