EUROBIKE 2013: 'Simple to use' GPS unit can be pre-loaded with recommended routes and other info, good for bike hotels & more.

Navad targets tourism businesses with customisable GPS

Navad’s handlebar-mounted GPS unit is "so damn easy to use", said company co-founder Gil-ad Arad from his stand at Eurobike. He was quoting the typical comment the device gets from consumers.

"Our GPS is fully featured and was designed specifically for cycling but it’s not as complex to use as some other GPS devices, it doesn’t need a user manual, use it for a few seconds and you’ve mastered most of it."

This simplicity is the key to the use of the device in the rental market, said Arad. The Tour B2B version of the device can be programmed with custom content, including photos, text, logos and recommended routes. Tourist information centres, bike tour companies and hotels with cycling programs could customize the Tour B2B with their own information, including recommended road routes or mountain bike trails.

Hotel Randolins in St Moritz, Switzerland, is trialling the Navad device for the use of its guests. Hotel Randolins markets itself to cyclists and is part of the promotional organization Bike Hotels of Switzerland, which lists 21 cyclist-friendly hotels on its website.

The Navad device uses crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap mapping, which can be downloaded to the device for free. Other GPS devices use expensive proprietary mapping. Route turns are marked by beeps, not voice. The Navad isn’t an A to B satnav, providing routing on the fly, users hook up with mini-USB and upload GPX files to the device. The Tour B2B unit is a stripped-back device but with the provision of custom info, supplied by the client, including GPX files.

Navad is a business operated from Cyprus by GPS entrepreneurs Gil-ad Arad and Alex Hertz. They founded the company in 2010. Both worked on car satnav systems but, as mountain bikers, wanted to create a cycle-specific GPS unit. The unit keeps a battery charge for up to 12 hours, said Hertz.

"The backlight can be turned to auto and will only come on for turns, saving battery life."

For hotels, tour companies and other businesses seeking to provide bike route information to cyclists, Navad’s Tour B2B offering could be a money spinner, said Hertz.

"Bike hotels could charge per day for rental but, more importantly, offering such a simple GPS unit is an added value thing for guests."

The Navad is available in four versions, Trail, Race, Race HRM and Tour B2B, all with three inch touchscreens. There’s also a mini unit which beeps for turns but doesn’t have mapping. The Trail retails for 329 Euros. The ANT+ compatible Race HRM unit costs 499 Euros. The pricing for the Tour B2B depends on number of units bought as well as the complexity of the information provided on each unit. 

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