What is Location Intelligence and how does it fuel better business decisions?

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It’s no secret that we are more connected today than ever before. From smartphones in nearly every pocket to WiFi and GPS-enabled devices in constant use by businesses across industries, we are generating data at an exponential rate. Not only is this data continuously growing, it’s becoming increasingly unstable — requiring complex technology, like machine learning (ML), to clean and stabilize the data.

But just having clean, stable data isn’t enough. How businesses use that data makes all the difference. Connecting the dots to build actionable insights helps companies anticipate trends, supply line complications, and customer needs — enabling smart investments and growth that keep them ahead of their competitors and in a better position to serve their audience. And location is a key component of that data, giving rise to a new type of business intelligence — location intelligence.

What is Location Intelligence?

Put simply, location intelligence is a methodology for gleaning insights by connecting location datasets to additional data. But it’s more than simply putting data on a map. By focusing on a spatial analysis of data, businesses can uncover previously unseen patterns — leading them to better understand why trends are developing.

Location Intelligence accelerates understanding

Moving beyond just a temporal understanding of data into spatial analysis helps identify patterns in behavior and often explains why customers or employees made the decisions they made as they interacted with their environment. This ability to reveal patterns makes location intelligence a vital component of modern business intelligence.

This type of insight better equips companies in their decision making — empowering them to make smarter decisions faster.

Location Intelligence is critical to modern business intelligence

While the applications will differ, nearly every industry can benefit from location intelligence. In fact, multiple business units within an organization often have their own specialized needs for location intelligence. Operations can fine tune production and delivery. Marketing can optimize their campaigns. Strategic growth teams can best determine where to position new locations.

But location data, like every other type of data, is constantly growing. On top of that, raw location data can be messy and less accurate than most people would think. Making sense of it requires a specialized solution — location intelligence software.

What is Location Intelligence Software?

Smartphones, IoT devices, WiFi and cellular access points, point of sale systems, GPS tracking — there are no shortage of ways to generate location data in today’s world. As the sheer amount of this accumulated data increases, how companies process this information directly impacts their ability to glean actionable insights.

Location intelligence software is any platform that helps a business parse location data into usable datasets. Modern solutions, like Unacast, marry machine learning technology with raw location data from multiple sources and more precise GPS data to create clean, stable, up-to-date datasets. This empowers companies to find actionable insights from location data faster.

Who uses Location Intelligence?

Location intelligence is fast becoming an essential component of what makes a company competitive in any industry. Here are several sectors leveraging location data for pivotal business decisions.

Location Intelligence for Retail

The applications of location intelligence for brick-and-mortar retailers are nearly limitless, and choosing the right location for their newest store is just the beginning.

By connecting their data to deep location datasets, retailers can better understand store performance by analyzing foot traffic in their store versus the surrounding area. They can also compare foot traffic to revenue, creating accurate conversion rate metrics.

Retailers can optimize staffing by better understanding peak visitation times and shopper demographics. They can know where customers are coming from and where they go — helping unlock their shopping patterns and building competitive intelligence on their competitors.

Location Intelligence for Supply Chain and Logistics

Location intelligence helps companies identify supply chain needs and optimize processes from production all the way to delivery. These optimizations help keep operations flexible and ready to meet the needs of the market — ultimately helping build customer loyalty.

Location data can help quickly identify and mitigate component or production bottlenecks, helping companies stay on-track and on-time. And by building more accurate forecasts based on area or market changes, companies can anticipate their customers’ needs, helping ensure their products are in the right place at the right time.

Knowing how the market is moving in and around sites helps companies optimize their performance and accurately select new sites.

Location Intelligence for Insurance

By leveraging location data, insurance companies can translate real-world behavior into accurate, data-driven risk assessments. These assessments help deliver competitive pricing while reducing guesswork.

Location datasets help insurance companies more accurately evaluate potential income loss for businesses — from natural disasters to market trends to injury potential — and price their offerings accordingly.

