Location intelligence is the business insight derived from the collection and analysis of geographic and geospatial data. Location intelligence often incorporates visual representations of business assets, competitor assets, and customer locations. The goal of using location intelligence in business is to get an understanding of the consumer and competitive landscape in a region to allow for strategic decision-making based on specific consumer needs, assets in the area, and competitor presence.
As location intelligence grows in popularity for business strategy, here are some key challenges that organizations often face in its adoption:
Maintaining the Database:
A key challenge when relying on location intelligence is maintaining current data. For location intelligence to be effective, it has to be current. When leveraging location intelligence, organizations must ensure it is stored in dynamic database that is updated regularly, rather than static spreadsheets, as has often been the practice.
Often when attempting to get insight into location data, organizations have relied on purchasing lists from various consulting firms of competitors and consumers in the area. However, these lists tend to be largely firmographic, providing information on the company or individual themselves (for example: company X has 100 employees) rather than their needs based on region. Location intelligence must provide insight into needs based on region, not simply what exists in the region.
Location insights have often been stored in spreadsheets that provide no visual representation of the data on a map. Moving forward, location intelligence platforms must begin to incorporate mapping features that allow organizations to see assets and routes throughout an area.
Key Benefits Derived from Location Intelligence
Track Owned Assets:
Location intelligence first and foremost gives organizations insight into their existing infrastructure in a given area. This helps to determine existing capabilities and how this infrastructure can be leveraged to build new capabilities.
Insight into Consumer Needs:
Location intelligence provides insight into the types of organizations in a region and what the specific needs of those organizations are. For example, if there are several hospitals in an area, location intelligence allows users to visualize where these hospitals are in relation to one another, understand what their specific business needs are, and map the most effective route to deliver a customized service.
Insight into Competitive Landscape:
Location intelligence allows organizations to see which competitors have a presence in a region, and where. This allows users to make strategic decisions on where to expand or avoid, based on the capabilities and pricing of the competitor.
Having insight into where a third-party provider serves can highlight opportunities for potential partnerships that enable organizations to expand their reach for lesser cost.
Data That Contributes to Location Intelligence
Location intelligence insights are derived from various data sources, including:
- Geospatial data
- Latitude / longitude
- Postal code
- Physical offices / facility addresses
- Aerial Maps
The Applications of Location Intelligence in Telecom
Due to its wide geographic distribution, location intelligence has become especially important to business operations in the telecommunications space. 70 percent of telecom companies say that location intelligence is critical to their success.
Location intelligence allows telecom providers to maintain updated building lists and provides visual representations of their on-net and near-net connectivity capabilities in a certain region. Having visibility into where on-net building connectivity can be expanded to near-net locations allows telecom providers to grow their network using the most effective route. Additionally, network operators can see who owns connectivity in their off-net regions. This allows them to find partners that will allow them to expand connectivity to these areas.
Furthermore, location intelligence will play a crucial role in ensuring network providers can participate in trends such as 5G and SD-WAN.
As operators determine routes for 5G roll out, updated representations of where current infrastructure exists is necessary. SD-WAN is becoming the preferred solution over MPLS to connect wide area networks across locations. As one provider is not able to connect to all of these locations, providers must work with access networks enabling each underlying network to be connected together as one SD-WAN.
The Future of Location Intelligence
The use of location intelligence in business operations is becoming more common. Moving forward, we can expect the following innovations:
- Moving location intelligence to cloud-based platforms rather than on-premises
- Integrations with GIS technology such as Google, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.
- Increased use of location intelligence and GIS data in sales and marketing departments