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INRIX Driving Next Gen Traffic, Cloud Delivery Platforms

by Roger Lanctot | Jul 25, 2011

INRIX looks to put more distance between itself and competitors in the traffic business, even as it leverages those traffic reporting connections to build its cloud-based traveler service platform. The company announced $37M in new funding from VC Kleiner Perkins today intended for global expansion, acquisition efforts and expansion of its mobile apps business.

INRIX already boasts a network of 10M GPS-enabled vehicles; and 100M+ users in 22 countries; and 150+ customers.  But what is more important is that INRIX is in the forefront of traffic product development, deployment and innovation.  The company’s pioneering advances in the past year include:

  • The first pan-European launch of a TPEG over IP real-time traffic service - via Audi Connect
  • In app community traffic reporting integrated with live traffic feeds on Navigon's Traffic4all, Harman's Aha Radio and other private label apps developed by INRIX and its partners
  • Predictive travel times function - when does one have to leave to arrive by a particular time - on Ford's SYNC Traffic, Directions and Information feature

In all, INRIX has more than 18 traffic-related service offerings with more to come.  The latest innovation available via Ford’s SYNC Destinations mobile app is the ability to see instantly how the current traffic picture differs from the norm.  In other words, INRIX’s traffic service can alert a user instantly to important traffic anomalies.  This feature intuitively recognizes the frustration of a red-green-yellow-coded map that tends to look the same at particular times of the day. 

This kind of intuitive service innovation is the mark of an industry leader and the kind of continuous product enhancement that investors are interested in fostering.  And given the challenge of improving on existing traffic data solutions and raising and fulfilling customer expectations for traffic data services, INRIX's achievement is non-trivial as it has consistently delivered new solutions.

The two biggest areas of product development and industry leadership for INRIX are two-way traffic reporting – enabling traffic information users to report road conditions in real-time – and cloud delivery of traveler information.  While companies from ITIS Holdings (UK), ASF (France), viaSuisse (Switzerland), CarVP (China) and Waze (Israel) have all brought two-way traffic reporting functionality to mobile environments, INRIX has made the most progress in reaching the widest audience of actual reporters including such platforms as Pioneer’s AppRadio, Harman’s Aha Radio and Navigon.

INRIX’s hallmark is predictive traffic services.  Two-way traffic reporting is just beginning to emerge and find its way into telematics systems, such as Audi's Audi Connect.  The next phase of development for INRIX is broadening of its cloud portfolio into more content and services even as the company brings its solution to new geographies.

Implications:

The next stage of traffic industry development will be defined by clever passive floating vehicle probe data solutions derived from smartphone apps, portable navigation devices from TomTom and Garmin, and embedded consumer telematics systems.  Even more important will be the added traffic condition reporting influence of active traffic data users reporting on road conditions in real-time.

INRIX has already met that challenge on multiple mobile and embedded devices and systems.  Nokia Navteq's acquisition of Trapster was a clear indication that the company shares that objective.  Beyond enhanced traffic reporting will be traffic-enhanced routing.  (Good routing requies good traffic data.)  And INRIX's focus on traveler services will likely add advertising and sponsorships to the mix.

INRIX's ability to support real-time connected traffic services will give the company a privileged position in a traffic services future characterized by location awareness.  Further traffic enhancements will likely include integration of video, image recognition technology and multi-platform solutions.  It will be a great ride.  Are we there yet?

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