One business which I’ve mentioned in teaching is Tom-Tom, interesting because its products represent a practical use of location-based systems and I think could be the key to harnessing mobile data. However Tom-Tom announced a dramatic loss earlier this year. The article at suggests that over-paying for the mapping company Tele-Atlas was on bad move, but another is that Tom-Tom is focused on a standard product and is being squeezed by smart phones and by systems built into cars.

My reading of this is that Tom-Tom is in danger of falling into a common trap for technology companies: it’s seen as the best with a particular type of technology, but has difficulty adapting to the next generation. Superficially that’s puzzling because Tom-Tom should be well placed to offer both add-ons for phones and built-in systems for car manufacturers. Or maybe look for a market where people are looking to upgrade their systems in some way.

Personally I’m slightly resistant to sat-navs, at least in cars, as I think they’re just another distraction. And I really don’t like the idea of using a smartphone as a navigation system while driving, if only because my attitude to the use of phones while driving is rather similar to that expressed by the TV critic Sam Wollaston in


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One Response to “Tom-Tom”

  1. David Barry Says:

    Whikle the TOm TOm is clearly at risk from smartphones I am interested in the disruptive effects of sat nav (especially as it improves) on two areas. Black Cabs. Will the “knowledge” be obsolete? And also postal services. Will our addresses cease to be postcode plus door number and become an actual physical location on a sat nav system used by a post person?

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