Strong Data Sales Jolt AND International Publishers N.V. Profits
Recently, AND (Automotive
International Publishers N.V., a Rotterdam-based company, announced
strong earnings for its digital mapping and data products. The company
ended the 2008 financial year with after-tax profits of 1,332,000
(US$1,764,495), even though sales had declined more than 20%. The
company also forecasted growth for 2009 to be five times that of 2008.
It has also recently signed a license agreement with a large U.S.
company for the use of its maps of Western Europe. Editor in Chief Joe
Francica interviewed AND's CEO Maarten Oldenhof about his company's
Joe Francica (JF): To what do you attribute the strong
organic growth in company sales over this period when all other
sectors of the economy seem to be contracting?
Maarten Oldenhof (MO): AND [Automotive Navigation Data] notices a
continued growth in the development of location-based services. This is
mainly due to the strong growth in smartphones. Big players in the
online market try to capture users on the mobile Internet through
location-based services. AND is the only independent mapping company
and we have profited from these developments by signing a contract with
a big U.S. company.
Currently, there are about 80 million GPS enabled phones; in 2014 there
will be around 1 billion. As a consequence, many developers are
developing location enabled applications which are sold in the popular
app stores. This is very good news for an independent mapmaker such as
AND, as you need a map for a geo intelligent application.
JF: In what
areas, such as LBS or other mobile applications, are you projecting an
increase in sales? Is this unique to the European market or are you
finding this true in other geographic regions?
MO: We expect big players in the online, mobile and wireless
market to try to capture a position on the mobile Internet through
location-based services. We think most of these companies will be U.S.
companies trying to capture the consumers in the U.S. and Europe. This
will be by applications such as navigation, child finders, local
weather, etc. Everyday questions will be answered, such as: Can we do a
barbeque at a certain location taking the weather forecast into
account? Are some of my buddies in town to have a beer? Where is my
AND wants to make these applications possible by offering our maps for
a fixed price, independent from the application developed.
JF: Has AND
seen a growth in the fleet and logistics markets (higher ROI) and is
the longer-term trend predicted to be as robust, given that the decline
in fuel prices may be short-lived?
MO: AND has had, traditionally, a lot of clients in the fleet and
logistics markets. We see the big growth in the online, mobile and
wireless markets. We do not notice any changes in the fleet and
logistics market at this moment due to the fact that mapping is more
and more available. Also, as a result of the economic crisis it is
difficult to predict how robust the fleet and logistics market is.
JF: Can you
explain more about your partnership with OpenStreetMap? How are you
leveraging the relationship to support AND's long-term objectives for
MO: AND donated digital maps of the Netherlands to OpenStreetMap
in 2007. Since then the OSM community has added a lot of detail to this
map, such as pedestrian areas, cycle paths, etc. With the donation, AND
recognized the power of a community and the Web 2.0 developments. We
call this Map 2.0, another example
of this is AND Map 2.0.
more about your strategy to augment your flagship products. How will
you grow the attribution for these data sets and what additional
location-based data products do you expect to introduce to the market?
MO: Our goal is to cover the world in high detail, not to add more
attributes to our current navigation maps. AND already offers a world
base map, however we want to bring this map up to street level. Our
first step is to complete Western Europe.
JF: Do you view
AND as a data company or an information company, and why?
MO: AND is provider of digital mapping data. The market sees us as
a data company, but operationally we are driven by information. For
making these maps we develop our own tools to produce each individual