HERE Technologies’ Partnership with AWS Highlights Growing Role of Cloud Providers in Providing Supply Chain Visibility

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By Tancred Taylor | 2Q 2022 | IN-6572

The partnership between HERE and AWS will further expand HERE’s supply chain applications and solutions. HERE has its eyes set on the ultimate goal of providing a supply chain digital twin and bringing all of supply chain visibility under a single umbrella.

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Upscaling the Hyperscaler Relationship


Earlier in May 2022, location specialist HERE Technologies announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Through the partnership, “HERE will list its supply chain solutions in AWS Marketplace,” and “HERE will work with AWS to bring to market advanced capabilities for T&L [Transportation & Logistics] participants to leverage, such as warehouse and yard management, predictive ETA calculations, and CO2 fleet emission solutions.”

A partnership was previously in place since 2018, but it covered fairly limited bases. Aspects where the companies have come together in the past have included HERE facilitating for developers the integration of its location services within applications developed on AWS (2018); and AWS facilitating the use of mapping, positioning, and geofencing location services by HERE (January 2021). What is exciting about the latest announcement is that the partnership will not cover a small number of horizontal location features, but instead will push HERE’s broader supply chain applications and solutions, an area which the company has been expanding greatly over the past couple of years.

A New Entrant to the Supply Chain Visibility Market


HERE’s Track & Trace products for the supply chain is an area in which the company has clearly been putting some considerable thought. Last year, the company saw growing uptake in both its Shipment Visibility and Asset Tracking products, with each one broadly targeting the tracking/monitoring of in-transit cargo and supply chain equipment/assets, respectively. Not only do these solutions provide isolated visibility into assets and shipments using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, but the company is further looking to include logistics and carrier aggregation capabilities (where it will have a number of very fast-growing competitors). Many of the promised future “advanced capabilities” of yard management, predictive Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fleet emission solutions are very familiar to those following the carrier aggregation space. The combination of IoT-based visibility with a carrier aggregation approach will allow HERE to provide full visibility into moving goods and assets in-transit through the supply chain, as well as facilitate aggregation and disaggregation between the different levels of assets moving through the supply chain. Where HERE has the ability to go beyond traditional players in the supply chain visibility market is threefold:

  1. HERE has a very large customer base, not only with automotive manufacturers where it had its start, but also with fleet operators, Logistics Service Providers (LSPs), and shippers operating their own supply chain assets. The company will hope to use this existing client base as an easy way to enter the supply chain visibility market.
  2. The company offers a large number of other applications in addition to its dedicated Shipment and Asset Visibility offerings. These include indoor and outdoor location services for goods moving in-transit, in yards, in warehouses, and in other facilities; private mapping of facilities and campuses; fleet management capabilities; and industry-leading routing, among others. This means that it can provide not only one aspect of supply chain visibility, as many Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) currently do; instead, it can provide the mapping and location services for the entire End-to-End (E2E) supply chain.
  3. The company has a clearly-defined status as the “location specialist.” It does not intend to expand into any of the supply chain execution functions that Warehouse Management System (WMS), Yard Management System (YMS), and Transportation Management System (TMS) vendors specialize in, but can instead focus on being the pure-play visibility provider. HERE already integrates with many of the major vendors to this end, and the partnership with AWS is designed to broaden its ability to integrate with those types of vendors.

These three aspects together mean that HERE has a strong market position from which it can create what supply chain visibility vendors see as the ultimate goal, namely the supply chain digital twin. One of the developments that the partnership with AWS signals is a shift in dynamics for supply chain visibility software. Hitherto, startups have rocketed upward and changed what is possible within the supply chain. Now that the value and approach has been proven and the industry is showing significant interest in investing in this new category of software, HERE is leveraging its bulk to muscle in on some of the action as well. The startups created the market in the past 8 to 10 years; now they will have to fight with larger incumbents to maintain their place.

From AWS’ perspective, this announcement is not surprising either. Many enterprise systems, including TMS, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), WMS, control towers, and others, are shifting their operations to the cloud, among other reasons to facilitate scalability, integration, data analysis, and data sharing. As these companies carry out their cloud-shift, they do not want to find themselves alone within that cloud, so cloud vendors are building their ecosystem of tools and plug-and-play software that can easily be integrated into those enterprise systems. The hyperscaler then provides a critical role in facilitating the joining of parts of the ecosystem that have traditionally been difficult to bring together. The result is that these hyperscalers are competing to provide the most attractive and thriving marketplace that can provide any functionality developers and customers desire. This has already been seen with Google Cloud’s partnership with project44 and Blume Global, or Microsoft Azure’s partnerships with Overhaul and C.H. Robinson, with each providing valuable data streams for customers and solution providers to build the supply chain digital twin mentioned earlier. The twin data can then be used for further advanced analytics by the cloud solution provider, or be easily ingested into a customer’s existing enterprise system where it can be actioned.

Bringing It All Together


HERE is making the right noises for entering the supply chain visibility market. It has a strong product lineup and a strong global presence, which will enable it to provide features that very few companies are currently able to match, and none within a single platform. The company’s vision for the supply chain is strong, encompassing not purely cargo tracking or pallet tracking, as many vendors have focused on thus far, but on bringing all of supply chain visibility under a single umbrella: indoors and outdoors, in-transit and in-facilities, and data from multiple sources. To establish itself as a leader, HERE will need to understand the particular dynamics at play within the supply chain visibility market. This will involve understanding how HERE can offer its products together for a holistic solution; what segments and industries within the market have a need, and how those needs vary based on their unique requirements; what features, dashboards, or services provide the most value to customers currently; and how HERE can leverage its strengths to demonstrate value against its current competitors.



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