I recently attended a Geospatial user conference, where I joined the utilities technical session to gain
first-hand understanding of the application of Location Intelligence in the sector .
I was extremely excited to break away a while from my comfort zone to learn more from other disciplines.
The presenter was an engineer from a utility company based in the Middle East.
He did an outstanding job demonstrating how his company, faced with challenges of increasing power demands,
The implementation was to improve operational efficiencies, deliver superior customer experience and ultimately increase revenue.
This company had strategically matured from core utility mapping, asset management and basic analytics, to an all-inclusive and interactive use of Business Intelligence (BI) and Geospatial Technology (GT) for decision making.
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They had every component of the utility supply chain well covered - from power generation, transmission, expansion and distribution down to the delivery of customer experience. It was Location Intelligence well demonstrated.
After the session, I had a brief conversation with a gentleman also from Ghana “JS”. He was pessimistic about the prospects of Location Intelligence and questioned how those advanced tools and systems could be applied to benefit both the company he represented and the customers they served.
• “Why was the utility company able to do five times more?”
• “What exactly are the full benefits of having a Location Intelligence?”
His questions caused me to think:
• Are there others like JS trying to understand Location Intelligence?
• Are there organisations that are not fully leveraging the power of Location Intelligence due to
• How do organisations perceive the application of advanced analytics, location-based data and related technologies as we evolve in a connected devices ecosystem?
Reflecting on these questions, I decided to write this article. It is necessary to begin by defining the components of Location Intelligence and this is by no means a straightforward task.
Rooted in science, Location Intelligence utilises analytical tools and systematic processes to derive meaningful and actionable insights from location-based data. From these insights, data is enriched to enable businesses to draw conclusions on issues to make informed decisions or improve processes.
Location Intelligence perfectly fits into the hybrid category of Business Intelligence (BI) and Geospatial Technologies. Dresner Advisory (2017 Location Intelligence Market Study) simply defines Location Intelligence as a form of Business Intelligence where location or geography is the dominant dimension used for analysis. Advances in geospatial technologies, analytical tools, Internet of Things (IoT) and the explosion of data have collectively aided the evolution of Location Intelligence.
Characteristically, BI provides a two-dimensional view of the business, combining the customer data (this includes demographics, behaviours, address) and the transactional data (business generated). Location or spatial data, however, adds a third dimension; an external perspective of the business and the customer. The external perspective spans social, economic, political and environmental.
The external factors are also strong determinants of the customer behaviour, giving a three-sixty view of the customer. This enables a well-informed business decision making. The third dimension may seem complex but when mastered unearths spatial differentiation and adds immense value.
Data is constantly generated
Largely, these data-generating activities occur somewhere giving data a location component. Location is now like currency; it adds context to the data, giving it more value.
Data has become the latest resource, commonly referred to as the
Despite the explosion of data within and out of businesses and organisations, not all businesses attain this value from data. Organisations with high data and analytics maturity level are able to transform the business data into valuable insights across the organisation. That is Business Intelligence in action.
The GeoInformation System (GIS) powers Location Intelligence, providing a framework to manage, visualise, analyse and disseminate insights. The integration of varied sources of data on this platform allows businesses to better understand relationships.
Both Business Intelligence and geospatial technology make use of these components – Technology (hardware + software), Data, Processes and People (the drivers) for informed business decision making. The key differentiator for Location Intelligence is the use of spatial technologies and spatial data; providing unparalleled insights.
To thrive in this digital era, successful organisations are making a conscious effort to understand and leverage the power of location intelligence; to develop a holistic view of markets, customers and operations.
In the second part of this article (next week), the review would focus on the role Location Intelligence plays in improving business outcomes, increasing workflow efficiency and driving business growth.