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“It is difficult to discern an all-encompassing trend in Asia”
What are the key market segments you focus on?
Canalys was formed 10 years ago, and we now have a range of services covering various market segments. These include our Mobile services, which comprise Mobile Navigation Analysis and Smart Mobile Device Analysis, which track and study the worldwide markets on a quarterly basis. We have more recently added Business and Consumer Mobility Analysis services. Canalys also has global services focused on the Enterprise market, which look at security, IPTV, unified communications and networking, and on the Consumer market, covering digital entertainment. The name of the company is actually derived from the Latin word for channels, the core focus of our research, so underpinning all of our work is our go-to-market expertise. Additionally, the company has a significant consulting division taking on bespoke projects across all of these areas.
What is your opinion about the trends and challenges in the navigation market?
Navigation has proved to be one of our most exciting areas of research since we started officially tracking the market back in 2004. The sector has been growing aggressively during this period and it has been great to see how this growth has now spread to APAC and the Americas. One of our challenges is tracking all the different types of solutions, be they hardware or software; smart phones, PNDs or PMPs; perpetual or subscription; and ensuring that our definitions and databases will robustly handle them.
How do you see the market potential for satellite navigation in India?
We think there is significant market potential for mobile navigation in India. It is a unique market because smart phones with integrated GPS arrived there before PNDs, a reversal of the situation in Western Europe, the US and China. We believe that there is a burgeoning opportunity for navigation on both smart phones and PNDs, and we will be talking about our forecasts for India at our forthcoming Canalys Navigation Forum event in Bangalore this month. Location-based services are not really established yet in India, but the advent of GPS devices and increasing consumer education around turn-by-turn navigation will change this. Still, there is a lot of work to be done to find revenue-generating business models for location-based services. There are endless decisions to be made about end-user education, pricing, and partnerships between software and hardware vendors and service providers.
Could you highlight key differences in the navigation market in Europe, the US and Asia?
Western Europe already has an established mobile navigation market, which emerged from the trend of bundling PDAs with Bluetooth GPS receivers and software. The market is still growing, and there are even further opportunities to come out of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which are all still developing markets. In the US the big impact has come around the Black Friday period, which is the first shopping day after Thanksgiving. In 2006 and 2007 certain vendors really developed deals and special offers that helped swell volumes and educate the market. Hitting certain prices points has really driven the market forward, though pressure on margins is more intense than ever. Asia is such a fragmented market that it is difficult to discern an all-encompassing trend. There are highly developed markets, such as Korea and Japan, which have their own local vendors, and then there is China and India, which have been identified as critical emerging markets. The Oceania countries are also at various stages of development as well.
What is the common thread to the Canalys Navigation Forum 2008, spread across four venues in three continents?
The common thread is about establishing a premier independent meeting place for those involved in the navigation industry in each region. It is about discussing market growth, progression and challenges. We hope to continue to consolidate our position as the industry’s leading provider of research, which in turn will contribute to the planning, forecasting and analysis of future opportunities for growth and expansion in mobile navigation.