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The Age of Location-Based Analytics

By CIOReview | Friday, April 21, 2017

Real estate, housing, hospitality, and retail sectors are all looking for ways to reap the benefits that location-based analytics provide, delivering cutting edge insights into the behavior of their customers and helping them design their next venture or product accordingly in order to serve customers better.

Geographic Information System (GIS), a major component of location-based analytics has been a niche technology, used extensively by government organizations, geographers and the real estate industry to increase their productivity and efficiency. It plays a vital role in carefully capturing, storing and displaying various aspects of location information, as and when the need arises. Data is captured via sensors mounted on planes and satellites, which is then turned into useful information to derive valuable insights. The problem stems from the fact that data should be made simple and accessible for common users who can make sense of it easily, rather than looking at complex chart and figures that is hard to decipher.

Location analytics is often a visual way of interpreting and analyzing the information being portrayed by the data when used in conjunction with GIS, but there is a flip side to this as the data is complex and not so simple and accessible for general users. Location analytics is business intelligence (BI) tool that links geographic contexts to business data and presents them as valuable insights for organizations to derive benefits from it. Such tools draw on a variety of data sources, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), aerial maps, and demographic information. Location-based analytics has been a great asset particularly to the real estate sector, as it helps them to get an overview and demographic details—like population details and the changing structure of the human population. All this information plays a pivotal role in aiding organizations who are planning to set up businesses in a particular area. They can compare the data with the businesses running in that area and come up with a viable option that would flourish and do well according the needs of the population in that area. It takes into account various questions, like, the best place to start a certain business, the best way to direct their marketing efforts and how to best use the real estate for the benefit of everyone. Though real estate has benefitted a lot from location-based analytics, its impact on other fields of operations has been restricted and confined to areas like housing and military.

The fact that might come as a surprise to many is that until now very limited cross-pollination and collaboration has taken place between location-based analytics and GIS. This has led to the separate development of both the domains and that is not a good sign for the future of location-based analytics. While, it is not an easy task to merge both the domains, but if merged together they can deliver great value. Technologies are evolving and with the convergence of location mobility and machine learning on one platform, the future of location analytics seems to be bright. In this epoch of IoT and big data, it is only a matter of time before service providers leverage these voluminous data and use innovative location-based analytics to derive benefit sectors across the board.