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Multimodal navigation takes the spotlight

Posted: 28 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:location-based system? Navteq LBS challenge? multimodal navigation?

A multimodal navigation solution from a Japan mobile phone-based navigation provider took home the grand prize in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) edition of the 2009 Navteq Global LBS Challenge.

Navitime Japan Co. Ltd's NAVITIME application is a multimodal navigation solution that shows routes combining different methods of transportations, which allows users to compare and choose freely from a variety of ways. The solution is written in Symbian C++ language, supports Nokia S60, Symbian-signed and Java-verified. For mobile application users, GPS voice guidance is provided for both pedestrian and car navigation.

Kanji Morishima, general manger, LBS planning and marketing, global business division at Navitime, told EE Times Asia that the multimodal concept originated from the research of the company's founders in their university over twenty years ago. Navitime CEO and president Keisuke Onishi studied path-finding algorithms (car and pedestrian navigation), while vice president and chief operating officer Shin Kikuchi looked into time table algorithms (public transportation). The two realized that when combined, the technologies can cover all transportation methods available.

The application has been commercially launched in Japan but Morishima noted that the application does not have a specific target market since transportation is a common activity. "NAVITIME is multimodalcovering cars, pedestrians, subways, buses, airplanes and other public transportation methods. From a marketing perspective, we consider large metropolitan areas to be our initial target. This is because the people who use the public transportation systems in the urban areas are currently underserved with regards to navigation and hold great market potential," he said.

The NAVITIME application benefits consumers and businesses that rely on public transportation by allowing users to compare and combine the various ways of transport, Morishima added. NAVITIME helps users save time in deciding the mode of transport, suggest the fastest routes, offers convenience of not needing to carry maps and even provides reference on how much carbon dioxide is consumed when traveling.

Navitime joined the Navteq challenge to affirm that there is a global market for multimodal navigation. "The NAVITIME application has been well accepted in Japan, but it was a big step for us to venture out into the global market. We are very excited that judges from globally respected companies have supported our application," he said.

Navitime's multimodal navigation solution took home the grand prize at 2009 Navteq Global LBS Challenge APAC Edition.

Winning the 2009 APAC challenge was the strategic boost the company needed for the worldwide deployment of NAVITIME. "Being able to collaborate with Navteqwith such a strong global presenceis an unprecedented opportunity for us to connect with the major players in LBS (location-based service)," he said.

Moving forward, Navitime plans to make the most of the opportunity by starting discussions with potential business partners, accelerating data collection and deploying promotional activities in target markets, Morishima said.

Navteq has opened the registration for its 2010 Navteq Global LBS Challenge, which has expanded to include five regions: Europe-Middle East-Africa, North America, South America, Asia Pacific and India.

- EE Times-Asia

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