The human being has been using tools to orient himself for thousands of years. Since the appearance of the first maps in Babylonia around the year 2,300 BC, the devices and methods of geographical location have been adapting to the technology available in each era.
Currently, the use of maps goes beyond determining a specific location. Location Intelligence applications have become a powerful tool for the management of companies and institutions. We already talked about the previous articles on Geomarketing and Indoor Mapping, two perfect examples of technologies that include Location Intelligence.
What is location intelligence?
When we refer to Location Intelligence, we are aiming at all that technology that is focused on providing value information from geolocated data, thus facilitating decision-making.
More and more sectors are aware of the advantages that Location Intelligence offers us, applying it in their processes. Some of the factors that are leading to its boom are:
- The current importance of Big Data. Companies have a huge amount of data with enormous potential that they must analyze and take advantage of then. With increasingly fast processors that allow the computation of large amounts of information, we can extrapolate unimaginable conclusions so far.
- The proliferation of technologies that allow real time location. Sample of them is the Identification by Radio Frequency or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), the GPS or the network of telephony antennas.
- The exponential development of the Internet of Things. Thanks to it, the objects interconnected to the Internet and among themselves can function more efficiently, being the establishment of their location a key variable for this.
Innovation as an essential part
Location Intelligence is under the protection of technologies that are already consolidated and others that are in full swing. This always entails a strong component of innovation, sometimes taken to surprising heights.
We can define the positioning with tools based on satellite location. These include the Global Positioning System of the US (GPS), the Global Navigation Satellite System of Russia (GLONASS) and the global strategic program called Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
Currently it is becoming increasingly important something known as Low Energy Bluetooth, based on beacons that communicate with mobile devices through low power signals. This is very used in stores and shopping areas to communicate directly with the customers who are in it.
It also highlights the Communication with Visible Light (VLC), which uses the flicker of fluorescent or LED lamps like the ones we have at home to transmit data packets. According to experts, this technology enjoys greater security and, in combination with Wi-Fi, it is useful to establish connections at a higher speed.
The union with marketing
Marketing can learn a lot and use Location Intelligence to deepen knowledge of consumer habits. The proliferation of localized devices, such as smartphones, wearables or even cars, makes it easier to track the consumer’s location. This allows obtaining data that in the physical world are not as easy to obtain as in the online sphere.
This marriage between marketing and Location Intelligence is so important that we can define a specific branch, Geomarketing, which allows decision-making thanks to geolocated information according to the parameters that are important for the company or entity in question. Thanks to it, we can see which the best locations for a new center are; the worst franchises work or know which areas are more popular with competitors. Geolocation also allows in many cases to interconnect data that apparently have no relationship.
An example of all this is the case of the company Y&R in India. In this country, the traffic problems caused by the cows, which are sacred animals there, generated important economic losses for many companies. Therefore, the solution was to place collars with GPS to the cows and reflect the location information they generated in an app with the name of Traffic Gaaye. With this, they managed to reduce travel times, gasoline consumption and the level of contamination.
Another case is that of Domino’s Pizza in Australia. There they got proof that their franchisees tended to choose the worst possible locations for restaurants. To solve this, they decided to collect more geolocated information, such as sociodemographic data, the situation of their competitors or areas of influence on potential consumers. The new franchisees saw better the value of each geographical point and acted accordingly.
We can also take the advantages of location to interiors, which is known as Indoor Mapping. Through this we can track the consumer inside a closed room, know where he is traveling, where he stops, for how long, what he buys, what he decides not to buy, etc. All this is gold for a marketing department. Thanks to this, applications can be built that allow each business to act in real time on its customers, reward the most loyal or encourage them to buy with offers made to measure according to the information we have registered.
At Geographica, we have already developed this type of Indoor Mapping solutions, using SITUM technology and CARTO maps, in which we have developed dashboards that make it easier to, make decisions and visualize information in real time. So we already know what happens inside doors and we can know what our clients want and when. This allows a much more accurate decision-making, with benefits for both the client and the company.
Public benefits of location intelligence
While it is true that the benefits and opportunities that opens to the location intelligence companies are very broad, not least those offered in the public sector, since it allows the decision making documented and in real time.
The power of these technologies allows us to know, for example, in which areas more crimes are committed, being able to increase the security measures in that area more than the others are, or data related to the flow of people and vehicles.
One of the main challenges that cities face, especially those that are growing at an exponential rate, is management control. The greater number of people and faster growth the more difficult it is to have order and make the right decisions, which ultimately affects the quality of life of the citizen, the waste of resources and general malaise.
Technologies such as those covered by Location Intelligence allow us to have geolocated information in real time, which is shown in dashboards to the people who have to make the relevant decisions. So we can modify the routes of garbage collection, calculate the fastest route to get an ambulance or know the areas where the pollution of the city is higher to take action at the time. Far from being fiction, currently Urbo, our dashboard for Smart Cities, allows to carry out all these and many more actions.
We can even go a step further and that Location Intelligence helps the medium / long-term planning of the city’s growth. Birth information placed on a map, for example, can help to see the needs of schools or parks in a specific area.
Decision making within a company is vital and responsible for the direction and performance of it. Location Intelligence helps those decisions have a greater base and support behind.
At the end of 2016, one of Forrester’s research established that one of the technologies most in vogue and with greater projection in the future were geospatial analytics tools and platforms, that is, those that take advantage of Location Intelligence.
It is clear that Location Intelligence is a transversal discipline, capable of solving problems and improving performance throughout many different areas, from giving tools to marketing originating geomarketing or indoor mapping, to create applications that make life easier for citizens.