Moving Beyond Restaurant Recommendations to Predictive Location Analytics

November 2, 2012 Paul M. Davis

Map matrix via ESRI.

The big news around maps in recent months has been the battle between Google Maps and Apple’s new alternative service for iOS 6. As smartphones increasingly become the all-in-one personal computer, organizer, assistant, and navigator, both companies want to build their own beachheads to establish platform control. There’s untold profit to be reaped from the nearly boundless amount of location-aware data produced by these devices, through the services that can be built upon this user information. The ability to serve real-time, location-specific advertisements, special offers, and recommendations to smartphone users has much potential for these companies and their partners.

But what if you could go beyond real-time and use this data to predict trends? In an interview with the MIT Sloan Management Review, Simon Thompson, Director of Global Business Solutions at GIS data provider Esri, discusses making geospatial technology predictive through the emerging field of location analytics. Thompson states, “There is a real capability to use mapping and location analytics to zoom in — to really put a lens on top of your data that says, ‘tell me something about this with these characteristics in terms of the who, the what, the when.’ Then you try to understand the why, and use the where as the framework for all of those other questions that you want to ask.” Thompson lays out his vision for the ways location analytics could impact businesses, Big Data, and society, and discusses the very real privacy concerns they raise, in his interview with the MIT Sloan Management Review.

About the Author

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