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CNET Conversations: GPS pioneer takes aim at the future of navigation

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CNET Conversations: GPS pioneer takes aim at the future of navigation

5:00 /

After you help invent GPS, what do you do for an encore? If you are TeleNav's Bob Rennard, you make it eerily smart.

-We've all learned to love really rely on navigation devices powered by GPS, but honestly, they've only been half baked until now. There is a new trend toward now doing GPS on connected devices that blends search, past preferences and even your future activity into the task of getting you where you need to go. I'm Brian Cooley. In this episode of CNET conversations, we visit one of the companies involved in this trend that also happens to have one of the fathers of GPS as its chief officer, Bob Rennard. We met up with him at TeleNav to get his view of the future through his knowledge of the past. So, where are we? This is your knack. What is that. -So, we're in a TeleNav chief network operations center. So the people that work in this office, in this area, and this one similar this is Shanghai are responsible for keeping our connected services for scout up and running. They can see how's the system behaving today versus how that behave yesterday. So, they can see if there's any trends they have to be worried about. -This is like [unk] Omaha 30 years ago. -We don't have a big red button, but yes. -You may know the name TeleNav, but they are not as well known to consumers Garmin, Magellan, or Totom. TeleNav has always focused on the software and algorithms that make GPS devices and services work, and while firm the first dates back to the beginning of mass consumer use of GPS CTO Bob Rennard reaches way back before that. Take me back GPS started when. When some ask you, what's the date, what's the year? -So GPS was a name change and it was build up merging some things that the air force then under projects 621B in 1969. -Uh-huh. -And a similar system that the Navy did call Timation in about the same time frame, but it wasn't until 1972 that the DOD so let's put these two together and let's get on with it. -The myth about GPS and this goes back to the very core development back in the days that it's watching me. So many false think-- that the satellite is up here. Looking down at you and tracking you. Does not how it works, is it? -Not at all. So what the satellites do is they broadcast a message which describes what at what time it signal is being broadcast. -And if you know that time you can also get some coefficient and say where would the satellite be at that time and then the little receiver you have uses just that information from at least four satellites and it figures out where it is and it doesn't tell anything back to the satellites. It's the applications that bring the location information from satellites together with a database of points of interest and a database of mapping to produce this product they all called the GPS. It's all like Scout. We do all that on the back end. We have the mapping data and the point of interest data that can be dynamically accessed from your phone as opposed to be resident on it, which allows us to keep Scout up to date much more so than a locked up product. -You know, it's funny occurred to me that maybe they shouldn't be called Scout, but sniper because it wants to put a bullet in the head of three distinct navigation states you use today. First of all, they have scout.me. They would like you to use that instated of that let's say Google Maps or map quest because that's where you would go on the computer to find things to share locations and such and of course a lot of us are gonna do navigation on our phone. It's the new portable navigation device. That's where you've got this Scout app. This phone app can blend the functionality or weather app and a mapping app, maybe a place recommendation app. You know who I'm talking about. It also memorizes that your home and work destinations and always tells you how far you are from them in current traffic, and then of course once you put the phone in your pocket and get in the car, that's where Scout automotive is gonna transfer control to the dash. Whatever the interface is, simple text or full LCD, and then can take advantage of the vehicle's voice command as well as do things in a contextual way that is safer and more efficient while you're driving. -I might wanna go to the theater or go to a sports event or go to a music venue, so scout.me, our companion website for Scout, Allows you to go there and find what's going on around you. Pick when you like and then navigate to it later and also from your Scout application, you can share it with those other people you'd like to join you at that event. -Now, TeleNav's scout is part of a major shift that I've been waiting in what is loosely termed the GPS business. You see navigation without search just isn't making sense to me anymore. And soon it navigation without personal history preferences and even prediction will seem antiquated and laborious to use. So watch TeleNav android services Apple's new efforts in nav and location, and Microsoft's expression of all this in their new blended windows platform if you want to follow the major players in how GPS is evolving. However that shakes out, I can't help but see a big upside for all of us. For CNET conversations, I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching.

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