Google Maps became the standard for online maps, it’s rare that a website wouldn’t link to Google’s Maps. However, last year Google hiked the prices, some increasing 150%, over a year later Google is at it again raising prices on its customers yet again.
Developers have been increasingly looking towards alternatives and in a recent interview at IAA, I learned that TomTom was offering some very interesting services. Real-time live HD maps and routing for trucks and freight vehicles were the two that caught my eye.
I sat down with Louis Debatte-Monroy, Head of Developer & Enterprise Product marketing at TomTom to learn more.
The TomTom developer platform offers open APIs and SDKs to help businesses simply add a location to their application. On your phone today about 80% of your apps are using your location, so it’s quite important to developers. TomTom has been in the location technology business for about 25 years and over the last three years, they’ve worked on opening the technology to developers via the TomTom Developer portal. The goal is to make it self service so that they can open it to as many developers as possible, making sure that they can access services easily and affordably. TomTom offers many of its services for free, for example, if you’re developing for mobile on Android or iOS the map and traffic display are free with unlimited use.
Routing, directions and calculating directions for different types of vehicles is where TomTom is extremely competitive because this is their core competency. Their routing API is one of the most advanced on the market. They also offer a Search API that allows you to search for dresses search for restaurants, hotels and other points of interest. You can also put an address on location and the location on the address which is the concept of jQuery.
Traffic information is another area in which TomTom is a market leader. They exposed all their traffic data via the APIs, which is unique. Many of the players on the market view traffic as colors overlaid on the map. TomTom shares much more, they share detailed data about the average speed of each segment and they measure in real-time. They also share data about road incidents and what type of incidents they see on the roads.
When it comes to smart home Tom Tom is coming up with new types of APIs and functionalities around geofencing.
TomTom can route Trucks & Google can’t
Google will let you route a bike or scooter routes but if you’re in a large truck Google does not have your back. TomTom is able to take the height and width of your truck to find the best route. They have advanced parameters in their API’s also around fuel consumption paired with logistics data that allows them to do this type of routing. They can also route electric vehicles and are the only provider today that offers charging stations for electric vehicles with real-time availability in many countries.
TomTom is more price competitive and feature rich, it’s easy to see how they’d be killing Google maps in the small to medium size business segment! Mapping data is getting increasingly valueable when the quality of the map will be integral to aiding self-driving vehicles become commonplace on our roads. Google already has so much of our data and is increasingly using it for more creative advertising. In fact, they’ve already talked about the revenue increase they’re experiencing due to their price increases. Diversity and choice is important for a competitive ecosystem. We’re glad to see TomTom keeping the game fresh.