“HERE” is the name of Nokia’s new brand.

Unlike Ovi a couple of years ago, this brand will speak for itself. This is all about interaction with places around you, about context. Thanks to a best-of-breed product experience, Nokia is well positioned to deliver the most differentiated location experience.

During “Mapplegate” at the launch of iOS 6, my colleague Ted Schadler explained why it was a strategic imperative for Apple to do its own maps. However, at that time, most consumers and observers were comparing only Apple and Google Maps. The harsh reality was that Nokia couldn’t leverage its strength in the location-based space without an umbrella brand like “here.”

Make no mistake: This is not “HERE by Nokia” or any other form of sub-brand. This is an independent brand. Why? Because the opportunity is bigger than just Nokia.

This is about addressing different types of connected devices — not just mobile phones but also tablets, connected cars, and wearables. As such, “HERE” could play a pivotal role in helping Nokia leverage tomorrow’s new mobile form factors.

This is also about addressing different platforms — not just Nokia Windows Phone devices but also, initially, other Windows Phone licensees, such as Samsung and HTC. That’s why Nokia has also announced today in San Francisco that it will launch an application for iOS 6, a partnership with Mozilla to launch a mobile Web version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year, and a native Android app and plans for the availability of a HERE SDK for Android in early 2013. This horizontal approach is a way for Nokia to license its content and platform to other OEMs that use the Android ecosystem, such as Amazon.com.

With this new brand, Nokia aims to become the indisputable location cloud player. Almost five years after its acquisition of Navteq for $8.1 billion and 16 months after the Microsoft strategic U-turn, Nokia needed to put together all the pieces of its “Where Internet” platform approach.

One question remains, though. Will it differentiate Nokia’s products and, ultimately, the overall Nokia brand experience? The answer is yes, but only if Nokia is able to offer deeper platform integration for its own Windows Phone devices (as per Facebook’s deeper integration for Apple’s iOS 6) and releases exclusive apps for Nokia devices (think of a Nokia City Lens augmented reality app for Lumia devices).

I think we’re just scratching the surface of the new opportunities that location data will unlock. To put this announcement into perspective, here are a few game-changing trends:

·         Location is a given when you’re mobile. Location is no longer just a service, like maps or navigation; increasingly, it is an enabler of new product experiences. Location happens automatically and, from the user’s perspective, invisibly. Location happens behind the scenes and becomes part of the contextual information you have available to create better user experiences.

·         In-location positioning is digitizing our physical environment and enabling new shopping experiences. The technology is now in place to enable indoor mapping and positioning with an accuracy of 1 meter or better! Search will be associated not just with a point of interest (POI), such as a department store or the restrooms within an airport; it will also be associated with specific information, such as products — suggesting the ability to include the positioning of individual products within a space. Retailers and brands will be able to deliver precisely timed offers and advertisements to users while they’re making purchase decisions.

·         The relevancy of local data is improving significantly. The era of basic POI information is over. This is no longer about just providing the name and address of a local shop. Enriching content with more accurate information on opening hours as well as real-time data (e.g., traffic information, coupons, promotions), product data, brand data, dynamic data (reviews, promotions), and inventory data will deliver greater consumer benefits.

·         Beyond mobile, predicting consumer behavior is a gold mine. Coupling more accurate local data with user context and other sources of information will enable developers to create new algorithms to bridge the digital and physical worlds. New models that link consumer behaviors with local data will foster the development of crowdsourcing and predictive analysis. Predictive and aggregated mobile local data analysis will open up new business opportunities. One good example is Telefónica’s recent launch of Dynamic Insights to help retailers with footfall management.

There is tremendous value in knowing not just where customers are at a given moment in time but also where they are going and who they are — in an aggregated and anonymous way, obviously. For product strategists, this new gold mine of information means opportunities to create new experiences based on location-aware services.