Location Intelligence for Real Estate

Migration patterns — i.e. trends in where people are moving at the state, city, and zip code level, as well as their demographics —  help inform site selection. This data gives commercial real estate investors a competitive advantage when choosing where to grow. By analyzing both migration and foot traffic patterns, commercial real estate companies can better understand risks as populations change, as well as more accurately predict which areas will grow in order to  focus their investments there.

Location Intelligence for Marketing

By understanding traffic demographics, marketers are better able to build and optimize their location-based campaigns and their out-of-home ad spend. Knowing who is moving through a location, as well as where they’ve been and where they’re going, allows marketers to create messaging, visuals, and offerings that better connect to their audience and are more likely to influence potential customers.

Location Intelligence for Governments

It’s not just for-profit organizations that benefit from location intelligence. Governments at all levels can leverage this data as well. Whether it’s in planning future infrastructure projects or optimizing functions like public transportation or waste management — knowing how their communities are changing and moving empowers governments to meet the needs of their population.

Location intelligence can also aid in public health planning or reacting to natural disasters — helping to create more accurate forecasts, find root causes, and identify the parts of their communities with the greatest needs.

Who are the major location intelligence providers?

Given the value of location data and analysis, there are dozens of providers on the market — ranging from data warehouses to location data analysts to modern location intelligence platforms like Unacast  leveraging ML or AI and providing APIs, SDKs, and other tools to integrate location intelligence into industry standard business intelligence systems and workflows. Some key location intelligence software providers in addition to Unacast  include:

  • BlueFox
  • CleverMaps
  • Gravy Analytics
  • Placer AI
  • SiteZeus
  • Sense360

For a deep dive into the relative features of these location intelligence providers and more, see our article on The Best location intelligence software in 2023.

What is the difference between Location Intelligence and Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is fundamental to how companies make decisions. It compiles big data into easier-to-digest metrics, comprehensive timelines, and clear insights. As a subset of business intelligence, location intelligence pairs that data with a spatial analysis that helps uncover patterns in movement and behavior. Thorough, properly analyzed location datasets help explain why market trends are happening and deliver straightforward, actionable insights.

What is the difference between Location Intelligence and Geographic Information Systems?

A geographic information system (GIS) is any technology that manages and maps different types of data. Think of it as the technical backbone of location intelligence. Whereas GIS provides the ability to map data, knowing what data to map and how to interpret that data is location intelligence. Being able to pair business and customer data with stable location datasets and deliver insights with the aid of machine learning is the heart of a modern location intelligence provider like Unacast.

Benefits of Location Intelligence:

No matter the industry, companies clearly benefit from adding location intelligence to their data analyses in a number of ways. Consider some of the potential benefits for your organization:

  • Augment your business intelligence

Let data paint the full picture by adding in critical migration and foot traffic analysis.

  • Better understand your customers

See the why behind behavioral and market trends by uncovering hidden customer patterns.

  • Improvecustomer experience

Better anticipate customers’ needs and optimize supply chain and staffing to meet them.

  • Find new and unique opportunities

See where the market is moving, literally, and select new sites and develop new products to meet those needs.

  • Marketing attribution and campaign optimization

See the real-world impact of campaigns and develop creative that connects to where the audience has been and where they’re going.

Challenges of Location Intelligence:

Location intelligence has many clear and obvious benefits to businesses today — but location intelligence done right isn’t easy. It’s crucial that location data and intelligence providers help companies meet these challenges head on by taking these steps:

  • Ensure data accuracy and quality

Raw location data is ever-growing and often of questionable accuracy and value. By employing machine learning and connecting to more precise GPS data, Unacast helps deliver foot traffic datasets that lead to actionable location intelligence.

  • Provide easy-to-digest analysis

Interacting with and visualizing data is vital to understanding it and unlocking new insights. Unacast Insights helps companies make better business decisions faster.  

  • Up-to-date solutions to deliver accurate insights

Whether it’s the age of the data or the technology used to deliver insights, it’s critical that a location intelligence provider continuously innovates. Unacast leverages multiple, constantly updated data sources and evolving machine learning models to deliver datasets that keep you competitive.

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