Company hopes massive database, apps built on platform, will help it gain ground in smartphone market
April 04, 2013|By Wailin Wong, Chicago Tribune reporter
Stephen Elop uses an application on his Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone called "Track My Life" that records the device's location every 30 minutes or so and presents the information on a world map, with variously sized colored bubbles representing time spent in those cities.
Elop's map shows an outsize pink halo around Helsinki, where he lives and works as chief executive of Nokia. Europe and North America are densely covered with overlapping bubbles, a testament to the amount of travel he logs. Elop also sees the app as a basic example of the utility generated by tapping into location data — a major part of Nokia's strategy that is anchored in Chicago.
"The operations we have in Chicago are very much at the foundation of what we're doing with location-based services," Elop said in an interview Wednesday at Nokia's office in the Citigroup Center above the Ogilvie Transportation Center.
Nokia's location technology comes partly as a result of its 2008 acquisition of Chicago digital mapmaker Navteq, and the company licenses its data to makers of hardware and autos, such as Amazon, Toyota and Garmin. Elop said 4 of every 5 cars with an in-dash navigation system rely on content from Nokia.
The company believes its massive database of location information, as well as the apps that can be built on that platform, will help it regain lost ground in the ultracompetitive race between smartphone-makers. While it is still the No. 2 mobile phone company worldwide, it has fallen far behind Apple and Samsung in the smartphone segment.