Location intelligence: it's time to tap into the untold revenue we all generate as we move

74% of consumers with smartphones now use location-based services: but some businesses are still not maximising the opportunites it presents.

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Mobile data for location intelligence: a missed opportunity for many businesses?

Mobile devices and the apps they support generate huge amounts of data, and have had a major part to play in driving location intelligence into the mainstream. 74% of consumers with smartphones now use location-based services.

In some cases, location-based data generated by mobiles can be life-saving: in the UK, the South Central Ambulance Service has launched an app which helps people locate the nearest defibrillator, and London ambulance services is developing a phone app which will alert volunteer responders to a cardiac arrest near them.

As we move from place to place with our devices, we create location data which sends valuable messages to organisations who want to engage with us. Think how many mobile applications and tools you use in your daily life have a location element to them:

Before you leave the house, you might check your train is on time using a real-time train app which identifies your location and nearest train station.

On your commute to work, perhaps you read news on an app which is automatically tailored to your region.

> See also: Putting data on the map: how enterprises are using location analytics to deliver an improved customer experience

During the day, you inevitably use Google search, which identifies your country and language.

In the afternoon, you might have a meeting in a new location, so you use a mapping application to navigate your way there; it pinpoints your location and guides you through the streets.

Before you leave the office, you may decide to check a live travel app to decide on the best route home.

After work, you could go for a run, tracking it through Endomondo or MapMyRun, or perhaps you go for a cycle and update your Strava account, which lets you record and share your route and earn kudos from your friends.

Later that evening, perhaps you go to a restaurant and, whilst waiting for your friends, you check-in on Facebook.

If one of your friends can’t find the restaurant you could use ‘Find my Friends’ to share your location with them.

Before you leave the restaurant, you may well use a taxi hailing app such as Uber or Hailo to get you home safely.

Your mobile data trail provides detailed location intelligence on your lifestyle and buying behaviour. Mobile-generated location data has the potential to present businesses with an unrivalled opportunity to hone their marketing, enhance their profiling and create a single, clear customer picture.

Some organisations and functions are currently using mobile location data and seeing strong benefits: contextual marketing, for example, takes user information from a variety of sources - web browsing or online location check-in for example - and uses it to deliver precise, relevant, tailored content, to the right people, at the right time.

In a PayPal Media Network report on Location-Based Mobile Advertising, financial services firms saw a 60 percent lift in click-through rates on location-based mobile advertising2.

But the value of location intelligence derived from mobile-generated location data in a business goes beyond this. Some public sector organisations are blazing a trail here. Take the Oregon Department of Transport for example, who were trying to identify where and how to build bicycle lanes.

Using popular cycling app Strava, the department identified where Oregon’s residents sped up or slowed down, where they rode on the pavement or on the road and identified traffic patterns across the city. With precise and accurate location on cyclists’ behaviours, the department could make informed, risk- averse planning decisions.

Other organisations are taking mobile-generated location data a step further. Rather than just use it to glean intelligence to drive planning decisions, create advertising opportunities or to improve the customer experience, they are using this type of data to generate revenue.

> See also: Mobile technology: data heaven or hell for restaurants

Data is becoming an asset to a business - ‘the new oil’ as, author Arent van’t Spijker says. Using your data generated on-the-go as an asset is an interesting development. Logistics firm DHL, for example, sells data on air quality which it generates as its vans drive across different locations.

Whilst we’re seeing some organisations use mobile generated location data in a creative and valuable way, others are not maximising the opportunities it presents.

Capturing the data is one thing: turning it into insight so valuable it becomes an asset is quite another. It is only when mobile location data is integrated with business intelligence platforms that its full potential emerges.

Data-driven enterprises have reached a pivotal point in their evolution: mobile is a driver for growth, and provides an unprecedented opportunity. Now, it is down to enterprises to integrate the data across their organisation. Only then can they mine its untapped potential.  

Sourced from James Brayshaw, VP Enterprise Data Management, Location and GIS for EMEA, Pitney Bowes