Location, Location, Location

By Samuel Greengard

As the digital revolution unfolds, it is increasingly clear that geolocation data plays a critical role in enterprise planning. The shift to a post-PC environment—more than 50 percent of Internet activity now originates from mobile devices like phones and tablets—means that more and more consumers and businesses use location data to navigate through their daily task list.

CIOs must take notice of this fact. It has implications for Web design, mobile apps, big data initiatives and more. It’s increasingly critical to deliver the right data and information in the right context—and at a time and place where a person can act on it effectively.

CMOs and marketing departments have already tuned into this trend. Some are using geolocation data and geofencing techniques to deliver information, advertisements and promotions in a more relevant fashion. Some retailers, pro sports teams and others are also using beacons to connect with customers more intimately—and deliver relevant information and coupons.

There are huge benefits to all of this. As Michael Boland, a consultant with BIA-Kelsey puts it, “The technology has the potential to completely redefine the relationship between a business and its customers.” In fact, as inboxes and message streams become more glutted and the competition for attention grows, tuning the signal to noise ratio is critical for organizations. “Right now, consumers are overwhelmed,” Boland observes.

Geolocation Data: For Marketing, Preventive Maintenance and More

Geolocation data extends far beyond just marketing. As the Internet of Things and RFID take hold, there will be a need to understand the spaces and motions between things. It’s one thing to track a fleet of trucks, it’s quite another to plug in data from sensors in engines, tires and other components and combine it with geolocation data. The latter approach provides deep insights into maintenance, repairs, driving patterns and routing efficiency.

Right now, geolocation tools are in a nascent state. But expect adoption to spike over the next decade, particularly as the technology and apps get smarter. We’re likely to see store shelves and displays that interact with smartphones, billboards that transmit promotions to vehicle navigation systems, and the use of geolocation data and social media to understand minute-to-minute changes in consumer sentiment and behavior. Connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication will further add to the data stream.

Whatever IT system you’re currently looking at, understand this: geolocation data will likely enter the picture in the not-too-distant future.

About the Author

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, “Banish the Tech Talk,” click here.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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