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HERE Maps’ Rebranding Goes Beyond The Name Change

Mobile-based navigation is more than just getting from Point A to Point B. It's about answering complex location questions, such as 'Is there an Uber nearby?'

A month ago, digital map platform HERE decided to do update its HERE Maps app.

Aside from changing the name to HERE WeGo, the revision also included several changes in the apps’ focus and functions designed to reflect the impact of on-demand ride-sharing services. That sense of immediacy was also reflected in the topography information for bicyclists and the real-time transit details for major global cities.

“We’re in the midst of a massive change – a mobility revolution – and the new app reflects this,” said Patrick Weissert, Director, Consumer, at HERE. “The first two urban mobility revolutions came with the railways and then cars. They gave birth to large cities and then the suburbs.

“Now we’re changing again,” Weissert continued. “Urban mobility is becoming an on-demand service. Increasingly, in metropolitan areas, people don’t need to own a car any more. Instead, there’s a fast-moving, emerging landscape of car-sharing, bike-sharing, scooter-sharing, car pooling, peer-to-peer rental and ride-hailing services — there are even providers now offering flight sharing!”

The moves follow several months after the several changes in HERE since being acquired for $3 billion by a trio of German carmakers (Audi, BMW, Daimler). It’s all part of a larger effort to differentiate itself. As such, the former Nokia property has been sharpening its focus on offline mapping and expanded services — something that has attracted consideration from additional possible investors.

In trying to meet these various technological demands, the theme of HERE WeGo’s changes is summed up in the notion of what the company calls its “Effortless City Navigation” program, Weissert told GeoMarketing.

GeoMarketing: What prompted the rebranding?

Patrick Weissert: We saw that mobility in cities is approaching a new phase where providers of on-demand mobility such as Uber, Lyft, ReachNow, Car2Go and Scoot are dramatically increasing the mobility options people have. For some, these options make owning your own car unnecessary.

At the same time, the fact that there are so many providers makes it hard for people to make the choice for their next trip. Answering questions like “Is there an Uber nearby?”, “Can I go there by Car2Go?”, “Which one is faster” etc. require installing and opening lots of different apps on your smartphone.

Does this represent a change in how HERE’s location tools have typically been used?

We wanted to make that choice visible and easy for people by bringing all the options together in one place, the HERE WeGo app. This is a departure from our historical positioning as a maps app, and hence we gave the app a new name that aligns better with the new service we are providing to users.

What was the impetus behind the tagline, “Effortless City Navigation?”

“Effortless city navigation” relates to the idea of bringing all mobility options — car, transit, car sharing, taxi, rideshare, etc — that are relevant to the trip together in one app, and augmenting this with relevant contextual information such as traffic, transit delays and weather. The goal is to make mobility choices and getting around the city effortless.

Being able to tell the estimated price of a cab or how long a transit ride will take are certainly of clear value. How does HERE WeGo access and improve that data within the Digital Transportation Infrastructure?

The HERE “Digital Transportation Infrastructure” is a solution to help reduce congestion and pollution in cities and countries by optimizing traffic flows through real -time traffic and transport information. It also makes driving safer by enabling a range of real-time safety alerts.

HERE creates this information on the basis of a variety of sources, including government owned transportation infrastructure, but also with information provided through apps such as the HERE WeGo app. In the future the HERE WeGo app will both allow users to report issues like accidents, and receive information about issues along their journey.

While the consumer facing aspects of “effortless city navigation” are clear enough, is there anything local businesses can do differently to ensure discovery on Here WeGo?

Earlier this year we introduced the “Nearby” feature in the HERE WeGo app, which allows partners to display their locations on the map in an efficient and highly visible, branded way. We will be adding many partners going forward that will create branded map layers, including

from local listings and search partners, and other brands through which local business provide their services.

Is there anything local businesses can do to ensure the accuracy of their vital in formation?

Local businesses can report updated or otherwise incorrect business information through the feedback feature in the apps and on wego.here.com. Also, if they work with local listings providers, or other local business advertising partners, it is likely that their partner is already providing that information to HERE.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.