Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Nokia Attempts To Solve Road Traffic Problem via UGC

November 10th, 2008 by

Mobile phone giant Nokia , in association with UC Berkeley, has launched Mobile Millennium, a public pilot that will collect and study traffic data received from GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as the Nokia N96, Nokia N95 & Nokia E71. The aggregated data is then encrypted & sent to a computer system, which blends it with other sources of traffic data and broadcasts this real time data back to the phones and to the internet through a user friendly interface. The Mobile Millennium team expects to have 10,000 participants by April .

“The whole concept here is that if everyone shares just a little bit of what they’re seeing … then everyone can benefit by seeing the conditions ahead of them”, said Quinn Jacobson, a research leader at Nokia.

GPS is becoming ubiquitous on mobile devices. Gartner forecasts by the end of 2010, almost 40% of mobile handsets will support GPS. However the compelling idea of ‘User Generated Content’ remains a myth so far – at least on authenticity & commercial viability .

Many of us may not be aware of the Runet search giant Yandex’s Traffic 2.0 . In response to Moscow traffic jam Traffic 2.0 is a mobile based user-generated traffic congestion monitoring service on GPS module & distributed via toolbar,  IMs & desktop widgets. In order to have more reliable traffic data Yandex later bought Smilink -Russian road traffic monitoring agency .

From Yandex’s success story key take away for Nokia specially for emerging markets like India:

UGC can take Mobile Millennium to a certain level however inorder to reach the next level Nokia needs more accurate data.

Probably that is why Nokia’s test market is San Francisco Bay Area (CA has invested heavily in traffic monitoring sensors on major roadways) eventhough Sao Paulo, Brazil has the world’s worst traffic jams & Nokia’s market share in Brazil is 61.83% (as against 7% in the US) .

Do not discard the possibility of engaging applications like ‘date finder’, ‘language exchange partners’ & others that may emerge around traffic solution of Nokia.

And guess – who would be eagerly watching this ? None other than Nokia’s web partner Google. Eventually the Nokia route could be Google’s inroad to the markets where it is not the leader.

Thoughts & comments are most welcome.

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2 Responses

  1. Natalie Says:

    I’m not too sure about how this differs from using something like SigAlert on you cell phone?

    Either way, this pilot program sounds like it could be really useful. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  2. dot net Says:

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