Personal Navigation Devices

For as long as man has been mobile the need to know how to get from point A to point B and back to point A has been important. About 3500 B. C. man began sailing ships to travel and carry goods from one place to another. Travel in those times was limited to coastal travel; ships stayed within view of the shore and did not venture into open waters (“Early Navigation Tools,” n. d. ). Later on mariners learned to plot their courses through the use of major constellations and the movement of the sun and stars.
First navigation was dangerous when elements like storms or navigator errors arose (“The History of Navigation,” n. d. ). As travel evolved so did the tools to make this possible. Man’s earliest “GPS” devices were Back Staff Cross Staff Magnetic Compass Mariner’s Astrolabe Nocturnal Planisphere Quadrant Sextant Universal Ring Dial (“Early Navigation Tools,” n. d. ) Why have Personal Navigation Devices become popular?
As our society has evolved and the population has increased along with metropolitan sprawl and traffic congestion along with a growing environmental awareness people have turned to the personal navigation device (PND). The PND has allowed people to arrive at their destination on-time and without getting lost by avoiding traffic congestion with the most efficient travel plan. In an article by Fred Zahradnik he defines PND as, “uses Global Positioning System satellite signals to provide position information and related data and services.

PND is a generic term covering a wide variety of electronic devices, ranging from in-car portable GPS to handheld portable receivers to commercial fleet management devices and more” (Zahradnik, n. d. ). According to Berg Insight, “At the end of 2011, there were 340 million navigation systems in use worldwide, including an estimated 60 million factory installed and aftermarket in dash navigation systems, about 150 million PNDs and an estimated 130 million navigation-enabled mobile phones”(Malm, n. d. , p.
2). What technologies are required to facilitate the success of PNDs? Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is defined by dictionary. com as, “1. Global Positioning System: a global system of U. S. navigational satellites developed to provide precise positional and velocity data and global time synchronization for air, sea, and land travel. 2. an electronic system that uses these satellites to determine the position of a vehicle, person, etc. : The car is equipped with GPS, so I’m sure we won’t get lost.
3. a receiver that determines its position by analyzing the satellite signals it receives: When we go on hikes, we use a GPS. ” (“GPS,” n. d. ). GPS technology has its roots in time accuracy. Scientists wanted a better way to measure time accurately and they built the atomic clock accurate within a billion of a second (Etinger, 2009). With the entrance into the space race in the 1950s and the launch of satellites scientists learned that this technology could also be used to track global position on the earth.
This prompted the US Navy to begin a program of their own and launch several satellites. By 1993 they had positioned 24 satellites and the GPS system was created (Etinger, 2009). In March of 1996 under a Presidential Decision Directive, President Clinton stated that his goals for providing access to the general public were, “encourage acceptance and integration of GPS into peaceful civil, commercial and scientific applications worldwide; and to encourage private sector investment in and use of U. S. GPS technologies and services” (Clinton, 2000)
On May 1 in a statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary it was announced that as of midnight the signal would no longer be scrambled and GPS would now be available to the public (Clinton, 2000). Up until that time GPS was available in limited form to the public which allowed for very inaccurate positioning and the full use was limited to the military. Who are some of the leaders in PNDs? What are the likely factors that will contribute to winning in this marketplace?
This paved the way for companies like Garmin, and TomTom to develop PND and systems to accurately pinpoint a destination and develop turn-by-turn directions thus ending the age old argument between couples when the man will not stop and ask directions. While Garmin and TomTom have been the leader in personal navigation systems with the invention of Smartphones, internet mapping, and emerging leaders like Magellan Navigation and Mitac International the market has become crowded (Hesseldahl & Schenker, 2008).
The first systems offered little features other than turn-by-turn directions. As the technology evolved directions changed from, “turn left in 500 feet” to “turn left in 500 feet on East Main Street. ” In 2008 a company called Dash Navigation began using wireless mobile networks to transmit traffic and weather information and used this information to create routes that were the most efficient for the driver (Hesseldahl & Schenker, 2008). As the economy began to falter and smartphones began emerging in 2008, companies like Garmin and TomTom began to see rapid sales decreases.
Consumers now had the ability to wrap up all of their needs into their smartphone and no longer needed to spend hundreds of dollars for these devices. With other companies jumping into the market and the automotive industry adding built-in navigation systems like On-Star the price points were driven down dramatically (Hesseldahl & Schenker, 2008). As the technology improves and GPS finds its way into more technology those in the industry who have the ability to foresee the latest trends in technology and are able to bring those technologies into their business model will survive.
Improved mapping technology that that can be licensed to web sites and electronic device manufacturers will be a driving force as well in the GPS and PND industry. What will be a likely future for PNDs? With the ability to find and map locations available through many devices like in-car navigation, internet mapping services, smartphones, tablets, and a host of other sources. Devices dedicated strictly to navigation are rapidly fading into oblivion. Walk into any electronics store and the choices for buying a PND are rapidly dropping along with the prices.
Like the Palm or the VCR the PND will not exist in the very near future. Mobile communication will all but take over this industry. In an article by Andy Brudtkuhl he points out, “If I was a PND manufacturer not focused on the future of mobile computing / mobile web services I would do so right away because that’s what all the competitors should be working on. While R&D is working on mobile solutions I would only target frequent drivers or partnering with auto manufacturers to create brand awareness.
I really like what Garmin has done in this industry by personalizing their brand and targeting nontraditional GPS / PND owners like soccer moms” (Brudtkuhl, 2007). Apply as many TCOs to Personal Navigation Devices as possible. This week our topic was collaboration and for companies like Garmin and TomTom to be successful in the growing smartphone market many are turning to those smartphone makers. This is very important to the companies who strictly were PND makers. These could be a win-win for both industries.
The PND makers have the core competency of GPS navigation, how to plot those areas on a map and create directions between those points. The cell phone maker’s core competency is that they understand smartphone technology and have the infrastructure to develop and build these phones. The PHD companies need to quickly understand that their technology has hit the top of the S-curve and need to develop new strategies to take this technology to the next step. Conclusion Mapping and maps date back many centuries. Until the invention of GPS technology mapping was a painstaking process and accuracy was limited.
The Lewis and Clark expedition took two years and four months to map their journey and even after that only covered a fraction of the new territory. GPS technology was born out of the space race and the first launch of satellites in the 1950s. This technology remained very unchanged and pinpoint accuracy was reserved for military use only until 1996 when President Clinton directed that it be available for civilian use. From May 1, 2000 when the GPS signal was unscrambled the technology behind mapping and PNDs exploded creating a new emerging market.
In the last 13 years consumers have seen it evolve from PNDs that were expensive to now finding this technology available in cars, smartphones, tablets, computers, and the internet rendering a dedicated device virtually obsolete. In order for companies who focus on PNDs strictly to survive they must now develop a plan to increase the innovative capabilities of their organizations and must find a way to collaborate with companies that produce electronic devices like smartphones and computers. Because this technology has developed rapidly, the company that snoozes loses.

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