Q&A with Rich Rudow, Trimble Outdoors

Rich Rudow
Rich Rudow
GPS Business News: Trimble is well known for its Business to Business GPS solutions, but not really for its consumer products, can you introduce us to Trimble Outdoors?
Rich Rudow: Yes, Trimble Outdoors was launched in November 2005; our initial product, called Trimble Outdoors, was the first solution to offer GPS outdoor navigation with waypoints and national maps on a cell phone. It was launched on the Nextel iDen Network. Our goal for Trimble Outdoors was to leverage the technical know-how of Trimble in terms of GPS and wireless technologies to provide consumer products. When Nextel merged with Sprint, we adapted our solution to the Sprint network and to CDMA handsets.

Our product has unique functionalities that are not available on a regular handheld GPS such as those of Garmin and Magellan. For example, you can geo-tag a picture automatically with your handset. Rather than marking a waypoint, then manually entering this information in a digital photo file, it is automatic with Trimble Outdoors. You can also do audio recordings and tag a waypoint with a 30-second audio file directly on your phone. And all of this information – GPS tracks, geo-referenced audio and photo files – can be synchronized to PC mapping software. So you can edit your trips and share this multimedia material easily with your friends.
We also have relationships with professional organizations such as Backpacker magazine and Bicycling magazine where editors use the Trimble Outdoors infrastructure to post hikes or bike rides online. As a result, you can download to your phone tens of thousands trips from them and the large community of Trimble Outdoor users.

Geocache Navigator
Geocache Navigator
GPS Business News: but your product range is not limited to outdoor navigation, right?
Rich Rudow: That’s right; from the beginning we always had the strategy to have a catalogue of applications meeting diverse needs of our customers. And this is what we have today: the original Trimble Outdoors application, three new applications (Geocache Navigator, AllSport GPS and GuideWorx GPS) and an application bundle (Trimble GPS Pack).

Geocache Navigator is a direct response to a market need. We found that a lot of our customers were using the Trimble Outdoors application to do geocaching so we decided to build a product specifically for this rapidly growing geocaching community. Geocache Navigator directly accesses the worldwide database of geocaching.com. If you are a geocaching enthusiast, wherever you are in the United States, you can look for the nearest cache and search for it with your handset in just a few clicks.

We also have AllSport GPS, which is a sport and fitness monitoring tool. It provides speed and distance, calories burned and other data to monitor your physical activity and map your routes. We acquired this solution through an asset acquisition of Intransix, a Mountain View-based (California) provider of mobile GPS applications, during the second quarter of 2006, and have continued to enhance it since then.

Another product we have in our catalog is GuideWorx GPS. This is a unique combination between turn by turn navigation and outdoor navigation. You can basically start your trip on the highway and finish it on a dirt road with the same application.

GPS BN: This turn by turn application has been developed by Networks in Motion?
Rich Rudow: Yes. We integrate our off-road software with their state of the art turn by turn road navigation solution.

So to summarize, today we have a catalog of four standalone applications and an application bundle that offers a great value: our Trimble GPS pack combines Trimble Outdoors, Allsport GPS and Geocache Navigator and is available for US $6.99 a month. The individual applications cost $5.99 a month. GuideWorx, which combines voice guided turn by turn navigation and off-road navigation, is available for US $9.99 a month.

GPS BN: if I am correct your outdoor solutions are limited to areas where you have wireless coverage?
RR: Not necessarily. First, on the Nextel iDEN handsets the GPS is autonomous, so you do not need to have a wireless connection to get a fix. Second, on the Sprint CDMA network, some phones, such as the ruggedized Sanyo 7050, can acquire GPS outside of the network. Our applications can also download maps and store them on the device. In this case, the experience is very similar to conventional GPS handhelds.

Monday, August 27th 2007

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