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Entrepreneurship and innovation July 4, 2018

“It’s not just about autonomous cars. It’s about everything.”

By ESMT Video Series
Edzard Overbeek, HERE Technologies
Keynote Address
ESMT Annual Forum
June 7, 2018

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Edzard Overbeek


Good afternoon, everybody. It’s a distinct pleasure to be here. I’m going to walk around a bit so my brain can start to live with the audience and I can see your faces a bit on the messages I want to convey in 50 minutes. And to capture an industry in 50 minutes is quite interesting!


HERE Technologies is known by many of you as former Navteq/former Nokia Mapping Systems and many of you are using it when you drive your cars, the embedded navigation systems is, for 80% (  84% to be precise) powered by the data that HERE Technologies provides. That is interesting and that created a massive install base. And in December 2015 three of the German car OEMs came together and said “we’re going to buy this asset because if you take that 5 to 10 years out you start thinking about autonomous cars, then you need high precision in your maps.” So they bought HERE Technologies and that’s when I came on board and we started to build on that vision and say, actually, it’s not just about autonomous cars, it’s about everything.


Let me take you through what that means. Again, if you start to take 10 years out and you would be in a position to have high definition location-based services indoor, outdoor, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, offline, online, then you can start to picture a world outside where drones and advanced robotics use navigation technology to go from A-B. You can start to envision a world where ride-sharing and ride-hailing is no longer you pushing an Uber button but, if you opt in, we know exactly where you are, we understand what you’ve purchased, we want to offer a service, we know it takes two minutes and 31 seconds to come from the local store in the venue to the exit you took when you came in, and we can route cars in front of you so the experience you will have is as if you would have your own car but it’s even better because, in seconds, you would be on your way.


Now, this also offers a very challenging view because I can see some of you think “What about privacy? What about you knowing everything from me?” and everything else. Clearly, as an industry, I think it is critical that we take that very seriously and one of the things that we’ve built into our database is a standard where you always opt-out. So it’s you deciding whether you opt-in and you show that data because of the service you get in return.


So how are we doing that? Well, if you take a step back the database that HERE Technologies had about two years ago had 53 petabytes of information. It was distributed about six data centers around the world. We’ve expanded that, first and foremost, with a multi-cloud strategy because many of our customers – and they’re not just traditional automotive customers, they’re brands like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, BeiDo, Tencent – all the underlying map data is used from us.


We wanted to make sure that in the different countries we have data sovereignty and you could use the data within your own data center and premises or you could do that in a hybrid set up. That was step one.


Step two, what we did is we got unique access to sensor data in the car. That, of course, came from the partnerships that we have and the investments that we have from BMW, Daimler and VW Group; and, after that, many more OEMs. When you think about sensor data, you think about a car that produces a terabyte of data every hour. This is not just data coming from the motor management system or coming from your braking behavior or coming from how many people are in the car or which infotainment you’re using. These are data streams that create a massive amount of opportunity but also a massive amount of challenges because, economically, it is of course very easy to capture that and store that. But if you don’t have the associated use cases, you will never have a minimum viable product and, economically, your company will go into the ground because you will not have the structure to, basically, start positioning these services going forward.


But the access to sensor data is unique. We have 100,000 different sources of data that are coming in. Whether those are mobile phones, whether those are government-related data sets, whether those are industrial data sets – I understand that Airbus was on stage earlier – and other data sets that you, (personally or others are exposing and basically giving to us) to start rendering that into a platform approach.


Now, what does that mean? Well, "platform" is the most, I think, abused word in technology today because everybody that wants to be known or recognized call their company a platform and then you are there. Of course, you are not there. There are very few companies that really have a platform that is highly available, multi-tenant, scalable, infinite, and respects the different legalities around the world.


I think the examples come to mind: Amazon, obviously, is one of them and there are a couple of others that have been able to create it at a massive scale. If you take a look five years back, those platform companies were basically just getting there.


So now add location towards that set up and start to think through, in your personal business, any business case you have today. Whether it’s where you have talent in your company; if you’re a logistical provider, where you can track your assets, every second, indoor, outdoor, online, offline; how you can automate between the different ERP systems because your system in a harbor is different than a system on the roads, it’s different to an ERP system of an enterprise.

