With the growing number of smartphones, smartwatches, IoT and RFID, there is a growing wealth of information for organisations to take advantage of. However, for organisations to take full advantage of this information, they need the right data analytics platform to take make the most of the information. Location analytics is the perfect analytics platform for organisations to take advantage of geospatial data that these devices present.
What is location analytics?
Location analytics refers to an analytics platform designed to gain insights from the geospatial or geographical aspect of business data. The branch of analytics is an excellent asset because it helps companies enrich the data they have collected from different sources. Analytics blends geographical data and business data to reveal the connection between geospatial awareness to assets, facilities, transactions, events and people.
Why should organisations invest in location analytics?
SAS experts estimate that data already has information on a location. However, location analytics is valuable to organisations because it sharpens and improves insight into various functions, like audience segmentation, median drive times and drive distance calculations. They can use the data derived from other applications related to prescriptive and predictive analytics for additional insight.
By adding a geographical location to business data, organisations can dramatically enhance the value of information. The insight provided by location data, presented in the form of maps and spatial diagrams, adds a whole new dimension to business data not found elsewhere. With this data, public and private organisations can solve several problems connected to the location. Hospitals, for example, can better understand the needs of a population-based on location and demographics. Similarly, transport companies like Uber have an easier time understanding and analysing geographical data.
What are the best cases to use location analytics?
Location analytics is an excellent asset because it is versatile and used in many industries, both public and private. However, in my many years in working with data analytics, I have found that location data analytics is at its most effective when used in certain industries and for a specific purpose.
Marketing companies and departments enjoy location analytics, in particular, by leveraging data analytics platforms – putting themselves in a much better position to execute smarter, more targeted marketing campaigns. Geospatial location data, context, ease of access and proximity makes for better and more precise marketing campaigns. Public agencies also enjoy location data analytics in terms of services dealing with traffic congestion, emergency response, offering social services and improving law enforcement. Organisations involved in manufacturing, distribution, assembling and logistics also benefit significantly.
At the moment, location analytics is primarily being used to analyse data in an interactive geo-map and presented in reports and dashboards. However, this is just scratching the surface. The rise digitalisation, mobile-enabled devices and IoT expand the potential of the location data analytics. Organisations can correlate with historical behaviour to provide a unique context to different trends. On the other hand, you can use location data to predict future outcomes, which can determine optimal locations based on demographics and resources. Location analytics enhances data and generates new insights that may have been missed out on.
Are there any challenges to location analytics?
Sadly, despite the immense potential for location-based analytics, it is not perfect. There are some challenges to address when implementing analytics. For location analytics to work, you need very specific information based on the industry. Longitude and latitude information is needed to find a location in a bank. If you need to represent a zip code, region or country for sales then you will need shape files to draw shape maps. Hence, organisations need to be wary about the type and source of data.
The potential of location analytics
Location analytics has the potential to change the way organisations operate. The insight provided from geospatial data provides fantastic insight that was not accessible before. It makes data even more valuable because organisations can work smarter and allocate resources more efficiently in both public and private industries. Data analytics for location data has the potential to change the way organisations work, especially with IoT and mobile-enabled devices.
Thanks to location analytics, organisations can perform several functions like cut costs, improve customer service, improve the return on investment and increase sales, all because of the insight provided by location analytics.