Evolving Vehicle Navigation to Satisfy Consumer Needs

We’re celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council with three new episodes of the Experiences Per Mile podcast featuring founding members of the Advisory Council. This blog post summarizes episode 25 of the podcast where Paul Hohos, Vice President of Automotive Sales and Managing Director for Americas at TomTom, explains how personalization is being added to vehicle navigation to improve user experience, and much more.

​Paul is a member of the EPM Advisory Council and represents one of the founding companies of the organization.  He couldn’t miss the opportunity to work with other key stakeholders in the mobility space on improving the in-vehicle experience for consumers. “At TomTom, our vision of a safer, cleaner, congestion-free world aligns well with the direction of the EPM Advisory Council,” said Paul. “If we want to be a viable player in this space, we have to continuously reinvent ourselves because the competition is fierce.”

One category of competitors is the navigation apps provided on the smartphone. Over the years, consumers have learned to love the navigation provided on their smartphones which are updated quite frequently and provided at low or no cost.   At the same time, they have developed negative opinions about the age of information provided through embedded in-vehicle navigation systems in their vehicles. Where smartphones are easy-to-use and up-to-date, OEM embedded solutions are known for being cumbersome and stale.

“With many previous embedded solutions, the reality was when a consumer purchased the car, the maps could already be a year or more old, and with updates taking place infrequently,” said Paul. “The dealer experience enabling the services to update the navigation was less than perfect, and the user ended up with a system that was awkward and difficult to use.”

In other instances, Paul thinks there is a lack of understanding. Earlier this year, the EPM Advisory Council hosted a consumer focus group to test brought-in navigation and built-in navigation. “When using the brought-in navigation, some of the users were traveling to the Upper Peninsula and they lost connectivity,” said Paul. “Even though they were using their phones for navigation, they thought it was a problem with the OEM solution​ and they were disappointed with the OEM.”

When it comes to convincing consumers to leave phone navigation behind, educating consumers on how in-vehicle platforms are evolving will be powerful. Adding ADAS features is another way to move the needle forward.

For electric vehicle (EV) users in particular, TomTom is working on eliminating range anxiety. While OEMs have battery data, TomTom has road data, which it can merge to create more detailed insights for EV drivers. There are many opportunities to partner with other organizations and use the data collected to deliver more differentiated services to consumers as well.

Ultimately, Paul believes embedded vehicle navigation will reign supreme and will be a standard in all cars, like airbags. “We'll see a trend in navigation take rates increasing - we already see that now,” said Paul. “It will be a must-have.”

To hear more on this topic, listen to this episode of the Experiences Per Mile podcast. 

​​Karen Piurkowski​

Senior Director, Global Content & Digital Marketing at HARMAN International​​

Connect with the Author: LinkedIn ​​

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