The technology required for navigation software and services has become more and more ubiquitous for consumers. Almost anyone with a smartphone has the technology, interface and sensors required for full navigation. Car manufacturers have also begun to build them into different parts of their own products. Ahead of the 6th Navigation USA event from TheWhereBusiness (January 25-26 at the Sheraton in San Jose), they spoke to Floris van de Klashorst, Director, Head of Nokia Automotive to see how mobile phone apps and navigation can work together in-vehicle.
by TheWhereBusiness correspondent Ritesh Gupta
Nokia has been focusing on improving the usability of services such as telephony, navigation, social networking and music in an automotive environment that will not distract drivers from the primary task of driving.
The company has been looking at ways to better integrate mobile devices and content into the car while keeping drivers focused on the road.
Earlier this year, Continental and Nokia chose to collaborate on a new concept that will enable drivers and passengers to seamlessly connect, display and control mobile phone applications via an in-vehicle dashboard display.
The timing of this tie-up is ideal, because smartphones and applications continue to proliferate in consumer culture. At the same time, drivers and passengers want to use their mobile phone applications, like free in-vehicle navigation, while inside the car.
However, as Continental points out, displaying navigation information on a small and static mobile phone screen while inside a car is the wrong human machine interface (HMI). The two companies teamed up to offer an enhanced in-vehicle experience by providing access to mobile applications via an automotive enabled HMI.
Following the introduction of Ovi Maps, the free navigation application available for most of Nokia’s GPS-enabled smartphones, Nokia has been exploring how it might better connect consumers to Ovi services and applications while they are inside a car.
Nokia and Continental are working together to integrate a new technology, called Terminal Mode, into the automotive and consumer electronics industries.
Once Terminal Mode technology is embedded into a mobile phone and an automobile, the consumer will be able to easily connect the mobile device to the car using a high-speed USB 2.0 connection. When the device is connected, content that is visible on the mobile phone screen will be replicated, visible and can be controlled via the in-vehicle display or steering wheel controls.
In order to learn more, TheWhereBusiness correspondent Ritesh Gupta spoke to Floris van de Klashorst, director, head of Nokia Automotive, Nokia, who is scheduled to speak at The Navigation Strategies USA conference, to be held in San Jose on January 25th –26th.
Ritesh Gupta: Can you elaborate on how Nokia’s new Terminal Mode concept is going to improve the usability of services such as navigation?
Floris van de Klashorst: Terminal Mode enables the seamless marriage of the best of both worlds: the applications on the phone and the assets of the car such as display, controls, and audio system. Consumers can use the phone-based applications through the systems, components and controls of the car – which are specifically designed for in-car use in all conditions. For instance, the user can control the phone without physically touching it, and can use the phone’s applications and services using the larger display of the car.
RG: Various automotive industry stakeholders have been focusing on sending a turn-by-turn route from the user’s mobile device to the vehicle. One of the major issues is that of distracted driving. In fact, Continental has pointed out that displaying navigation information on a small and static mobile phone screen while inside a car is the wrong HMI. How do you assess such developments from your company’s perspective?
FvdK: Terminal Mode addresses issues like driver distraction by moving the application experience from the phone to the car by invoking the car display and controls, which are specifically designed for in-car use. As a second step, an HMI that addresses car-specific requirements is something Nokia is working on with the automotive industry to further optimise the usage and experience.
RG: The in-vehicle environment seems to reflect the societal trend of “getting exactly what we want, when we want it”. According to the findings of a qualitative research commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association released earlier this year by G2 Marketing, fewer electronic devices in the vehicle is not foreseeable. Drivers are aware that they are not paying full attention to driving while speaking on a mobile phone, and see hands-free (Bluetooth) capabilities as the best solution. How do you foresee the utility of such services from a navigation perspective?
FvdK: It is important that we make the driver’s tasks as easy as possible – that covers the primary task of driving as well as any other secondary task we support. So implementing technologies that improve the user experience, reduce the level of interaction and required attention all help to achieve that goal. Hands-free telephony, glanceable UI’s, voice control, and Terminal Mode are all examples of initiatives that contribute to achieving that goal.
RG: Can you provide an insight into the viability of in-car mobile phone navigation and the issues of multi-tasking, screen size and safety?
FvdK: Navigation is an experience we bring to all consumers through our handsets. Navigation applies to different use cases: pedestrian and car navigation, as well as things like public transport. Each use case has its own specific implementation. Initiatives like Terminal Mode and our specific navigation functions such as OVI Maps Walk or Drive functionality address these use cases through their own design and by integration with the car assets such as big screens and car controls.
RG: Nokia has interacted with and received ideas from developers who could demonstrate a real understanding of what UK consumers want from mobile content. With this in mind, can you elaborate on the potential of Ovi Maps for this industry?
FvdK: Ovi Maps is a contextual platform for all types of content services and we already have many examples and partnerships e.g. with Michelin, Lonely Planet and many other local content players that use our Maps platform to provide additional value to consumers with location-aware services around the world. Bringing those services to the car seamlessly makes devices useful companions in each and every situation and enriches the car experience.
RG: Companies say that mobile devices can help drivers to make as many decisions as possible before they physically enter the vehicle, so that when they’re driving, their minds are focused on the road. What do you make of this approach?
FvdK: Mobile devices enable consumers to search, plan, discover and be connected to essential data such as traffic, weather, etc. So the consumer can plan his journey irrespective of his physical location.
RG: Recently, it emerged that Mercedes-Benz USA plans to integrate its concierge service into a mobile application. The application would enable drivers to contact a concierge agent to find information about nearby attractions and services, and links that information to the user’s smartphone and vehicle. How do you assess such a move?
FvdK: Consumers have different preferences and different budgets. A concierge service will appeal to some consumer groups, while device applications, local search and other services will appeal to others. We do believe that relevant hyper-local information is what consumers need, and therefore we believe that providing an open platform such as free Ovi Maps provides a scalable solution for all consumers around the world to find what they need.
TheWhereBusiness is scheduled to conduct The Navigation Strategies USA conference in San Jose on January 25th – 26th.
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