The Business Case of Location-aware Applications

By CIOReview | Monday, May 29, 2017
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This has led to increasing demand for creating location-based applications. Further, location-based marketing has obtained a great momentum from novel technologies such as Geo-maps, beacons, GPS, sensors, etc. Technology developers and marketers are responding to this trend with a wild passion. The data monitored through this location marking devices and technologies is being interpreted to understand consumers’ needs and develop newer business models.

The concept of mapping data is not essentially new. Though Geographic information system (GIS) has been used for decades, these systems existed within a distinct crystal ball and required simplified applications aiming to spur greater adoption of location-based intelligence by traditional business users. They needed special training as it was used rarely by mainstream companies due to the dearth of skilled personnel and lack of clarity in having a well-defined business case. But the big data explosion in the recent past led to a plethora of new data types, with much of it being tagged with a geospatial element. Businesses are now wondering so as to how they can utilize this spatial data, and vendors responding to more accessible tools.

Recently, Forbes Insights conducted a review of location-based intelligence software and identified that vendors were increasingly producing tools for nontechnical users. The report said that the use of simpler tools drive location analytics throughout an enterprise including workers who conventionally had little to do with this field, resulting in better decisions at all levels.

The report shows how insurance companies use location intelligence to assess member-specific risk, instead of generalizing by ZIP code or county, and how the department of sales use it to target potential customers and ensure workers are distributed optimally.

However, it is also to be noted that the new generation of location intelligence tools are still developing and must overcome the hurdles. Though it might be difficult to connect location-based intelligence software to traditional business intelligence reporting tools initially, users may possibly have to grapple with pre-built connectors that have limited functionality or build their own.

Though location intelligence has enthused the mainstream enterprise technology landscape, businesses are looking for deeper, customizable feature to turn to specialized vendors for highly developed spatial analytics and additional data sets like demographics. These changes in the technology means that analysis software and spatial mapping is becoming more user-friendly, moving out of the exclusive domain of GIS professionals and into the sphere of everyday users.

The key applications for location data includes analyzing, enriching, and visualizing data. Enrichment starts with geocoding—obtaining latitude and longitude from an address. Then geo-enrichment joins the geocoded data point with authoritative attributes to give a more comprehensive understanding of it. The best example to explain Location-based intelligence software in the insurance sector is explained below. Geo-enrichment often involves adding critical information about the attributes of a property address, with details regarding the type and number of buildings on a particular parcel of land, construction, the property age sale values, residential or commercial usage, and more—and then applying a confidence code to that data.