We want to give an alternative to Google Maps users, says MapmyIndia’s Rakesh Verma on using big data

The MapmyIndia founder says that his company always believed that almost 80 per cent of businesses would need a location component and today this stand stood vindicated

The home-grown map-location company MapmyIndia has been working on mapping technologies for over two decades. And almost “all businesses” in India exploit its B2B focused maps. The company has a consumer-facing map as well, which it launched recently and claims it to be better than Google’s. The B2B map is largely used by organisations, especially automotive manufacturers, which offer GPS navigation as a built-in feature in cars. The next level is tracking and companies may use location technology to bring customers to their showrooms, service stations or any destination of their choice, says MapmyIndia. E-commerce and mobile commerce companies use maps to bring efficiency in their supply chain operations for last-mile deliveries where house number level maps and routing play an important role.

Rakesh Verma, managing director of MapmyIndia, in conversation with SME Futures, talks about the awakening of businesses to the role of location technologies, MaymyIndia consumer map and how his company is slowly transitioning to a data-platform company using big data.

Do you see a rise in the number of businesses embracing location technologies? Why and how they leverage location component?

For more than two decades, we have believed that almost 80 per cent of all businesses would need a location component. These may be customer-facing businesses, manufacturing operations, service providers or even governments and its various bodies. And today our stand has been vindicated with almost all businesses and organisations waking up to the importance of location technologies. MapmyIndia has been at the forefront of introducing disruptive location technologies in India. We have a wide and varied user base with each consuming our solution in their own unique way.

Automotive manufacturers offer GPS navigation as a built-in feature in their cars. The next level is tracking and they may also use location technology to bring the customers to their showrooms, service station or any destination of their choice. E-commerce and mobile commerce companies like to bring efficiency in their supply chain operations for last-mile deliveries, where house number level maps and routing play an important role. Banks are going the digital way, they look for the location of merchants for on-boarding onto their digital payment platform. Financial institutions analyse risk areas by mapping their customers and analysing their transactions over a period of time. A municipality may want to know the status of utilities that each locality has to identify gaps for further action or it may also want to ensure that the safaai karamchaaris report at their designated localities.

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Location-based IoT is another trend being adopted by varied industries for better efficiency and real-time analytics aggressively. A taxi service might want to know the health of its fleet, location and preventive measures to be undertaken in real-time. An oil manufacturing company may deploy location technology to secure its oil pipeline. A fire department used location technology for emergency response and there are many more ways that location technologies are being deployed and used by various businesses and organisations.

How is your consumer map app better than Google’s? Why have you taken years before launching it?

We would really like consumers to experience MapmyIndia’s map app. It offers safety, convenience, efficiency and community engagement to make our lives better through maps and location technologies.

The map app is powered by MapmyIndia’s most advanced, accurate and unparalleled map data for India. We have been using this as a base to build powerful location-intelligent offerings for consumers & enterprises. The app has granular data with millions of house numbers and points of interest – allowing you to reach your destination’s doorstep! One can easily find and navigate to a friend’s house address with a smarter last-mile search.

The app is enabled with revolutionary eLoc – MapmyIndia’s nationwide digital address system which gives you a six character digital address for any place, including house-numbers.

The interesting features like live location sharing with other users and integration of app with MapmyIndia IoT devices make it smarter. If you’re logged in from multiple devices, we keep a track of where your devices are. For example, if you have lost your phone, we will be able to track your phone’s location to help you find it.

How serious are you with your initiatives to draw Google Map users in to use your maps?

Absolutely serious. We want to give an alternative to the users and an option to experience something new. The app has been designed in a manner that it becomes one app for many location use cases – be it local search, navigation, travel, track and trace or location-based analytics. Consumers are the ultimate decision makers.

MapmyIndia maps come built-in with many top-selling cars and SUVs. Many car owners (and even two-wheeler owners) are already using our maps and navigation. We are working with all 14 car manufacturers operating in India. And with our tie-up with TVS, for the first time in India, even two-wheeler owners are being offered India’s best maps as an OEM fitted offering.

MapmyIndia’s aftermarket IoT products like Drivemate, Rover among others are very popular amongst the masses. We are platform agnostic. The aim is to proliferate the usage location technology whatever may be the platform or medium of consumption.

