Location intelligence has gained much attention lately, especially as more businesses harness the power of this technology. Location intelligence builds on geographical information systems (GIS) tools, and its definition goes beyond the analysis of geospatial or geographic information. Here is how location intelligence will create even smarter cities.
Location Intelligence is the ability to visualize spatial data to identify and analyze relationships and trends.
The output of location intelligence is actionable insights that help both the public and private sectors to detect patterns and make strategic decisions.
Location intelligence comes from a multitude of sources, such as GPS systems, Internet of Things (IoT) data, and environmental and consumer sources. The technology is not one specific tool but rather the ability to use geospatial data to create business insights. As location intelligence grows in popularity, because its uses are multiplying, it has had an impact on an interesting global technological development: smart cities.
Location intelligence use cases.
Before diving into the implications of location intelligence on smart cities, it’s important to take a step back and look at where this technology has already made an impact.
The insurance industry.
The insurance industry has been leading the charge in the use of location intelligence. By knowing, with high accuracy, if a property is located in a flood, earthquake, or wildfire zone, insurance carriers can more draft accurate policies.
Furthermore, this technology allows carriers to take a more proactive, instead of reactive approach. Instead of simply paying out claims, these companies can help homeowners proactively protect their properties and mitigate risk by understanding the potential damage based on the area.
Financial institutions are also using location intelligence to improve fraud detection by better analyzing customer profiles. By matching customer locations and transactions, banks can better understand fraudulent behavior and avoid flagging normal activity.
Both finance companies and retail companies are also using location intelligence to send customers offers when they are near a specific store. Retail companies are taking this a step further by mapping customer behavior in-store to optimize store layout and inventory management.
As more and more industries harness the power of location intelligence, the public and the private sectors are also looking at this technology as a means to create better smart cities around the world.
Location intelligence growing smart cities.
The IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI) uses nine dimensions to measure the development of smart cities: human capital, social cohesion, economy, environment, governance, urban planning, international outreach, technology, and mobility and transportation.
The 2019 index (From the Business School at The University of Navarra) named London, New York, and Amsterdam as the smartest global cities based on these criteria, after reviewing 165 cities in 80 countries. Location intelligence plays a critical role in many of these nine dimensions, namely four key parts of any smart city.
Location intelligence can help with two parts related to the environment. First, natural disasters happen in large cities around the world, causing devastating consequences. From filing damage reports to opening lines of communication, location intelligence can help cities rebuild faster.
Second, location intelligence can help city developers better understand where to plan conservation projects and create green spaces around the city. The technology can also analyze air quality and measure the environmental impact a project will have during and after construction.
Location intelligence is crucial to 3D planning, which has become a considerable part of urban development. From the experimentation phase through construction, this technology helps make sure city planning improves the lives of those in the city and can also help to track and measure operational costs.
Technology powers almost every aspect of a smart city. According to IESE, (Media iese.edu research, University of Navarra) technology, “is an aspect of society that improves the present quality of life, and its level of development or spread is an indicator of the quality of life achieved or the potential quality of life.
In addition, technological development is a dimension that allows cities to be sustainable over time and to maintain or extend the competitive advantages of their production system and the quality of employment.” Location intelligence clearly aids in this endeavor, as both individuals and cities can use this technology to improve smart city functionality.
Mobility and transport
Smart cities around the globe are revolutionizing transportation using location and mobile data to improve traffic and congestion and optimize travel. City planners are able to harness location data to figure out where traffic is the heaviest, when, and why. Using that information, they can then solve these transit problems with new construction or more modes of transport.
Challenges: Privacy and security.
Data collection happens constantly. From ride sharing apps to food delivery services, consumers are constantly giving out location-based data. While the benefit of this is more customized services, the challenge is consumers are more aware and concerned about how their data is used.
Not only has customer awareness increased, but restrictions such as GDPR have forced companies to be more transparent in personal data collection. Furthermore, as technology advances, so do hackers intent on infiltrating these systems. Security concerns are widespread across the industry, and breaches come with heightened consequences.
On the privacy side, more consumer awareness might end up helping improve location intelligence. Consumers taking control of their data means smart cities can rely more on first-party data, rather than third-party aggregators who may not provide the most accurate data.
On the security side, this challenge will likely always remain and will take a combination of individuals protecting their own data and companies providing more transparent data use initiatives to tackle this challenge.
Location intelligence, however, will continue to grow and aid in the creation of better, smarter cities. Especially as this technology advances, and more cities compete to implement smart initiatives, more will come to rely on location intelligence as the crucial component.
Image Credit: Scott Webb; Pexels
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