TrafficCast was awarded the contract a few weeks ago while everybody expected it would be won by Seattle-based INRIX, the usual partner of TomTom in the United States for all previous, RDS TMC-enabled Personal Navigation Devices.
This traffic service will be based on version 2.0 of Trafficcast’s Dynaflow which is launched this week at the CTIA tradeshow. Through a partnership with OPIS, TrafficCast is also providing real-time gas prices to TomTom.
This choice might be explained by the fact INRIX is competing with TomTom in Europe where the Dutch company has its own traffic service (HD Traffic) it expects to sell to car manufacturers. However, this partnership with TrafficCast might also be a short one since TomTom is looking at launching its own HD Traffic service across the United States. It has been in talk with several American wireless carriers for more than a year. These discussions could bear fruits sooner than later even if the implementation could take up to a year once the contract is signed.
Unlike the navigation market which has been concentrating heavily in the last year or two it seems the traffic business has not yet reached this level of concentration. Even if NAVTEQ and INRIX remain the biggest players today, TrafficCast is demonstrating it can also play in the big league in swapping a key navigation brand. TrafficCast customers also include Yahoo! and Google and CEO Neal Campbell indicated to GPS Business News that his company has engaged in “serious talks with a major North American handset navigation supplier”.
In addition, TomTom is preparing its HD traffic service and Networks in Motion, a leading provider of handset navigation, has bought TrafficGauge to build its own service, using its millions of users as traffic probes. 2009 is definitely seeing the opening of this market to more players than INRIX and NAVTEQ, which is likely to ignite some price pressure brought by new entrants.