CIO Review >> Magazine >> March - 2013 issue

BYOD and the CIO: A Location Impact Assessment for Enterprise Mobility

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Rip Gerber Locaid operates a location privacy platform that allows mobile developers to locate over 350 million devices for enterprise authentication, fraud management, and consumer location services and opt-in mobile marketing. The San Francisco based company has raised a total funding of $26.2 million from InterSouth Partners and H.I.G. Ventures.

For the last two years I have written a blog called Chief Location Officer. Why? Because today, mobile location-based services are mainstream. Most of your employees, contractors and customers carry a smartphone or GPS-enabled handset. Even your assets are connected to the network, from vending and ATM machines to fleets and pallets to medical equipment to drones.

Which means you can locate, track and monitor nearly any device, anywhere. And that poses big issues – and opportunities – for the enterprise. How do you keep your in-the-cloud data secure in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world? Who can you track, and why, without violating privacy regulations? How can you turn your customers and workers into information gatherers that you can use to reduce operating costs, slash fraud, improve efficiencies and enhance customer insight? How can you tap into all the treasures of location in a mobile world Chief Information Officer (CIO), meet the Chief Location Officer (CLO).Last month I attended a conference of information officers, and these four questions kept coming up. Here is what a CIO should ask a CLO on the elevator ride up to the CEO’s office.

How big is this mobile and location thing

Big and exploding. Of the 7.1 billion people on the planet, about 4.3 billion have mobile phones, according to the TomiAhomen Almanac 2013. By 2015, it is assumed that the number of IP-ready devices that will be connected to the internet will grow to a total of 6,593 billion (source: ITU). This growth cannot be ignored. It is a boardroom topic.

Location matters to the CIO

Because we live in a mobile society. Mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown 45 percent annually over the last four years and today there are twice as many mobile-broadband as fixed-broadband subscriptions (source: MobiThinking, 'Global mobile statistics 2012'). But what does location mean to the CIO? Depends on your business. I divide the entire location industry into 10 service categories. You may need to know about more than just one. The Big Ten are 1) navigation, 2) search, 3) advertising, 4)social networking, 5) entertainment, 6) people locator services, 7) resource management, 8) authentication, 9) operations improvement and 10) analytics.

Location and its benefits

Cost savings, Reducing risk, Increasing revenues and Enhancing insight. Your answer depends on where your pain or opportunity is greatest. The Fortune 1000 CEOs I talk to tell me their CIOs are digging in on the last five categories listed above. Why? The reason is mobile location delivers a new and dynamic data feed that can save significant operations cost, reduce fraud and risk, protect security and pull actionable insight into the product, marketing and sales teams. The first five are key for the front line and companies in the technology, consumer and marketing agency sectors.

Where do I get location?

Most people think location comes from their smartphone. It does not. That is just the application asking for permission, as in: "This app would like to use your location. OK?" The three primary location sources are a) satellites that signal with GPS chips in devices b) cell towers operated by wireless carriers and c) WiFi access points, such as 'hotspots'. There are other sources too, such as IP location for computers and connected devices, third party sources from Google and other data mapping companies. There is even NFC. The trouble for the CIO is grabbing and controlling all these sources. That is what Locaid, does. We are like the Amazon of location; we pull together all those sources of location through a single Application Programming Interfaces (API) and Software Development Kit (SDK) and make them easy to access for the CIO. Or you can direct the sources.

Top 3 Things to worry about with BYOD and location

As the CIO, you are trying to operate and protect your infrastructure and systems in a rapidly evolving world. Consumers are more empowered, bad guys more capable, data more in the cloud, mini computers in your employees’ pockets and purses. Top three things you need to worry about?

1. Never violate a person's privacy.

2. Fully vet any vendor or service provider in mobile, cloud or 'big data'. These are explosive industries and there are lots of bright folks with shiny new things that will not be around in a few years.

3. Stay ahead of the curve. As CIO, your biggest risk is stagnation. Your competitors are moving fast. Mobile is not just an app on an iPhone. Location is not just GPS and aggregated consumer data.

Stay ahead of the market. Learn more about location, because location matters.