Video: Ovi Maps Q&A with Nokia's Arshia Varlet, Pino and Danesh.

| October 24, 2009 | Reply

Thanks to WOMWorld and Nokia, as part of the “Good Things” event, we got the chance to quiz Nokia’s senior global marketing manager, Arshia Varlet and colleagues Guiseppe (Pino) and Danesh on Ovi Maps.

Here’s the 20 minute video of that session, underneath the transcript – questions in bold and additional thoughts/clarifications I meant in red. (Like when I mentioned wanting to make a house party available on Good Things, I meant like any one-nite only events like a mate’s gig at a local bar).


Jay: How/who conceived the “Good Things”?

Arshia: That was basically an offshoot from the navigation campaign that we had in 2008. That’s really the next step from that , so it’s something that we did for the social location offering that we have from Nokia, and the best way to actually bring that into the consumer space and to show people what’s actually at the end of their journeys which is essentially a “good thing” is an offshoot from that.

Jerome: When’s Ovi Maps 4.0 coming?

Arshia: That’s something that we have to get back to you on.

Glenn: I’m just wondering, this is getting a lot of hype with the N97 mini – is there any new functionality that will make it – capturing a good thing – just intuitive to the end user. WE’re talking about the end user, so is it going to be simple for them to capture and share their good things?

Arshia: At the moment, as the campaign stands, it’s actually for this year so 2009, it’s something that will be revealed later.

Glenn: Cos easily I find that usability is a huge, huge issue, particularly getting the really non-technical geek to do this kind of thing.

Arshia: Well if you look at the navigation offering, the way it currently is with Ovi Maps (I’m a non technical geek btw) and so for me, it was really the stress test when somebody put the device in my hand and say “OK now use the service”. What I found is that when you’re walking down the street for instance, the other day passing a really nice French restaurant called Pierre Victoire and somebody mentioned to tag it as a favourite. With a GPS fix it just so happens that I wasking there and my phone picked up where I was (because of Ovi Maps) and tagging it as a favourite. The next time I’m in that place then I’m definitely going to go to my good thing. So it’s just really a translation of what you can do with the service and what these good things are. So it’s a functionality of the device and the service by itself. It’s going to be the case on every single device because Ovi Maps is going to work on every single device.

Glenn :Any additional sharing capabilities to be integrated with this service – social bookmarking?

Arshia: Well right now, as it stands you can share via mms – text – bluetooth – the rest of it – and also with Life Casting. That’s actually what’s going to be the really fun part because you can share to your friends on Facebook from this. It’s going to pick up your location and then share it – so wherever you are, in Pierre Victoire for instance, your friends can see and know what that is.

Varun: Is all this going to be tied to the N97 mini or is it going to be for all Nseries or Nokia devices, like life-casting – sharing location – is it going to be tied to the N97 mini or is it going to be available on all devices.

Arshia: It’s going to be available on all devices going forward.

Roman: –

Christian: –

Jon: How’s Ovi Maps coming on S40? I know this is mainly S60 meeting but I’m just wondering how it’s going there.

Arshia: Well there isn’t any plans for S40 at the moment. For S40 we have Mapster already.

Ibrahim: –

Michael: Is it also planned for Maemo – for N900 and all that’s coming afterwards?

Arshia: Pino could you comment on that?

Pino: Well we are working on that, but it’s not available right now.

Taimas: –

Jay: How do you see yourself competing with Google Maps? In terms of bringing satellite images, and the service their bringing, and also in terms of search; I’m finding that when I need to look for something in Ovi Maps, it doesn’t find it -  I have to search for it in Google Maps. How do you see Ovi Maps improving?

Arshia: OK – so let’s do the first with the satellite imagery: We have very, very good satellite imagery because of our tie-up with a company called Digital Globe, and they basically give us (timed to market?) and we get because of a strategic partnership with them we have access to probably the mot high end satellite imagery that you could think of, and you can do a live to live comaprison with Google and actually see yourself the difference because we have the satellite imagery and aerial imagery. That’s two different things: the aerial imagery is essentially what low flying planes take pictures of and then you have the satellite imagery so the resolutions are actually quite different. So the quality is basically enhanced  with the service offering that we have. In terms of the search argorithm – it’s obviously something that we’re constantly improving with Ovi Maps, we’ve brought the “One Box Search” back in again so now you can type in whatever it is you want to look for offline and also search for that. Good again doesn’t work offline as you know. So that in itself is something that we’re much more superior on. In terms of the Map Data obviously better because we have Navteq Map data that’s already embedded in your maps. So if you don’t have data connection, you’re in a place like here where data connection’s not going to work, whatever it is, you can still search offline for instance.

Tom: Does anyone want to feedback on the goodthings, and how they’re going to use that?

