Nikhil Kumar, Country Head, India, HERE Technologies explains the growing relevance of location intelligence and his company’s strong positioning in that domain
What are the solutions and services in the Here Technologies’ portfolio?
HERE Technologies is a leading open location platform/company, that enables people, businesses and cities to harness the power of location. In other words, we help clients make sense of the world around them through the lens of location, we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets, to guiding drivers to their destination safely. We are primarily, a Business-to-Business (B2B) mapping technology provider and have created some of the most advanced digital maps for the automotive industry globally, with 100 million cars getting its maps and content from us since 2010.
On the other hand, we are also focused on building a large and comprehensive set of places of information on maps that can be translated and transliterated, along with minutiae and point addressing that helps driver, passengers and customers alike. Over the last three decades, we have steadily built our legacy in mapping technology, across the world and today have the distinction of creating dynamic, three-dimensional maps breathing with layers of information and insights.
In 2019, investors like Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) of Japan, joined our investor repertoire. Some of the marquee brands we work with include names such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, HyundaiMnSoft, Tech Mahindra, Verizon, Esri, Alibaba, Baidu and Toyota. We also actively work with central governments and public sector clients across the world.
What is the GTM strategy that Here follows in the Indian market?
From a business perspective, India is a key market for us, both in terms of innovation and business opportunities. With already a strong India presence, which drives a substantial part of our global R&D initiatives, we are confident of creating products for a global audience locally. The adoption of cloud analytics and location-based services are picking up pace, across sectors and we intend to expand our growth curve across:
- Fleet management, Transport & Logistics
- Public Sector
- Manufacturing and Supply chain
- Healthcare and citizen services
Besides this, strategic partnerships are extremely crucial for us to drive our business growth. We are always looking to explore strategic partnerships which enable us to expand our global and regional footprint, through their expertise and local market-oriented insights.
From an employee perspective, we have a solid workforce of about 4,000 employees in India with offices in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi. The team looks after all global tech innovations and content engineering. Some of the programs generating map content in India are- Nav Map Processing, Highly Automated Driving, Quality and Supply Management among several others.
To promote geospatial engineering and from an innovations standpoint, we are committed to providing the right platforms for budding developers and spatial technologists to learn more about and explore a career in the geospatial industry. In 2019, we collaborated with Symbiosis Institute of Geoinformatics to further spatial analytics in India. In March this year, we signed an MOU with the Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge, a state government entity formed to converge efforts of Telangana government, academia, and industry players to train and upskill the youth. This was undertaken for HERE to support the training of technology graduates on mapping and location technology.
What are the key focus verticals from where Here has maximum traction? What are the use cases in these verticals? How does the Here WeGo Deliver tool benefit SMEs?
With an established legacy in the mobility market, automotive industry continues to be a key growth driver. Globally, HERE has partnered with key brands to provide advanced mobility digital solutions. For instance, last year, we tied up with Ford forHERE Hazard Warnings service to powerLocal Hazard Information for the Ford Puma and other Ford vehicles. In turn, Ford provides vehicle sensor data to HERE for development of its Connected Vehicle Services. Earlier this year, we partnered with Deduce Technologies, to provide accurate information about Indian roads and traffic conditions. The partnership is expected to enhance HERE’s existing Real-Time Traffic solution that identifies traffic congestion areas and its reasons by delivering high quality flow and incident content every minute.
In the wake of the pandemic, markets such as public sector, governance and supply chain are other focus areas for HERE. From a public sector standpoint, HERE partnered with UNL to provide a solution- Human Care App which provides an infrastructure for a tech—driven shift to a new normal by accelerating the information flow and collaboration between people, governments, NGOs, and businesses to co-create safer public environments powered by location and data.