Location adds something towards the mix which is quite unique. We believe that with the sensor data from our OEMs we can now start to map cities at centimeter precision; we can bring those different data sets, both indoor and outdoor, to bear and you would start to see a three-dimensional graph wherein you can do navigation of everything; and I gave already one use case.


We’re working with one of the leading logistics providers in the world to start thinking through logistical delivery via drones anywhere where you are on the planet. So, what does that mean? Well, today, if you go to this website you basically order a product and then, at best, you get a window of about four to eight hours that it gets delivered. What if you would get an email or text that said “your product is ready”, you have opted-in for that service and say “I am right here and want to have it now”. And the drone lands next to you at a 1-meter precision because we know exactly your location, and it starts to deliver those goods.  Many of you will say “that will not happen.” Some of you will say “it will happen” very few are anticipating on this. I can tell you, we’re testing this in the labs of that company as we speak. So, this is just about to roll out in a proof of concept using location-based services and then starting to completely disrupt the way consumers are buying products.


Now, why is this so cool? Well, in another example that you’ve seen, probably I can share that with you, Amazon Go. A supermarket and retail chain that doesn’t do any checkout; I don’t know whether you’ve seen this but you basically come in  – it feels like you’re shoplifting, actually, it feels very weird – you come in, you put your basket full, you walk out. And 30 seconds later you get the bill. Now, some of you again will say “not sure whether that’s going to happen.” I’ll tell you, once you’ve done it, you don’t want anything else because it’s solving a major navigation problem which is queuing in front of the checkout; the most irritating thing that we all have.


It also is a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, location-based services, computer vision technology with a lot of sensors in that particular shop and the buying behavior of you. So, what if Amazon would take this, now, to the next step and you have basically consumed certain things, again you’ve opted-in for that service, and you say “tell me what is healthy for me” because we connected to healthcare. Now, suddenly, you’re not coming in saying “okay, what shall I buy today?” You’re coming in and they would advise you what to buy because they know what’s good for you; you follow that experience and you feel better. Ain’t that a beautiful service!


We’re at the very core of this. Let me finish on two more examples. One of the things that is very important in the business that we do is to really think about how you capture data. I mentioned that earlier. There is so much data available I’m sure that many of the speakers have talked about it and everybody is excited about it “we have data”. But to structure it, to tag it, to label it, to index it, to keep it fresh is very, very difficult. You need very smart people to figure this out. But, once you have that, it’s almost like an infinite index you are building because if you then shift your use cases to solving some of these problems that I shared with you earlier, you can very quickly connect it back to datasets. You understand the economics of those datasets and, therefore, you can price at exactly the right price going forward. And that’s what we’re learning more and more.


It’s no longer just having access to data, it’s what you do with it and how you create industry insights and work backward from there into your data lake. For those of you who are in this business I’m hoping that you do that because otherwise, you will have lessons learned, we did some of them ourselves, where you spend a lot of money buying big data sets with a big promise but, in the end, it’s very hard to combine it into services and revenue streams back to the company.

The last initiative that we’ve launched, that we don’t talk about too much and I want to give you a little bit of an insight there, is what if we would start to use an application we have called “HERE WeGo” and for those of you using it, thank you very much, we are about 36 million users, we’re smaller than Google, we’re smaller than Apple Maps but that will change. And here’s why that’s going to change.  We believe that there is a place in the market where you as a user would have an aggregated view on everything in the public and private transportation scene. So, what if you would have an app that you would use that basically compares your subway system, your bus-line, your tram, your metro, your private taxi, your Uber, your lift, your bicycle sharing in one simple set-up? And we could start to segment for you five-star drivers; electric rides only; fastest guaranteed ride – that will be expensive but we can offer it; average ride. What if we would segment that with your calendar? You are visiting here and you know tomorrow morning I’ve got four hours. And we would start to offer you a mobility service to visit Berlin. What spots can we do?


Think of that as the next phase into HERE Technologies and how we want to get known with many of you; not just as the traditional and better systems in cars; or having cool solutions in business to business, use cases that are shared with you, having access to sensor data in the car and many datasets, but really serving us as a society, here in Berlin but globally in mobility services going forward.


On that note, I hope you sense it, but I couldn’t be more excited about leading this company with my team. I think it’s one of the pearls that we have, here specifically in Europe, and I am so glad that we have an opportunity to start building revolution from Europe out into the world.

Thank you very much.


Transcript of the keynote presentation made by Edzard Overbeek at ESMT Berlin on June 7, 2018.

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