Here starts courting app makers


  • TECH
  • Friday, 24 Mar 2017

Change of ownership: Once part of Nokia, Here was purchased by BMW, Audi and Daimler in 2015.

Here, the automotive industry-owned mapping and location services company is launching a new set of tools that will let any developer easily build and launch an app that needs location-specific features.

It means that if a small company or individual wants to build an on-demand delivery business or launch a ride-hailing feature, for example, they can now turn to Here instead of Google Maps.

"Congestion, roadworks and bad addressing are a constant headache for companies operating in a complex market where every single minute makes a difference. Our new toolkit brings together a set of advanced location capabilities to help developers address these challenges and make their app stand above the rest," said Leon van de Pas, head of Internet of Things at Here.

If developers choose to simply use the full suite of Here tools and host their service within the company's existing consumer app, they can literally bring their app from idea to reality in a matter of days. All of the complex calculations, from figuring out where a delivery point or a customer really is, to navigating the most efficient route and building in contingencies for traffic flows, is taken care of.

Once part of Nokia, Here was purchased by BMW, Audi and Daimler in 2015 in an attempt to put space between the auto industry and Google's mapping and location services. Over the past 18 months Intel has also come on board and the company has started developing next generation 3D maps that will be crucial for autonomous vehicles.

However, cars are just one element and the company wants to expand into all aspects of location and mobility, making connections between internet-enabled things as we enter a future of smart homes, connected cars and on-demand services.

This wider view is also why car companies from Audi and VW to BMW and Ford are starting to reposition themselves as mobility service providers as much as car builders. VW expects to have 100 million customers by 2025 that are patrons of its connected services and apps rather than VW group car drivers.

Even connected cars being built today are opening up 10 times as many potential revenues streams for carmakers than other vehicles that don't have latest-generation infotainment or web services on board.

Therefore the launch of this new developer kit should be seen as a very big first step towards this long-term goal. —  AFP Relaxnews
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