In the supply chain sector, HERE WeGo Deliver is a free route optimization delivery app, for Indian SMEs, and transport and logistics companies to help them implement their own simplified and efficient delivery services during the increased demand amidst COVID-19. Since its launch this year, we have approximately 15, 000 users, where SMEs are implementing their own simplified and efficient delivery service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows businesses to plan and dispatch a delivery service without software development or implementation costs. The app optimizes each delivery route and sequence. Drivers can receive their delivery route by email, which automatically opens and populates the delivery route end points in the HERE WeGo mobile app to provide voice-enabled navigation. At a time where deliveries had increased, delivery personnel needed to be managed remotely. Using this app, companies could allot delivery schedules, location, and sequences.
Other markets that offer us an opportunity to grow are, the ones that are seeing an enhanced demand for digital transformation of businesses, such as transportation & logistics and fleet management.
Who are your marquee customers and what are their use cases?
Some of the marquee brands we work with include names such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Tech Mahindra, Verizon, Esri, Alibaba, Toyota, Fujitsu, Bosch, SAP, Mitsubishi Electric just to name a few.
For the automotive, mobility, fleet management, transport & logistics sector, HERE has a robust suite of cutting edge, deep-tech products. Some of them are:
- End-to-end solutions for connected vehicles, in-vehicle infotainment, and autonomous driving
- Location services products such as geofencing, custom routing
- Industry leading maps sporting over 900 attributes, powered by millions of data sources
- Fast and accurate global tracking and positioning
- Traffic products to map, analyze and predict real-time road traffic
- Smart mobility marketplace for fleet and transportation services
In case of public sector, we work with central and local governments on the following 5 areas:
- Federal use cases
- DOIT + Smart transportation
- Smart cities
- Emergency response
- Network planning
What is the market size and scope of location intelligence and mapping in India?
Location intelligence, especially in a post covid-19 world, is becoming an integral part of business processes and our lives. Since the pandemic, geospatial data, and technologies, have played an important role in managing its outbreak; and its role will be paramount as the world reopens to a new ‘normal’. As per industry estimates, the Indian geospatial industry, currently stands at $4 billion and is expected to grow to $20 billion market by 2025.
For us, India is a key market, both in terms of innovation and business opportunities. The adoption of location-based services is picking up pace across sectors like- fleet management, transport & logistics, public sector, manufacturing and supply chain, healthcare, and citizen services.
What are Here’s unique differentiators over the competitors?
“Location” is the key to solving many real problems such as 1) travelling from point A to point B 2) Search as a point of interest 3) industry specific problems such as in transport and logistics, fleet management, public sector, manufacturing, supply chain, and automotive. HERE Technologies’ open location platform and HERE’s product portfolio are addressing such specific requirements by industry segment to deliver the best experiences.
Additionally, when we talk to our customers, we offer assets – a map, a platform, service, or application – that helps them build and grow their business. Our customers know what they are getting when they work with us. We are not looking to monetize the data of customers’ customers.
How has Here’s location services helped sectors like transportation and logistics especially in the pandemic situation?
The transport & logistics sector is one of the key focus areas for us at HERE. We provide enterprise-grade maps, technical and professional services to companies in the sector. Like most sectors, even this one was impacted negatively by the pandemic and subsequent nation-wide lockdowns. The need for technological assistance for business continuity became crucial and among the emerging technologies, location intelligence and spatial technologies were crucial for fleet management, first and last mile optimization, scheduling deliveries based on driver locations, route optimization and driver safety, among other things.
What are the challenges in predicting real time traffic especially in Indian roads?
India is a huge country, both geography and population wise. Slow growth in infrastructure and poor internet connectivity in some areas, compared to rise in number of users and vehicles poses a unique challenge. Put together, these two are the most important criteria to manage traffic congestion and inform/update travellers to take different routes to avoid congestion and save time. However, the seamless unavailability of these create practical difficulties in maintaining Intelligent Transport Management Systems (ITMS) within metropolitan and smaller, remote towns.
What are going to be Here’s key focus areas for the next 12-18 months?
The key focus areas for HERE will be on companies in sectors like transport & logistics, fleet management, manufacturing, public sector & governance, and supply chain, among others. The adoption of cloud analytics and location-based technologies is picking up pace across these sectors, so we will also focus on expanding our partnerships in these sectors.