Jay: I think I’m going to use it whenever I go to random shops I’ve never been there before, I’ve just come across it, I’m going to favourite it, not just favourite it for me but for other people to see. For maybe concerts – house parties just things like that – if it comes up fast enough on good things.

Arshia: Great stuff.

Glenn: I have to wonder, well Nokia owns Dopplr now – that’s a fine social location service. I’ve made sure that I’ve entered this trip into my dopplr journey so people know that I’m here. So it would  be quite cool for that to integrate with the Ovi services, particualrly for sharing things – it seems to be a natural extension.

Arshia: Yeah, that is where we’re heading to with social location anyways. I mean with us, our motto is “Connecting people in new and better ways” so it’s really about getting these different elements together. If you look at it, it’s literally like ingredients for this fabulous recipe that we call social location so we have the life casting so we have life casting with the facebook integration, then we have Dopplr go on as is, and then we have all the other things that we’re bringing together – the Web, the PC, the way  people interact with their devices and location so really share, it’s your people, places and time that we’re trying to bring to the table.

Tom: I have a question about the arrow that we’ve seen today and last night. Currently it’s pointing to places in London. If Glenn goes home to Denver and puts it into good things, will the arrow be able to point to his house 5000 miles away.

Arshia: In general? In Canada? In that direction? (Haha) Somewhere in that vicinity? Yeah, I guess. It’s a local thing at the moment. But we can try. See what happens.

Glenn: It’ll just display 8000 miles?

Arshia: For instance. Because it’s going to be good things from various locations anyway. So it’s going to be in that direction – all the way to Canada

Jay: Do you see Augmented Reality being part of Ovi Maps in the future?

Arshia: Pino, do you want to comment on that? Any future auriented questions —

Pino: Well of course we try to improve Ovi Maps in order to offer the greatest experience, for instance we have right now, 3D landmarks. So we are not right now moving into augmented reality direction, so that might be an option for later.

Glenn :There’s a relationship with Navteq, although the two companies do still operate quite separately, will the end user be able to interact with Navteq, particularly to help out update the data. There’s a lot of croud sourcing going on. Google does that for example cos you know, using the traffic information to provide real time updates.

Arshia: At the moment we use Navteq maps and that’s definitely one of our [us piece?] I wouldn’t say that’s one of our key selling points, but more like a unique selling point because of the coverage and the depth of the data; we have vector data from Navteq which makes our data a lot lighter basically in terms of data usage. Crowd sourcing is definitely in the books going forward. That’s definitely something we’re gonna look to look into because that is one of the ingredients of social location anyway. So yeah, that’s definitely something we’re going to look into.

Jon: TomTom allows users to edit maps, if they come accross a road that doesn’t exist anymore…

Arshia: Crowd sourcing basically…

Jon:…Yeah, but they allow them to directly edit on their map without sharing. So you don’t have to wait for their approval process. Would that be possible?

Arshia: I can’t comment on that because that’ll be something which Navteq would need to get back on, but we can definitely find out for you. Pino, can you comment on that?

Pino: No I can’t neither

Arshia: OK – we’ll get back to you on that.

Taimas: It’s a nice future

Arshia: Sorry?

Taimas: It’s a nice future

Arshia: Totally, very exciting!

Jay: Do you see Ovi maps giving longer free licences for navigation to use Ovi Maps because I’m finding a lot of people they’re not even aware of what they have on their phone. They’ve got powerful navigation software…

Arshia: Absolutely…

Jay: …but they either don’t want to use it because they have to pay up front. So do you see (Nokia) lengthening the 60 day to perhaps a year for people to get accustomed to the services.

Arshia: I think at this moent in time we do offer these trials as you said, and the objective right now is to get people to start using that trial. If they’re happy with the service then they can buy the longer term licence. But that’s really what it is right now, what you get on your device.

Jay: Do you think it might be better if it was just given free: e.g. you’ve bought your phone, and you have that service, it’s your navigation for life as long as you have that phone.

Arshia: That’s something I can’t comment on because we have to see how things go. But if you look at business models in general – even with your TomTom, you’re paying a perpetual licence, but you’re actually paying up front. And then you’re paying for map updates anyways, so and even with google. Even though they claim to be free and the rest of it, you’re actually pulling data everytime you use the device, so even though you’re not actually paying a licence (because google doesn’t do nagivation, they do routing) so it’s always the turn by turn part of it that we actually call navigation because our service is that. So it’s not really an apples to apples comparison in the first place. But from that perspective I think everybody in the market currently charges for navigation. So that’s how it is, that’s the business model.

