One of the fastest growing sectors in the consumer electronics space is the GPS, or Global Positioning System. Originally developed for airplanes and boats, to direct their travel over a surface where there is no “road” to follow, the general public caught onto the idea of a system that could help them navigate from place to place. The days of stopping into a convenience store, or gas station to get directions to their destinations, has been replaced by LCD screens showing the path to travel. The “PND” or “personal navigation device” was born, and instantly gained market traction.
There is no doubting the fact that some percentage of GPS systems or PND’s are bought for their “cool” or “wow” factor, as having neat new gadgets is something of a hobby for many. But the savvy have found much better ways to employ the use of these tools, besides just having a new toy to play with. They are finding that in the business world they are saving businesses money. Lots of it.
How much money is lost in extra fuel expenses because delivery drivers can’t find their destination? How many man hours are lost each year as home nursing agents, wander around neighborhoods looking for their patients? How many dollars in lost revenue are never recovered, as delivery agents sit and plot out their next twists and turns on a map, as they go from one customer location to another?
The numbers are staggering, and that’s simply for the ones that we can quantify. No one actually knows the entire scope of the lost productivity from incomplete, inaccurate, and ill planned travel plans. The highway authorities have only estimated the man hours lost in a year due to “lost” travelers, not to even mention the extra gallons of fuel that’s gone out the tailpipe. The costs are absolutely staggering.
Well, NavStar Technologies Inc. plans to end a lot of that waste, and in doing so, to create a powerhouse in the PND space. NavStar’s approach is fresh in a sea of sameness, but it’s not different just to be flashy or “new,” it’s different to be better. There is a difference. While competitors in the space redesign their units to look different, they all function the same way, and in all reality there is a dangerousness to it. They use touch pads for entering the travel details such as addresses, and then displays them on an LCD screen. For a driver to make use of the unit, he must take both his eyes off the road, and his hands off the wheel. Obviously there is a danger involved there, and more and more states are mandating that communications devices be “hands free” such as blue tooth cellular.
NavStar took that into consideration, and makes the only voice activated, and voice directed GPS device in the known market. Not only do you “ask” the unit to direct you to your destination, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to “get” your directions. See, NavStar’s unit, named “Voice Navigator” is very unique in the industry, as it “talks” you to your destination, door to door. But if not having to take your eyes off the road to look at a little LCD screen was all that NavStar did, it would be a major breakthrough. But that’s just the most visible difference. The lack of a screen and its unobtrusive size instantly relay the message that this is “different”, but it falls far short of telling you how different.
By using a “thin client” application, NavStar can put this unit in the hands of the consumer or business owner for well under 200 dollars, a price point that is quite attractive to the consuming public, and a virtual miracle to the service business. How? By not having an LCD screen, those savings are realized. But by using a cellular connection to contact the main server, the unit can download turn by turn directions, specific to your exact destination. There’s no reason to have a map of the entire United States, when you’re only going from New York to Philadelphia, thus a costly hard drive is unnecessary.
If the ingenuity and safety of a completely voice operated system isn’t enough, and a price point well under 200 dollars isn’t enough, is there anything else that makes this product even more unique and desirable? Yes there is. In fact, there is a litany of feature points that make this product truly remarkable, and each one is more remarkable than the next. The server is customizable to unique business needs. The maps are constantly updated on a monthly basis, instead of the “once you got it you got it” maps of the competition. You have the ability via the “itinerary” feature to plot out and download multiple stops, an unbelievably valuable service feature for delivery dispatchers of all manners, and a feature not available from any of the competition.
Imagine for a moment, a dispatcher who sends a delivery schedule to NavStar’s server. The individual truck drivers hit one button and their entire route is downloaded for them in just two minutes. From the warehouse door, each turn is told to them in real time as they reach their destinations. Imagine the fuel and time savings of just that application. But again there is even more.
Ease of use, affordable, customizable, safety enhancing, productivity enhancing, always current, scalable, voice operated, small, portable , and a host of other bullet point headlines make this a blockbuster product. NavStar has a true opportunity on its hands to significantly impact the Personal Navigation Device market. Sales of PND’s in 2001 were just north of 250K. Estimates for this calendar year, 2007 is over 20 Million units, and yet none of them sold will have the features available in the NavStar units.
The market is exploding, demand is soaring, and NavStar stands ready with a breakthrough product to materially impact the industry. Investors looking for an incredible opportunity in a ground floor capacity need look no further than NavStar. Personal Navigation is a growing trend, and wise investors should consider growing with it. NavStar is worthy of a very close look.
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