my ideas for Garmin
Garmin, is a diversified GPS giant. They seem to be everywhere but in a very conservative stand. What I mean by that is they make sure they are involved in a lot of different areas and segments but don’t jump head first (or wallet first) into a niche market.
My team did a in depth presentation and write up on Garmin. The presentation can be found on my Linkedin page.
The big recommendation – buy a map company. We think that Garmin will be leveraged out of the market if they do not buy a map company to increase their value added to potential partner companies.
The one place that Garmin seems to not be yet is healthcare. This was the most profitable recommendation of ours but not the most interesting to me.
The most interesting to me were the social network building suggestions we have for Garmin. I feel I can write about these outside of our paper because they were my ideas.
The main concept is to have Garmin provide a platform (including an SDK) to promote developer and user input and innovation. Garmin is coming out with the Nuvifone, their answer to the smartphone threat. Garmin offers great GPS services but they do not encourage same side network effects, which is what has made the iPhone such a hit. Same side network effect is when you have a product and it’s really cool and enables you to share stuff and do stuff with other people who have the same product. iPhone does this, Furby does this, Garmin does not do this. Same side network effects is what really drives user recommendations to friends. If I have a Garmin with its current functionality, I will say to a friend, “get a GPS, they are great.” If I have a Garmin with the ideas that I will introduce in a minute, I will say to a friend, “get a Garmin, then we can do all this cool stuff together.”
For the sake of space, I will be brief. Here are some of my ideas for Garmin (including the key slides from the presentation):
Shared Photo Navigation – currently Garmin lets you use your own photos for navigating but does not let you share those photos for others to use.
User Point of Interest Reviews – users could click on a “more info” button to see what others have said about a particular POI.
User Traffic Updates – hopefully this would be more of “two car accident @ exit 12″ rather than “this traffic bites.”
User Map Updates – Users can update the map and after a certain number of users verify that change by making the same update, the change will be incorporated into the main map.
Another idea is Garmin Caravan. This allows a group of Garmin users to sync their Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) before a trip and then have their maps synced as they drive. Users can suggest waypoints and send short messages via the PND and others can accept those waypoints. Ideally this data would travel over the cell tower network and since Garmin currently has 25 PNDs with MSN Direct capability this should be possible.
The last idea for this post is what I call Garmin Destinations. This would enable users to record their trip using an SD card and later upload their route to their computer so that it can be plotted on a pretty map. Users would also be able to add geo-tagged photos and messages to the map. This makes it an interactive travelogue. Users could then upload it to their blog and even better yet, upload it to Facebook. How great would it be to share your travel adventures with your family and friends using an interactive and attractive map. This is free advertising for Garmin. People will think, I could have that much fun and go on trips if I had a Garmin too.
In conclusion: Garmin needs to buy a map company, explore the healthcare market, and open up their platform.