HERE has launched its mapping application for iOS devices and with that has strengthened its position in Ovum's upcoming Location Platform Index. Previously, HERE had launched a consumer-facing mobile service for Android and Windows Phone, but was missing the crucial smartphone demographic of iOS users. After the iOS launch, HERE can now compete effectively in the consumer-focused mobile navigation space.
iOS launch bolsters HERE's position in Ovum's Location Platform Index
The location industry is gaining momentum as players set to battle it out in becoming the location platform of choice for both consumer and enterprise location-based applications. The battle between HERE and Google is especially fierce as they are both leaders in the field and strong contenders for the top spot in Ovum's Location Platform Index. In the previous edition of the Index, Google secured the top spot due largely to its wide consumer portfolio and extensive reach. HERE, which has a strong market presence, especially in B2B services, was hampered in the consumer market by traditionally only being available on the Windows mobile platform. However, the company has been ramping up its consumer-facing efforts over the past 12 months, first launching on Android, quickly followed by its iOS version. With three of the main mobile OS platforms now covered, HERE has significantly increased its addressable consumer base and with its strong mapping platform, can truly start to challenge the likes of Google.
Like the Android version, HERE's iOS navigation service offers offline mapping, along with the essentials of a navigation service, such as turn-by-turn directions, transit information, and local search. The company believes the offline mapping feature is a big differentiator as it increases customer satisfaction and saves on roaming costs while customers are traveling abroad, because HERE also has the largest geographic coverage among location platforms. As a next step, HERE should now aim to be the primary mapping application provider on iOS, by getting more iOS users than Apple maps, which is currently sitting in the challenger category in Ovum's Index, and then set its sights on Google in the consumer space. To achieve this, HERE needs to strengthen its brand in the consumer space, through increased direct marketing efforts and working with third-party developers, as brand recognition will play a key role in winning the consumer market.
Ovum expects some interesting changes in this iteration of the Location Platform Index, as all major platform vendors have upped the ante as location has found applicability across industries and services. In 2015, Ovum expects to see an accelerated use of location, not only in navigation services but also in areas such as smart home services and even communications. There will be widespread consumer and business adoption of location, which will lead to interesting use cases, especially in emerging services such as health and payments.
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Neha Dharia, Senior Analyst, Consumer Services