[Side note: Wouldn’t Nokia have made a bigger impact had they just bundled Sat Nav functionality totally free? Why go pay for alternatives when Nokia Maps, now Ovi Maps, could make your phone your sat nav device. Unlike TomTom or Google Maps, Nokia is relatively new to people’s minds when they think about navigation. If you give Sat Nav functionality for free, they’ll be more inclined to try it, (eventually use it as their sole/main Sat-nav) whereas by charging, you open the realms to other navigation solutions, and turn attention away from Ovi Maps. Isn’t it better to: grab the end user whilst you can? Whatever the traditional business models maybe for SatNav, Nokia are (or were) in a unique position to bundle SatNav experience to loyal consumers, but instead, try to get cash out of them. Some Nokia devices are already rolling out with free Navigation – what about making it free on all compatible devices? At least consider being free for the high end devices that cost in the region of £400 – £500. ]

Glenn: There’s free players coming on the market’s making pretty big noise in the US and coming to Europe. It’ll be interesting to see how that rolls out.

Arshia: Absolutely, I mean we have to be ready, and prepared. So let’s see how that rolls out.

Glenn: And according to Symbian too.

Jerome: Would you be prepared to use crowd sourcing, like open street map for getting stuff that’s not in the Navteq database?

Arshia: I can’t comment on that unfortunately. But that’s something we can definitely look into and get back to you on.

Varun: Are we getting street view sometime soon?

Arshia: Not in the Road Map, no.

Taimas: How about indoor positioning?

Arshia: Pino?

Pino: We are going to integrate soon in the WiFi positioning. Indoor positioning, other technologies for indoor positioning, are not in the road map yet..

Taimas: ..but will it be?

Pino: Where of course if we can improve the positioning of working indoor then we’ll work on that.

Jerome: Ovi Maps API where people can develop and create their own routes..

Arshia: This is a Pino question so let me just pass that [phone] on.

Jerome: Ovi Maps API doesn’t have doesn’t have the navigation available yet, although it is documentated. It’s not actually officially released. When will all that be possible?

Pino: That is coming soon. So you know of Ovi API, currently in beta. When we go commercial we’ll integrate navigation.

Tom: Has everybody exhausted their list of question..Glenn..Jay..?

Jay: Just going back…

Arshia:…please, this is fun.

Jay:..How did the name “Good things” come about?

Arshia: So if you just look at the number of consumers that we’re looking at, we don’t have the luxury of saying we’re just going to target the very high end, or the just the very low end or just the music people, just the email people; none of that kind of stuff. We basically have to target everybody. And from that perspective, the navigation service, it’s all about getting you to the things that matter. And the thing that could matter could be a restaurant, a person, it could be anything. And it’s all about getting there, stress free and really having a great time, a good time. So you want to get to your good thing, and that’s really what it is, a person, place, whatever. And that’s how the good thing concept came into being.

Glenn: Is that a term that’s going to persist?

Arshia: Well if you want to make it persist, why not use it as much as you can on your blogs, and lets make it a part of everyday lingo how’s that for a plan?

Jay: There’s a good thing for that.

Arshia: Yeah! Totally. That’s a great thing! That’s the next campaign! Great Things!

Tom: Awesome – is everybody totally…? Ok,…Pino..Danesh…thanks!

Pino + Danesh: Thank you – bye

Arshia: Thank you very much for your time and it’s appreciated by all these chaps.

Glenn: Sorry – what’s your full name?

Arshia: Arshia Varlet. A R S H I A  V A R L E T – well I hope you guys were happy with the crane…  …I put my good thing in everybody. It’s a cheese shop in Marylebone

Someone: A cheese shop?

Arshia: A cheese shop! The best cheese ever.

Someone: Cheese?

Arshia: Cheese!

Christian: Hahaha

Jay: Are they gonna quicken up the time to upload [process and make public i meant] a good thing? Because it says on there, it takes about 24h. I was thinking if there was a house party I’m going to [bad example, not house party – I meant like some other big social event – like one of the University’s research talks of course! – no seriously, I just meant any event which was only going to be occuring for that particular night or short time period – like one of my mates playing a GIG at a local club – it might be over by the time good things makes that public] I want it so everyone would know

Someone: Gasp!

Arshia: I really pity the person who’s house this is. Seriously! No, but the speed is being worked on at the moment, that’s constantly being improved on Ovi Maps anyways.

Jay: How would you prevent people from overloading the area with good things?

Arshia: There is a moderator, so obviously if somebody decides to do something derogitary – or send people to a house party and happen to break the house and stuff.

Jay: what if somebody puts a good thing in by accident, like they think this is where it is but it’s actually wrong? [if you were using the GPS device, it wouldn’t be a problem but if you’re guessing the location on the PC version it might be another thing] How would you fix that?

Arshia: You wouldn’t know

Jay: Oh, so you just rely on the user?

Arshia: Exactly. But there will be a moderator, so if there’s something really obvious like saying the Eiffel Tower is in Delhi..

Jay: Would you allow other users to moderate that as well?

Arshia: No, not at the moment.


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Category: 5th Edition, Nokia, Nseries, S60, Video

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