We have always welcomed competition be it local or global. It is our belief that competition helps grow the industry, by growing the market. We have been in the consumer space for more than a decade — ever since we launched the Personal Navigation Devices (better known as MapmyIndia Navigators) in 2007, which kickstarted the GPS revolution in the country.

Give me five examples of how your B2B customers use your maps to grow their business?

MapmyIndia is deeply integrated with various sectors and government agencies in India. Leading companies such as Flipkart, Ola Cabs, Toyota, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Tata Motors, Ford and many others already use MapmyIndia maps. Rather it is a matter of pride for us that most of the MNCs operating in India prefer MapmyIndia as the location technology partner of choice in India, rather than their global partners.

Apart from this, various state and central governments also use MapmyIndia maps for various purposes. Our map complies with all the guidelines prescribed by the government of India. Our maps are the only digital maps in India that offer house level data. We have successfully connected the last mile.

How are you doing in terms of business? 

We have been growing in terms of our revenue on a year on year basis for last many years. Our customer and consumer base has increased multi-fold in the last couple of years. We thank our customers and partners for their trust in us and building long-term engagement models.

On the technology front, we have doubled up our investments and are ready to serve consumers, corporates and government to achieve our mission of making the world better through maps and location technology.

What are your focus areas and investment priorities moving forward? Why do you want to transform into a data company?

MapmyIndia’s products and business revolve around maps, navigation, telematics and analytics. MapmyIndia is an ISO & CMMI certified company that pioneered digital mapping in India. The company has crossed multiple stages of evolution since its inception. From being a mapping company till 2004 (MapmyIndia 1.0) to GPS navigation company (MapmyIndia 2.0) and then, a location-based IoT company (MapmyIndia  3.0). The next big thing is data and MapmyIndia 4.0, transformation into a data platform company.

The world around us is undergoing a fundamental change, transforming the way we live, work, and play. Data has become critical to all aspects of human life over the course. It has changed how we are educated and entertained, and it informs the way we experience people, business, and the wider world around us.

MapmyIndia is trying to bridge the gap between physical and digital world, with its Live Data Platform, which is the next big thing for MapmyIndia 4.0. It gives insights to the new generation of subversive maps that are 3D, real-time maps. There are live maps with sensors giving real-time data of the 360-degree panoramic real view, along with live traffic data, probe data — essentially big data.

We focus on big data, which is the core component and makes location as an important inclusion, in the digital India stack. This includes high definition maps, laser maps, point cloud, autonomous vehicles, machine learning, predictive analysis, navigation, and innovative technologies created at MapmyIndia to build disruptive solutions. Our next generation solutions, among others, include ADAS maps i.e the Advance driving assistance. Taking the lead from ADAS maps, MapmyIndia is building road trajectory that will empower autonomous cars. The gears in the engine would change automatically because the cars will have road information of its route. The creation of Indoor maps for malls and museums will help to walk through virtually or physically at 1 cm accuracy with panoramic maps.

Data has always been at the core of MapmyIndia. The company has been continuously collecting, processing and maintaining its maps and data over years of its existence. As a result of its strong footprint in IoT, devices, sensors and other connected devices generate enormous and dynamically structured, unstructured data on a real-time basis, this data is churned out by the ‘Live Data Platform’ to derive actionable insights and useful information.

Our focus is to invest more and more in technology which will revolve around real-time big data analytics, and ensure that we delight our consumers with the all-new MapmyIndia map app.

Where do you see MapmyIndia five years down the line?

Our endeavour has been and would always be to create value for all our stakeholders – consumers, partners, shareholder, etc. while being a fundamentally robust and profitable operation. I see MapmyIndia successfully transforming into a data platform and maintaining her dominance in the field with a wide and varied consumer base. MapmyIndia would continue to bring the best technologies and solutions for the Indian consumer and contribute towards the Make in India mission.

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  1. Great to know that an Indian Entrepreneur dares to think and take on an American Giant and claims to have a potential to be an alternative to Google Maps. He is getting ready to disrupt the datas pace by building the data platforms and location intelligent offerings. Way to Go!

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  1. Great to know that an Indian Entrepreneur dares to think and take on an American Giant and claims to have a potential to be an alternative to Google Maps. He is getting ready to disrupt the datas pace by building the data platforms and location intelligent offerings. Way to Go!