When Apple released iPhone, the world 1st smartphone with inbuilt GPS, the world changed. People started generating and consuming location data at a scale never imagined. As location data started to accumulate from millions of user devices, tech companies join in, building applications with location-based capabilities. Awesome location-aware solutions were built: From simple “where-did-i-park-my-car” type of mobile apps to delightful and efficient ride finding tools like Uber.
Today, ten years later, location intelligence is becoming the integral part of our everyday life and is dramatically changing the way we do business. Everyone knows that businesses today are grappling with the explosion of data. What’s less known, however, is the value Location Intelligence (LI) and the power geospatial analysis can provide business decision makers.
LI is emerging methodology for turning location data into insights, helping businesses make better strategic decisions to solve complex challenges and attain desired outcomes. LI is shaping businesses of the future by adding the location element to data. Because, rather than adding to the complexity of the data landscape, location has the power to bring order to it.
Opportunities and applications of LI
Location data is a key component of business data and it continues to grow as the use of smartphones continues to rise around the world. There is a huge opportunity to exploit that data to gain competitive advantage and more actionable business decisions. LI has the power to provide insights of where things happen, when they happen, why they happen and what should be the next best move for a business.
Among many other things LI can help a business to do the following:
• Quantify a risk based on potential events or socio-economic shifts.
• Figure out where to establish a store or outlet.
• Know where to focus marketing efforts.
• Understand underlying proximity relationships and trends in their data.
Here are a few examples of location data sources that businesses can leverage on to derive meaningful insights:
• Big data: There is a growing availability of data from every business machine, e-commerce transaction, businesses processes etc. that can be tapped to solve problems. The spatial analysis of this data can lead to increased productivity and enhance business processes.
• Mobile: Mobile users freely share information about their current location, where they’re travelling to, the mode of transport they’re using and even how long they’re going to stay at the destination. Smart advertisers are already utilizing this for the purpose of marketing by providing consumers with relevant content rich information and location specific alerts.
• Social Media: Data shared on social media platforms can easily be mined to extract consumer sentiment and learn where the consumers are, what they feel about a certain product or what they want to buy.
• Internet of Things (IoT): Household items, machines and a host of other products are increasingly getting connected to provide usable data. For example, smart waste bins can save a city millions of dollars by sending information when they need to be emptied thereby optimizing waste pickup routing.
How to get started with LI
Implementing LI into your business processes and workflows is the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur to solve you business’s most complex problems. Businesses looking to adopt LI and spatial analysis in their operations should begin by considering the following:
• Start thinking spatially: Think about it. Think about how location info matter within your organization and how answering “where” might help you understand your customers, suppliers, market, competitors etc.
• Perform data due diligence: Understand what data you already own, what data you might require and how location data can enhance it.
• Find a good partner: Partner wisely. Though LI has moved into the mainstream, it is advisable for businesses to turn to specialized LI providers for quality and depth. Geo.Appsmith is such a quality LI provider based in Africa.