Maps are handy for everyone, but they don't show all of the information that a driver needs to know to get from point A to point B in the fastest time available. Especially in a large city full of twisting and confusing roads such as Seoul, navigational software is a step up from traditional maps in that it draws a line on a digital map to show its owners more precisely how to get from one place to another.
However, there have traditionally still been some problems with this new technology. Navigational software generally does not take into account very important pieces of information such as traffic patterns or alternate routes that shave time off the officially designated pathway.
That is, until now. Citus Co., Ltd. has developed the next version of its signature product Rousen, version 2.0. This product pays attention to where you drive and when, and learns from you. The software can suggest many different routes to your destination, based on different criteria. The officially fastest way, the way of the shortest distance, or the route that you took last Wednesday at 3am when there was no traffic. Terry Kim, deputy general manager of the Citus marketing team, explains it more fully: "If you look at normal mapping processes, it uses mathematical patterns.
But people are not like that. Let's say we suggest a routing from here to your office. We will probably suggest the shortest or fastest patterns based on highways and freeways. But if you know Seoul pretty well you know what is there rather than those patterns, you know all the other factors such as traffic patterns. Other car navigation software can't offer all those differentiated routings. Our navigation software actually tries to learn. If you drive once or twice through a certain routing it remembers." The software stores routes based on time of day and the number of times driven. It compares them to previous and estimated paths and offers up the best selection of routes for its users to take.
When asked if other car navigation companies had similar software offerings, President and CEO Lee Joon-pyo simply said: "No." Apparently, this is the only company that is producing intelligent mapping software right now. The second major feature of the Rousen 2.0 software package is internationalization. CEO Lee said: "Our software supports multiple languages, not only Korean but English. We are also looking into Chinese and Japanese." It is important to support these languages because the company already supports mapping in these countries and more.
According to Lee, the company is doing business in China, Taiwan, Australia and developing for the European market. They are also looking to expand into the US market, but have not yet taken steps to do so.
One unique application of their software that they have designed for is offering navigational software with the maps of other countries, and the interface in the Korean language. "So Koreans can easily have access to those communities and they can explore," said CEO Lee. As Korean people go abroad more often for leisure and to live, they can have an intelligent mapping assistant which is already familiar with the area and speaks their language.
The Rousen software package is used for car navigation software, but the company produces other versions of navigational software. Their Pocket NAVI software solution is optimized for PDA devices and supports both personal portable navigation and car navigation suggestions. On the notebook PC platform Citus has developed its ezWings software system, also for car and personal route planning. Finally, Pocket NAVI Sky is a PDA-optomized navigation system for personal aircraft flight path planning, but also supports cars and personal navigation, for those privileged few with all three types of transportation available to them.
When asked about the history of his company, CEO Lee Joon-pyo said: "The company was founded in February 2000.
Our first navigation software was released in beginning of 2002. The core brand product released in June 2006, just one year ago. Our new product is planned to be released in the middle of August. That's the brief history." The company originally started as a geographical information system (GIS) company doing governmental work in professional GIS software development. But Lee constantly thought about the possible applications for their data and experience in the private sector, and in 2002 felt the huge potential of the personal navigation software market. They began to focus on that market at that time and released their first product, Rousen.