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How to leverage geospatial data to map locations and add business value

The story of Robinson Crusoe who survives the storm and the wilderness is one of the most enduring classics in English literature. This genre of humans surviving in the wild against all odds is immortalized on screen through films like “Castaway” and “Life of Pi.” However, the emergence of GPS, Google Maps, and satellite imagery has reduced the meaning of the word “lost” to a fictional term. A large number of people on the move, from an adventurer to a top executive are using sophisticated street maps, satellite imagery, and route planners to leverage location intelligence and identify the area of choice. This form of intelligence combines the capabilities of geospatial technologies, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to visualize the geographical patterns, routes, and spatial trends to plan, map, and optimize the positional dimension.

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Location — The New Value Multiplier

Geospatial technologies facilitating high-end locational intelligence will be the catalyst for a smart, inclusive community. Internet of Things, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence integrated with spatial intelligence will transform the way we live and work. For example, United Nations Smart Cities initiative aims to create self-sustained urban pockets to combat the bottlenecks of congestion. By 2050, 70% of the global population will be concentrated in cities and planners are turning to information and communication technologies to create secure living zones for all.  Location data gathering is made possible through the network of connected sensors that delivers real-time information of community movement, utility deliveries, traffic, crime, etc. Geospatial technologies can use the power of IoT and analytics to provide real-time insights to manage basic amenities such as power and streamlining postal operations.  This form of data combined with market intelligence, demographics, and operational data can be used for building marketing networks, creating telecom infrastructure, or scheduling healthcare visits in smart cities.

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Streamlining delivery- Mitigating Risks

Global supply chain experts are also increasingly depending on locational intelligence. Amazon’s highly efficient supply chain is enabled through a plethora of sensors, RFID tags, and next-gen geospatial tools. Amazon’s delivery center has complete visibility into 680 million packages delivered with real-time information of its position on planet earth.

This visibility becomes imperative for cold chain operators wherein locational information necessitates quick actions. For e.g., if a truck of life-saving vaccines is stuck due to document holdups, then executives need to take action in split seconds. IoT enabled sensors can drive real-time asset monitoring to provide reports and alternatives needed to salvage the situation. The stranded truck can then be re-directed to the closest airport or land transport location wherein the shipment can move ahead. Spatial integrated real-time asset monitoring is helping organizations to move away from reactive actions or post-mortem analytics to predictive analytics to ensure cold chain efficiencies.

Location analysis- Creating the Impact

Here are a few industry areas which are bound to witness a resounding impact through the use of geospatial data.

Telecom: 5G is bound to revolutionize mobile internet connectivity. This technology is driving a confluence of digital technologies such as big data, AI, cloud, and automation, to enable seamless, low latency, high bandwidth connectivity, and bring in a paradigm shift in customer experiences. For transmitting high-frequency 5G waves, accurate geospatial data is a must since the waves can get disrupted even by the most negligible blocks (e.g. raindrop). Geospatial data can also boost location-based advertising, drive adoption of network-driven wearable devices, and help evolve new digital products and services.  New distributed messaging systems are also evolving which enables the transfer of large data volumes through geo-distributed replication to multiple data centers.

Automotive: The advent of digital maps has changed the way we perceive the world. It is now possible to quantify the time required to travel from one point to the other or to decide on the fastest travel route. Though widely used apps such as Google maps help in leveraging geospatial data, its real business use is in logistics and transportation. Key intervention areas include mapping inventory locations, analyze faster routes, track vehicles, and govern dispatch schedules. Location data is widely used in building safe driverless cars for collision avoidance, parking assist sensors, mapless navigation, vehicle localization, mobile eye implementations, and build high definition maps.

Utilities: Renewable energy firms and utility firms leverage location analytics continually to optimize service outcomes and monitor equipment health for optimal performance. Geospatial data can be used to track power consumption and weather patterns to foresee future consumption needs, and when synergized with IoT, it can help in the overall performance of power grids. A community in rural Vermont powered by renewable energy was able to save $200,000 at the right time by using location-based data.

Geospatial Intelligence- Empowering business

For tomorrow’s connected world, geospatial data will emerge as a key differentiator for businesses while building new products and services. This form of data can also be leveraged for decisive insights and enable smarter business decisions. The synergy of analytics and location intelligence can also empower organizations to delve deeper into the customer journey and drive more location-specific business. Geospatial data, when combined with customer profiles, can make your business more contextual helping in sustaining growth momentum and competitive advantage.

Nishikant Nigam

EVP & Chief Delivery Officer, CSS Corp

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