INRIX moves beyond traffic information with routing and connected services

INRIX, a U.S. provider of traffic information, today announced a suite of connected services and a routing engine that demonstrate a new strategy going way beyond its core business, traffic information.

“Today’s announcement marks an important evolution for INRIX from being solely a traffic data information provider to a company focused on delivering customized solutions - with traffic at its core - for connected devices,” said Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO. “We are […] providing a one stop shop for location-relevant content along with a suite of developer tools for easy access to our content and services”.

Connected services

The Connected Services platform integrates INRIX traffic data and its newly announced routing engine with other aggregated dynamic content such as map data, fuel prices, weather, movie times and local search. INRIX has partnered with companies such as Tele Atlas, deCarta, Clear Channel, OPIS and others to aggregate location-relevant content and geospatial services. Starting in June, INRIX customers will have access to these Connected Services via an online developer zone.

The connected services platform targets automotive OEMs, personal navigation devices (PND), wireless phones and other connected devices.

INRIX connected services (Source: INRIX)
INRIX connected services (Source: INRIX)
“Time-influenced” Routing
INRIX also introduced today a routing engine dedicated to the navigation industry. This routing engine is based on INRIX experience in traffic patterns and traffic prediction. So-called “third generation” traffic engine, it is essentially based around the notion of “time-influenced routing”. Indeed, according to INRIX, most of today’s routing engine in navigation solutions take into account only the information available when the travel is initiated and not over time, even for long routes.

“For example, traveling from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe presents several complex routing options that span three to four hours of travel. With INRIX third generation routing, consumers will be routed based on time-of-day traffic conditions along the route when the consumer is anticipated to encounter it, not when the route is first initiated”, explains INRIX.

Improving routing in navigation systems? Not a silly idea
Improving routing algorithms is an area where there are still a lot of improvements to be made. While far to be perfect yet, it seems that the traffic data is definitely getting better, but the software engines supposed to make sense of it - for a driver that has to keep his eyes on the road – are very much lagging behind. Most of the navigation softwares available today have little intelligence when it comes to traffic. In many cases two options are left to the user: decide everything himself - with the inconvenience to have a traffic alert popping up every minute or so - or let a dumb piece of software decide everything itself - often the worst scenario, unless you have time for a “scenic” route.

Routing is definitely an area where INRIX can bring improvements, thanks to its deep knowledge of traffic information and its dedication to predictive data.

However, launching a large array of “connected services” is probably a bit of a stretch for a 70 people company that just announced a few weeks ago an ambitious plan for Europe. In doing so INRIX might put too much strain on its limited resources and de-focus from what it has been successful at: selling state of the art traffic information.

Tuesday, May 20th 2008

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