The 2nd annual Location Intelligence for Enterprise Conference confirmed that the use of location information, technologies and solutions is indeed a competitive advantage for companies. Jones Lang LaSalle, FedEx, Walgreens, Walmart, and Thomson Reuters, to name just a few, spent 2 days discussing how location intelligence is mission-critical to operations, customer experience, logistics, and development of new products and services. Some of the mission-critical activities discussed include:
--For corporate real estate: analyzing location-specific variables such as labor, economic development, infrastructure, health, income, education, company-specific operations;
--For logistics and transportation: delivery of packages on time; ability to track packages;
--For retail: development of store profile; store optimization based on customer and product profile;
--For information services: publishing market impact data before anyone else.
This was the first Location Intelligence conference to represent a balance of both solutions providers and users. Conference attendees were interested in three key issues:
1. Understanding the priorities of both providers and users of location-based solutions;
2. The state of indoor location technologies and applications; and
3. Use cases for location intelligence that allows organizations to move beyond point solutions and towards enterprise adoption of location-based solutions.
Location Intelligence Priorities: As participants discussed the benefits and challenges (both business and legal, including Top 10 location intelligence mistakes) related to adopting location-based solutions, the following top 5 priorities emerged relative to enterprise location awareness:
- The importance of educating end users on the benefits of location intelligence: These end users include both internal stakeholders and customers. This requires developing internal and external marketing strategies.
- Development of business cases for enterprise-wide location intelligence: Securing budget for location intelligence projects still remains a challenge.
- Privacy: Location data is not black and white, and the legal environment around location data privacy is uncertain. Privacy considerations should be the first step in product and service development related to location information – not the last step.
- Harnessing “Big Data” and predictive analytics: Competitive advantage is gained from the ability to predict market and customer behavior. Harnessing and integrating business intelligence with location intelligence is critical to developing these forecasting tools.
- Scaling location functionality based on business objectives: Demand for location-based applications on mobile devices is driving the need for simplicity in application features and functionality. This is often difficult for organizations that have deep geospatial technology expertise.
Indoor Location: As people spend the majority of their time indoors, the demand for location-based applications within buildings is growing. Ankit Agarwal, CEO of Micello; Kipp Jones, Chief Architect at Skyhook Wireless; Corey Mandell, CTO of Point Inside; and Chris Galo, Regional Director of Sales for Aeroscout discussed popular B2C applications for indoor location solutions, as well as B2B applications such as embedding GPS chips in indoor gas sensors for biohazard detection. The ability to accurately determine indoor location, especially a building floor, or a specific location within a store (aisle number or shelf location) is still a technical challenge, but progress is being made.
- Wayne Gearey, SVP for Location Intelligence at Jones Lang LaSalle, presented on the use of location information to determine the appropriate service area for healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics. JLL is able to demonstrate to hospital administrators when they are properly located to take advantage of 80% of their patient population and when they are not. Gearey was asked how often the location analysis is surprising to healthcare clients. He responded “all the time.”
- Jillian Elder, Senior Manager for Enterprise GIS at Walgreens, presented on how the GIS department is supports Healthcare, Daily Living, and Market Strategy Research functions of the organization. In particular, Elder discussed how the research derived from the GIS department was critical to developing new customer profile models and market drivers for their new Wellness concept stores.
- Todd Hollenbeck, Director of IT for FedEx, discussed the use of location information for asset tracking, fraud management, and logistics – all mission critical aspects of the FedEx business. In addition he discussed the FedEx SenseAware application, which monitors the location, temperature, and light exposure of shipments for in-transit tracking.
- Dana Pickup, Senior Manager of Finance and Strategy, Store Innovations for Walmart discussed how Walmart leverages location-based solutions such as visualizing data on a map for pattern recognition on performing and underperforming stores, and for improved communication on business issues internally, with the Board, and also with vendors and buyers.
- Andre Parris, Head of Commodities and Energy, Americas, at Thomson Reuters and Nick Kouchoukos, Global Head of Agricultural & Forestry Research at Thomson Reuters Lanworth presented on the importance of early season agricultural information in determining market impact on the trading of agricultural commodities. They discussed how satellite and aerial imagery, along with the ability to track economic data by actual traffic instead of government, are collected and combined to render predictive analytics that impact price. Satellite and aerial imagery are used to determine how forestry changes, and combined with parcel data are used to optimize the paper and lumber supply chain.
Location-based solutions providers such as Bing Local, Pitney Bowes Software, and PlaceIQ presented on the power of location search, the rise of the empowered customer, and the importance of developing location profiles to better understand and address customer behavior. Geoff Zeiss of Autodesk shared impressive examples of the integration of gaming technology into 3D modeling software resulting in data visualization that anyone can understand. The Location Intelligence for Enterprise 2012 Conference was an impressive aggregation of the long tail of location intelligence!