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Insights & Trends 5 min read

TechInsights: HERE is taking the lead

TechInsights Hero 2023

HERE was ranked first among location platforms for another consecutive year. TechInsights Director Nitesh Patel explains why.

HERE came top of all location platforms overall for yet another year in a row in the annual TechInsights ranking.

TechInsights, formerly Strategy Analytics, rates mapmakers every 12 months in seven main categories. Those are mapmaking/freshness, automotive, non-automotive, developers, visualization, vision growth and sustainability.

In five of these — mapmaking, automotive, non-automotive, visualization and vision growth — HERE received a perfect score of five points. HERE retains a one-point lead in vision growth. The report said: “Despite the resignation of its CEO, Edzard Overbeek, HERE's interim leadership retains a clear vision for both platform evolution and industry growth across its target sectors of automotive, transportation and logistics, mobility and on-demand sectors."

HERE360 spoke to TechInsights Director Nitesh Patel about why HERE was granted pole position yet again, some of the trends in the sector, and what we can expect to see emerge in the next few years.

The evolution of mapping

“The big story is how the mapping companies are evolving," he said. “Last year, UniMap was a twinkle in HERE's eye, and we had the big announcement after the previous report in terms of automating that process of data capture, ingestion and processing, right the way through to publication."

While other location platforms have similar ambitions, such as the Overture Foundation started by TomTom, Patel said it was “too early to tell" what they will eventually deliver.

However, he praised UniMap, the new mapping system from HERE that is gradually being brought to customers. “UniMap is probably the easiest to gauge in terms of its technical capabilities. With Overture, you've got multiple parties with their own agendas and ideas and they've got to work together, which takes time," Patel said.

HERE was also top for the way its products and services support the automotive industry. “HERE has a very close understanding of OEM partners and what they are trying to achieve," Patel said. Following the success with HERE ISA Map last year, he said NCAP ratings were the next priority for automakers. Nine out of 10 major vehicle manufacturers chose HERE to help them meet the EU mandate for reliable and up-to-date speed limit data inside the vehicle.

“HERE is taking the lead with NCAP ratings, which are becoming more and more important for car manufacturers to convey to customers in their marketing to consumers and dealers," Patel added. The NCAP, or New Car Assessment Program, is a voluntary ratings system designed to rank vehicles according to their safety.

The electric epoch

Like many others, the automotive industry is going through a period of radical transformation. Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the up, thanks in part to supporting legislation and consumer enthusiasm, and greater levels of autonomous driving are gradually being achieved.

Patel said an initial phase of EV hype was now giving way to skepticism about whether there was adequate charging infrastructure to justify investing. “Operators will be looking at EVs more for short-haul deliveries or last mile than first mile," Patel said. “From a consumer perspective, people are questioning whether the infrastructure is there to support EVs."

“That's where location plays an important role: in allaying people's fears that they will be able to plan a route and that it is actually worth buying an EV."

Even when the number of charge points has increased, “there will always be a role for location in delivering a better experience," he added.

When it comes to autonomous vehicles, location still plays “an important role in the overall mix", Patel said, but fully autonomous driving remains on the horizon.

“If you're a car maker and you're prioritizing safety and reliability, I really struggle to see how your autonomous system wouldn't need to rely on some level on a highly detailed map for the vehicle to localize itself," he said.

HERE ranks as the #1 location platform once again

HERE had top scores in several categories, including mapmaking and freshness.


A changing climate

It is only in recent years that the report has addressed new categories of non-automotive and sustainability, perhaps a sign that the role of mapping has become broader over time.

“Governments are investing and offering subsidies and benefits for industries and companies that meet ESG criteria," Patel said. “It will remain important for companies in the location sector to be able to demonstrate they can help organizations meet their goals in this area."

As the industry surges forward with new partnerships, innovations and use cases, there are a number of trends Patel said we should look out for. AR and VR in supply chains are still nascent. And digital twins, while much touted, have not yet reached their potential despite examples such as a successful project by Vodafone which he highlighted.

“I think there is huge potential for growth," Patel said.

Beth McLoughlin 2023

Beth McLoughlin

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