Counterpoint Research has completed its latest in-depth analysis using its proprietary CORE (COmpetitive Rankings and Evaluation) framework evaluating the leading 25 maps and location platform players on more than 60 capabilities and ecosystem success parameters over the last 12 to 18 months.
As has been highlighted before, the tech industry is undergoing a huge transformation as map and location intelligence providers are moving to a platform-centric approach beyond just selling maps content and navigation solutions for use by automakers and device makers. New experiences are being enabled by combining location-centric intelligence and enterprise/consumer data. The platform approach helps these players to share/license their location data, services along with advanced development tools and open partnership models with a wide spectrum of developers to help build powerful location-centric applications, services, and solutions. These platforms are becoming highly modular including rich maps data, location intelligence, analytics, development tools, and services leveraging cloud infrastructure licensed together or individually according to the developer’s needs.
Exhibit 1: Open location platform approach a winning strategy
This platform approach is being adopted by some of the key players, allowing them to not only offer advanced location services efficiently in a scalable way, but also to cater to different vertical applications and expand their total addressable market. The following are the rankings and scores for the top 25 location platform players in this study:
Exhibit 2: CORE Scorecard: Global location platform rankings
Commenting on the findings, Neil Shah, the VP of Research, highlights: “HERE continues to emerge as the world’s leading and most comprehensive location platform in our evaluation. Over the last eighteen months HERE has widened its lead compared to the competition, developing end-to-end capabilities, a broader and deeper portfolio of offerings, a string of partnerships and a large number of customer wins. The open and industry-neutral platform approach, along with advanced tools and effective developer evangelism has helped HERE catalyze the platform adoption as all-round monetization kicks in.”
Shah further adds, “Google has been more focused on consumer-centric location experiences directly (B2C) or indirectly (B2B2C) which directly aligns with its ad-driven business model. This is where Google, despite having a richer map data and location intelligence thanks to its billions of active Android users, is behind the competition such as HERE, TomTom, ESRI or Telenav when it comes to attracting enterprise (B2B) and automotive customers.
Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst, Prachir Singh, highlighting TomTom’s competitiveness, adds, “After selling its telematics business a year ago, TomTom has been more focused on acquiring marquee customers and attracting developers such as Huawei, Microsoft, and Verizon. TomTom has been focusing on developing extensive capabilities from HD Maps to services for Electric Vehicles to 3D Landmarks and so forth to compete with Google and HERE. TomTom’s partner and customer development has been robust and scores well in our evaluation.”
Mr. Singh, further adds, “Mapbox has done well over the years to climb to the fourth spot in our rankings with attractive offerings and pioneered visualization toolkits to help developers build beautiful maps. Mapbox has done a great job of evangelizing app developers to embrace its location platform to build unique location-centric experiences. It nicely addressed the developer’s pain points and built a platform around its visualization tools. We are seeing other players also beginning to offer similar tools for 2D/3D visualization to build attractive layered maps and digital twins, but with richer map data, thus competing for this segment head-on with Mapbox.”
The need for high levels of capital investment has shaped the competitive landscape, we see very few global-scale leaders as they have to keep their maps and location data fresh which is a herculean task. There is a long tail of regional champions such as Zenrin in Japan, NAVER & Kakao in S.Korea, MapMyIndia in India, Yandex in Russia, NAVINFO, Autonavi (AMaps) and Baidu in China and Navitel in Eastern Europe. Then, we have emerging leaders that are looking to offer maps and location platforms at global-scale but licensing maps from the leaders such as HERE, TomTom or using OpenStreetMaps (OSM), these include Apple, Microsoft (Bing and Azure Maps), Sygic, TELENAV and ESRI.
Commenting on the key regional location platform providers, Senior Analyst Ethan Qi adds, “Chinese mapping giants such as NAVINFO, Autonavi (AMaps owned by Alibaba) and Baidu have been dominating in the China market. These players also have a significant breadth of customers and partners, from automotive, to enterprises, to consumer-facing devices and applications, helping them build robust location intelligence platforms. They have also struck important partnerships with global location platform players such as HERE, TomTom, Telenav, Zenrin, Mapbox, and others to help their customers scale globally.
Mr. Qi, further adds, “Apple Maps has hundreds of millions of users and we look forward to Apple further improving its maps to the level of its competition. Apple Maps has been working hard to become self-reliant and build maps in-house rather than just depend on sources such as TomTom or OSM. It has done well starting with its North America maps, though keeping it fresh and dynamic requires more of a horizontal partnership approach than vertical. Emerging leaders such as Telenav have strengthened their position in mobility space with a healthy roster of customers in automotive and shared mobility space especially in North America for their platform offerings from OpenTerra tech, connected car and in-vehicle commerce.”
Below are some key findings from the research:
- HERE leads in more than 40 capabilities out of the total 60+ criteria, including Indoor Maps, HD Maps, Geo-Coding, Traffic, Tracking & Positioning, Openness, Marketplace, etc
- Google leads in data geographic depth, reach, POIs, 3D content and so forth.
- TomTom leads in offline maps coverage, EV service, while Mapbox leads in Visualization tools, Telenav in connected car infotainment experiences, Sygic leads in-app travel planning, driver safety Augmented Reality experiences integration, etc.
- ESRI is the third-ranked player when it comes to overall parameters through building a robust developer ecosystem in the location platform space.
Many more insights, evaluation, and analysis on the key platform players’ product offerings, business model, key focus areas, capabilities, major development partnerships, customer wins, and other parameters are captured in the report.