The purpose of the NAVIfuture Project has been to produce an expert assessment of the development by 2005 of the personal navigation market. The definition of personal navigation used in this survey is a broad one, covering positioning technology and its utilisation, especially using mobile devices, both in consumer and professional applications and services.
The project also aims to support the strategy processes of the parties of the NAVI network. NAVI Network is the cluster of partners involved in mobile positioning and location based services in Finland.
The project uses the so-called Delphi method, in which experts reply anonymously to a comprehensive questionnaire and present grounds for their replies. Three Delphi rounds were involved and the first two questionnaires received responses from 68% of the experts enrolled in the survey but in the third round, the response rate fell to 51%. The reporting was based on the simple principle that the material speaks for itself.
As a summary of the study the report focuses on assessing the future development of the market for personal navigation and location services, based on expert views.
The advances of mobile technology have revolutionised communication, making it relatively independent of time and place. For an ordinary person, the mobile phone is above all a tool for coping with everyday life and social relations. The mobile phone brings us into an ever closer contact with our social network.
Positioning has, for some time now, been often considered the next “revolution” in mobile technology. As this report shows, conviction that the breakthrough will eventually happen still abounds. However, it seems that the utilisation of positioning is increasing at a much slower rate than anticipated. Location technology and associated applications have only recently achieved the level of reliability that allows operators the courage to begin selling services. Many of the services are still in the testing stage.
The bursting of the IT bubble has naturally contributed to the fact that experts are now emphasising aspects such as utility and need. However, this may lead to an unintended neglect of the potential of users’ own abilities to participate in the creation of needs and discovering new modes of use. The “taming” of technology is in itself already a complex process, the result of which cannot be reliably foretold. The question is not whether positioning technology satisfies some “genuine” user needs. We should instead ask, can navigation technology help us to alter the everyday life of our employees and ordinary consumers in some desired direction?
The market for location-based services (LBS) is diversifying. History shows that in the general evolution of markets, public services develop first, and then the services are gradually adopted for different professions and leisure activities. Typical motives for the adoption of a new technology have included at least savings in costs, easy transmission of information, and enhancement of general security. The general mood of economic recession in recent years has led to an emphasis on aspects such as need and utility in particular.
Markets are made up of producers and consumers. The production value chain consists of several actors: device manufacturers, application developers, telecommunication operators and portals, network suppliers and producers of map information. Mobile phone opera