[AI] Wayfinder to add interactivity to navigation

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 20 06:29:09 EST 2008


Wayfinder to add interactivity to navigation
Introduces Wayfinder Earth and Wayfinder Navigator for
free in India 

R Jai Krishna

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Swedish GPS Mapping and Navigation
Company Wayfinder is all set to launch interactive
navigation service in India. 

The company has now launched its free map services –
Wayfinder Earth and Wayfinder Navigator – in tie-up
with MapMyIndia. 

The local maps will now be available for navigation
for the Indian mobile subscribers free of cost in over
150 models including Nokia 6600, Nokia N95 and
Sony Ericsson K600i mobile phones. 

However, data charges for the service operator will
apply. 

"Our partnership with MapMyIndia is the first step in
focussing on local content in the Indian market. In
the future we will continue to provide locally
relevant services and content on top of the map in
Wayfinder Navigator and Wayfinder Earth," Magnus
Nilsson, chief executive officer of Wayfinder told
CyberMedia News. 

The free Wayfinder Earth provides consumers a
convenient map application on mobile with a compatible
handset and data subscription. 

The user can download the maps on their mobile phone,
and find the points of interest and other
location-based content. 

Wayfinder Navigator comes with fully featured
voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. 

The service is now available with select mobile
operators such as Airtel and also through online
portals like MapMyIndia.com. 

"We have tested the services by offering to the
Blackberry subscribers of Airtel and now we are in the
next phase of forming a business model around the
service, which includes the pricing and packaging of
the content," Magnus Nilsson said. 

He said that Wayfinder saw a bigger opportunity in
India, given the recent spurt in mobile subscriptions
in the country. 

"The price point for such services has tremendously
come down over the past few years. After the launch of
many GPS-enabled handsets in the market, the
price-point has come to the mass-market level and the
market in India is also taking off," he said. 

"Wayfinder has the distinct advantage of providing
both server-based and client-based navigation
applications combined with local content. It gives us
an edge over other service providers. Initially,
though we are targeting the metros, Wayfinder services
will soon be available in 20 more cities very soon,"
Nilsson informed. 

Apart from supporting mobile platforms of Windows,
Linux and Java, the company is also working on
customizing both the maps and content for the
much-anticipated
Android platform from Google Inc.

 "We are looking at making navigation as interactive
as it can be by adding social-entertainment
applications. These applications can be anything from
networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut to finding
tourist information. We want the users to talk back to
us on the usage. In India, we are also looking
at localizing the content in vernacular languages as
well," he said.

Wayfinder is also in talks with a Mumbai-based content
company, involved in local content creation, and
aggregation. The company is considering a proposal
either to invest in the content company or opt for
acquisition. This will pave Wayfinder's entry into the
Indian market with a local presence by the end
of June this year.


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