AirSage to Use Verizon Wireless Data for Real-Time Traffic

AirSage to Use Verizon Wireless Data for Real-Time Traffic
Real-time traffic provider AirSage, has entered into an agreement with US wireless operator Verizon Wireless to use anonymous cellular data to enhance its real-time traffic offering.

“The agreement will significantly enhance AirSage's traffic coverage and accuracy by quadrupling the number of signaling messages” said AirSage. “when the data is fully integrated, more than 12 billion signaling messages across more than 200,000 centerline miles of roadway will power applications for government agencies, businesses and consumers.” After Sprint this is the second wireless operator signed by AirSage which makes it a de facto leader in that field.

Nevertheless, cellular data alone is not sufficient to build a strong traffic offering; most of the experts in the field recognize that multiple feeds from road sensors, GPS probes (fleets), cameras and journalistic reporting are needed to provide accurate real-time and predictive traffic information.

Google Maps and Westwood One (radio content) are today among the AirSage customers. However, the web and media markets are not as profitable as the navigation market where AirSage has no footprint at this stage. Today this US market is mainly in the hands of NAVTEQ and INRIX and, to a lesser extent, TrafficCast which just entered this market.

In Europe AirSage signed a partnership with Logica in June 2008 (read here). Nothing more has been heard from that front so far. Signing deals with wireless operators is a long process, in addition to that the two partnerships signed in the United states were with CDMA operators when Europeans telcos are all under the GSM system.

With this Verizon Wireless deal AirSage is ripe for an acquisition, the best way out for their investors on a market where small, independent players will have difficulties to sustain a business on their own.

Thursday, July 16th 2009

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