Role of Location Intelligence in Business Development
What is location intelligence?
Location intelligence (LI), known as spatial intelligence, is defined as the methods and tools that interconnect geospatial information to business data. The aim of location intelligence is to identify the relationships and patterns of decision-making. Without a spatial representation decision-making process may be rather complex.
LI can be segmented by service, by geography, by organization size, by application and by industry.
Accordingly to Wayne Eckerson, President at BI Leadership Forum and Director of Research at TechTarget, location intelligence “enable users to view the relationship of objects in space and perform a variety of spatial calculations”.
A large variety of sources are needed in location intelligence approaches, such as Geographical Information System (GIS), demographic data, aerial maps and various type of maps. Furthermore, sometimes organization’s databases are needed to carry out the desired results.
Modern digital mapping and GIS are extremely helpful in a wide range of spatial analysis and calculation. You can use a large variety of tools to calculate the cost as: time, money and distance. You may also develop risk analysis for your business, using demographic and infrastructure data.
LI is a new frontier in the technology domain since these platforms have been designed for a wide range of technological devices. A range of techniques, algorithms, tools and models assimilate the entire range of data sources needed, both static and dynamic data sources. Static sources are represented by digital map database, while dynamic sources are represented by social data feeds or mobile app data feeds.
In order to build a location intelligence platform, an interdisciplinary approach is required. Numerous academic research efforts focus on LI topic currently.
Location intelligence and business intelligence
Even if nowadays business started to use location data, the value of geospatial analysis is not well-known in the business field. Currently, geospatial data has a growing role in business data and in the future it considered an essential component in business development. Using geospatial data, an organization can benefit from location intelligence software in order to observe how features having economic value are converted into cash for the organization. By using geospatial data, decisions taken as part of different business may become more actionable.
Among the most appreciated benefits provided by location intelligence is represented by the possibility of the organization to analyze their data based on different maps and compare demographic data with economic information.
Since the use of location intelligence and geospatial data in business has increased in the recent years, companies dealing as data providers for diverse business have been developed.
Nowadays, business intelligence and location intelligence become two disciplines which converge in the same direction. Maps, especially interactive maps, have become an essential tool in business data representations, besides charts and graphs. LI is more than a map, being a complex analytical system that may be a great tool for all kinds of business. Every spatial object that may appear on a map may have a wide range of attributes and properties. For example, a road may receive attributes like its width, length; build material, average speed, speed limit and so on. Based on these attributes, utilizing spatial engines that are part of LI, a wide range of calculations can be derived.
Location intelligence implementation stages
Four stages of location intelligence should be implemented, in order to consider that LI has been adopted. These stages are as follows: (i) visualization, (ii) segmentation, (iii) prediction and (iv) automation. During the visualization stage, data that is trapped into databases are visualized in order to identify trends that may be extracted from this data. The 2nd stage implies two steps: integration of business intelligence with GIS applications and ensuring accessibility to the data. The segmentation phase facilitates access to systematically organized data. Based on the first two stages, using LI capabilities you may go further to the third stage and predict the future using visualization and segmentation stages. Prediction tool allows eliminating the subjectivity from a decision-making process, using statistical algorithms to identify the patterns between the variables that are analyzed. The final stage provides the opportunity to utilize intelligent, automated and aware analytical algorithms that are predictive for the business. Automation stage decreases considerably the role of human decision-making.
Integrating location intelligence with business intelligence
The first converging point of location intelligence with business intelligence is represented by the business metrics displayed on a various type of maps. Using maps, business users are able to identify easier the tendencies and the minuses of their business. Moreover, dashboards and reports will be understood easier if that data is plotted on maps.
Nowadays, mobile devices such as tablet computers and smart phones represent common gadgets. Integrating location intelligence with business intelligence by using such mobile devices represents a remarkable facility.
If in the past the integration of GIS applications, mobile devices and business intelligence was a difficult task, nowadays using these applications together has become easier. However, GIS vendors have developed a wide range of web services and cloud services. These services allow business users to benefit from GIS facilities without owning GIS software.
Consequently, these web-based GIS and cloud services are integrated as GIS functionalities by business intelligence vendors. In the past, business intelligence vendors were using static maps to represent their business data. However, functionalities like zoom, filtering or hover are part in business data representation nowadays. Consequently, integrating GIS functionalities with business intelligence represents a simple way to add complete analytical capabilities to business dashboards and reports.
Domains using location intelligence
Location intelligence is used in our modern time in a large variety of domains, in order to improve the results obtained in all kinds of business. The commercial applications of location intelligence include fields like telecommunications, government, financial services, retail, education, real estate, healthcare, hotels & restaurants and transportation.
The word “where” is essential in nowadays business. We are sure you have heard and used TripAdvisor, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Booking.com, Amazon or Uber. Well, all these businesses are using location as an indispensable feature of their applications. LI applications enable consumers to find the best hotel, the cheapest shopping center and the best food in town. Location intelligence interconnects the world through mobile apps or Internet web-maps services such as Google Earth or Google Maps.
Without the implementation and use of GIS as a tool in organizations, analytical valuable insights are missed. If in the past GIS analyses had to be developed by GIS experts, nowadays a wide range of applications and interactive maps are available to all users.
Moreover, the trend of using location intelligence in every domain of the society is increasing and it will reach new peaks. Spatial data become more cost effective and the use of the spatial data will lead to a significant evolution of technology dealing with location intelligence.
North America is the leading market region for using location intelligence in industries such as Consumer Industries and Retail. In the forthcoming years, markets from Europe and Asia-Pacific Region are supposed to implement more location intelligence as business decision tools.
As we can notice, location intelligence has a growing role in modern business development. However, every location intelligence platform relies on spatial representation in numerical coordinates or vice versa. This spatial representation is called geocoding and the reverse process is called reverse geocoding. CSV-2-GEODATA or csv2geo.com is a complete tool that may help in batch geocoding and reverse geocoding. Utilizing CSV-2-GEODATA, you obtain the desired latitude and longitude by having the address only.