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Telenav Review

Telenav, originally called "Telenavigation," was founded in 1999 and was initially focused on developing navigation systems for mobile phones. While initial versions of the service allowed users to retrieve a full set of directions, later versions would add real-time navigation for Sprint, Nextel, Motorola and Blackberry.

By 2006, the company introduced Telenav Track, its first mobile asset (vehicle and employee) tracking system. In the years since, that two-pronged approach has continued and evolved, with Telenav providing applications to the consumer and business segments alike while adjusting to the changing technological landscape.

Telenav Review
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Summary
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Personal Products

Telenav has two apps for personal navigation use. Navigator, available for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows phones, provides spoken turn-by-turn driving directions chosen from up to three different routes. Real time traffic info and rerouting allows for course correction on the fly, getting drivers to their destination quicker.

Scout makes the Navigator experience more customizable and more productive, and adds Windows desktop support to the existing mobile options; trips can be planned from home and the information easily ported over to the user's mobile device.

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Business Products

While Telenav's Thinknear app promises to revolutionize advertising by combining it with precision geolocation, the company's Scout app is poised to do the same for navigation and fleet management. The operating environment combines information from several sources, eliminating the need for multiple apps.

This adds to ease of use and safety. Scout for Cars takes two forms. The first of these is Brought In, which links a vehicle's in-dash display to interact with Scout via Bluetooth, MirrorLink, USB or Wi-Fi. A Built-In version embeds the Scout app into the car's in-vehicle display to make the best use of the Scout app.

Scout can be easily leveraged for business use either via the phone alone or an in-vehicle display. In both cases, driver distraction is minimized and safety is increased. Rather than manually planning trips, real-time traffic and weather information keeps your fleet moving. Perhaps best of all, the fact that it's mobile based lets your drivers take advantage of the service in their own vehicles, your company fleet, or even a rental car hundreds of miles from home.

Business and Technology Partnerships

Laptop displaying GPS screen

Given Telenav's focus on software-driven solutions, it cultivates close relationships with a number of partners for the hardware on which its software runs. This includes mobile providers like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon (United States), Rogers Wireless and Bell (Canada), Telcel (Mexico) NII Holdings (Latin America), and VIVO (Brazil).

Telnav has also collaborated with software and content providers to make its own products more robust, building relationships with Yelp, Yellowpages, Grub Hub, OpenTable, and Tribune Media in the consumer software sphere, and CustomWeather, TomTom, OPIS (the Oil Price Information Service), and Nokia's HERE geolocation division.

More recently, the company has also built partnerships with Delphi (electronics) and Ford (Telenav forms the backbone of the OEM onboard nav suite in several Ford vehicles). The net result of this network of partners is that Telenav has been able to ensure function and support in a variety of settings on a wide range of products.

Support

Live support is offered via chat, phone and email. This is augmented by a series of user's guides, as well as a thriving user-supported forum that covers the use of Telenav's products in a variety of real world settings.

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Case Studies

Ford

Ford logo

Telenav has delivered innovative solutions for many of its clients. Two particular examples stand out. The first of these is Ford, a long-time partner. Telenav's software is the basis for the Ford SYNC® 3 infotainment system. The system's key features include 3-D city models, simplified and smarter search that's designed to filter out irrelevant results, multitouch map technology, and an improved navigation experience.

SKULLY Systems

Skully logo

Also in the works is a partnership with SKULLY Systems, which is using Telenav's Scout SDK to power its innovative SKULLY AR-1 helmet. The helmet, which SKULLY calls "the world's first augmented reality motorcycle helmet," will use Scout SDK as the basis for a heads up display (HUD) that provides real-time, turn-by-turn navigation to the wearer. SKULLY cites the Open Maps framework used by Telenav as a key benefit, since the maps are more detailed, and more frequently updated, than other commercially-available alternatives.

Accolades

TechCrunch's Frederic Lardinois praises the seamless integration of the innovative Open Maps into Telenav's products.

Janet Wagner of ProgrammableWeb notes that TripAdvisor's use of Telenav's Scout Maps and Navigation SDK not only enabled offline use of TripAdvisor's app, but made the experience much more satisfying. CIO's James A. Martin mentions that Scout "comes closest" to providing perfect directions, while its Share ETA feature allows you to update your contacts with your arrival information.

Conclusion

At a glance, Telenav may well appear to be an odd man out in the telematics and GPS space. However, the business's near-equal emphasis on consumer products and business solutions has been fruitful not only for the company, but also for its customers.

The company's knack for ease of use and intuitive interfaces carried over from its consumer products make them an easy fit for those exploring telematics for the first time, while its creativity in integrating outside vendors' products and services into their product ecosystem makes them robust and useful.