Pedestrian devices not so pedestrian anymore

lbsThey say that all politics are local. That it’s all about…me. A unique and interesting example of what I like to call “local me” can be seen in the Personal Navigation Device (PND) and Location Based Services (LBS) world. PND makers are looking for their next playing field–and while the car market still has some legs–the “pedestrian” PND market is now in focus.

In the not too distant future, the two technologies will be working to make your content and search results local and relevant. It is still early in the game but as LBS comes online in a more robust manner, the market expansion for pedestrian devices will surely move quickly. Expectations are that the “pedestrian” segment of the PND market will gain traction towards 2010-2012. In the near future, growth prospects are likely more on the application side than the device side. Until PND’s and “pedestrian” PND’s can step away from a purely utilitarian profile, the adoption will sit with GPS capable phones.

Because of the value and relevance of this technology to reach consumer in hyper-unique ways, the Emerging Media Lab is in talks to establish a series of relationship in the mobile and telematics spaces. Progress in both the hardware and application side will allow business to reach consumers through a unique device and in a unique way.

“Pedestrian navigation opens up lots of business opportunities for content suppliers and advertisers utilizing location intelligence,” Danny Kim, portable & LBS analyst at iSuppli told “Advertisers can simply put contextual LBS content on top of pedestrian maps and make their businesses more accessible to pedestrian navigation users, more so than car navigation users, who have limited door-to-door accessibility.”

The key will be in capturing pedestrian centric content along with capable mapping layered in with insightful public access info (transportation networks, points of interest, etc). Clutter can come quickly so understanding the balance between what information is pushed to the device and what is pulled in by user desires will be an interesting challenge. The net result will be constant changes to the devices as they struggle to find the right mix of platform and options. Combine this with the still ongoing work to get the GPS signal into those hard to reach locations and you get a unique opportunity, even if growth issues remain a challenge. Despite this it will be a most unique avenue for businesses, marketers and municipalities to reach people.