Hema's HX-2 - Exceeding All Expectations
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The launch of the new HX-2 offers many new exciting features. We had a chat with Hemax Digital Cheif Technology Officier, Justin Derry, about the HX-2’s revolutionary mapping tools and impressive connectivity potential.
Q.What are the new developments that the HX-2 features that were not part of the HX-1?
I think the biggest change between the HX-1 and HX-2 is the vector mapping capability as the base map. Vector mapping has a lot of increased capability including significant changes to ZOOM and clarity on a screen.
The capability to have one platform across the technology is another significant change. Going forward, this means users can share all their data, technologies, subscriptions and much more, no matter what device they are using. Whether you’re driving in the 4WD and recording a track, or sitting around the campfire and planning a trip on the iPad, you can sync this back to your cloud and then share it across all the devices.
There’s so much more, like support for the HX-2 Reversing Camera and the switch to HERE Turn-by-Turn navigation with Online LIVE traffic if you want it.
Q. What makes the HX-2 such a good choice for 4WDers and campers?
For the HX-2, we took a lot of the previous feedback from the older devices and built the entire device from scratch. This allowed us to select better hardware, better operating systems and more capability from the device. We find it’s more robust with the new cradle but there’s also support for using a RAM mount instead if you wish. The maps are one of the key areas for 4wders. The detailed Vector maps are fantastic.
Additionally, the significant change in POI (points of interest) has changed and there’s now over 100,000, but if you look a little deeper, the quality of the POI information including detailed descriptions, reviews and services/facilities is significant. Additionally, if you’re connected to the internet, you can see photos of locations (a picture tells a thousand words).
Q. The HX-2 allows user interaction to update data. What does this mean for users?
The Hema Maps Cloud is one of the biggest changes in the platform, and is going to revolutionise the industry. Although we’ve not made any announcements on particular features, I’m sure users can start to see where we are going. We all spend a lot of time capturing trips and tracks we go on. We take photos and want to share them with friends and people we know.
There is the ability for the HX-2 and Cloud platform to capture all this information and allow users to share this. Right now, you can start to share trips and tracks via Facebook and Twitter, but in the next months we’ll be continuing to build out this capability, including exporting of data. There are also some fantastic new capabilities in Featured Tracks and Featured Trips which provides iconic trips and 4WD tracks and information on where to go and what to see.
Q. Given its many capabilities, what was the approach to development?
Now we have established HemaX Digital (the development group for Hema), this changes a lot of the ways we’ve done things in the past. The HemaX Digital team is made up of a mixture of web, backend and mobile developers and designers. We’ve moved to an Agile Development program, meaning that we’ll be releasing many versions and updates of the HX-2 (and all the other platforms) on a very regular basis.
In the past, Hema was focused on building a product and then going into more of a ‘maintenance’ mode with the software, just fixing bugs. Our focus going forward is to constantly listen to groups of users and get common feedback/goals/features and implement them. The team knows we have a fantastic foundation to work with (which was the initial goal) and then we can add in new features and technology rapidly.
Q. Finally, what is your personal favourite feature of the HX-2?
Hmm, so that’s interesting and probably not what you would think. Trips! It’s a big change from the older approach to HX-1 and Hema. The HX-2 and HemaX Digital now includes Trips and tracks. Trips are a different approach and there’s been a bit of confusion with existing Hema users, but the reason why this is a favourite is we all go on ‘trips’. Trips are designed to be on-road or ‘travel’ — we built these out so you can plan and drive your trips.
Recently I planned a trip to Fraser Island. I was able to plan the on-road component of the trip, had any stops I needed to do, and then joined tracks that were 4WD that I’ve driven. I can even plan a trip and then record a track over it to say this is exactly where I drove. The Featured Trips/Tracks feature is fantastic for those that are starting out and want to work out awesome places to go and what to see.