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Nokia's Here snaps up analytics tech to advance mapping, navigation features

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Here, a mapping service owned and operated by Nokia that reportedly dominates the car navigation market, has acquired a new technology startup that it hopes will keep it ahead of the competition.

Seattle-based Medio Systems works in "real-time predictive analytics," a technology that sounds like the next generation of mapping solutions.

What Medio does is generate contextual data based on not only your current location but your current circumstances as well. It's like mapping data that updates in real time based on the user's tastes, preferences, and needs. Medio's tech could help you reach your destination while taking into account factors like real-time traffic conditions and your personal driving style. Businesses could use Medio's software to create predictive, personalized recommendations and data.

"We are entering the age of what I call cognitive mapping, in which maps will understand their environment and anticipate people's intent in order to deliver interactive and smart location experiences," says Michael Halbherr, CEO of Here.

"Companies from across industries already trust Medio to analyze people on the go to help them deliver more personalized services to their customers," say Brent Lent , Medio founder and CTO. Lent and CEO Robert Lilleness added the Nokia acquisition is a natural fit that gives their technology a much broader platform.

Medio's technology works thanks to a proprietary analytics engine that's based in the cloud and powered by "big data" — the real-time information being gathered in the world all around you right now. Cameras, sensors, and other connected devices are collecting mountains of this data, and Medio processes it into information that's useful. They've basically constructed a brain in the cloud that can predict what you might need before you need it. Nokia stops short of referring to Medio as nearing true A.I. levels, but one wonders how far off that might be.

The deal follows another recent acquisition by Nokia, this one of travel recommendation service Desti. Created by the original developers behind Apple's Siri, Desti interprets natural language commands and makes recommendations based on what it knows about a user and his or her circumstances. It's easy to see how Desti and Medio's technologies could be combined to work together.

Nokia says it will use Medio to take its Here maps "far beyond where they are today." They expect the acquisition to close in July. Terms of the deal are being kept private.

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