It looks like 2018 is going to be the year of location intelligence. What with the explosion in the amount of geodata and the demands of business users, there’s no doubt whatsoever that geospatial decision-making is now coming of age.
At the end of May 2017, the social network Snapchat paid more than EUR 300 million to buy out the social-mapping start-up, Zenly. At the same time, Europe-based start-up Abeeway was bought out by Actility, so the Internet of Things company could get its hands on its object geolocation system. Then, a few months later, it was the turn of another geolocation specialist start-up, Mapbox, to attract a record investment of over USD 164 million.
So, there we are: geolocation has experienced a revival of interest, a real craze you might say, as this year has got under way. After years of collecting huge amounts of geodata, leveraging the boom in tablets, smartphones and other connected objects, companies have realized that it was finally time to use this information to extract economic and strategic intelligence.
Businesses are now in the front line in this unprecedented upsurge. In the past, location intelligence tools were seen as complicated and the preserve of a few experts. Those days are gone. Predictive maintenance, sales route optimization, analysis of retailer or manufacturer turnover by geographical area… all business units now want access to clear, accurate geodata to improve their decision-making. Geodata centralized in specialist tools is gradually opening up, therefore, to business users too. And so much the better!
The fact is that teams out in the field now have tablets and smartphones like never before (71% of sales managers had a tablet in 2017, according to the European association of sales managers) and they are also clamoring for geodata. A case in point was a project led by Galigeo for the National Gendarmerie to help law enforcement teams plan their patrols based around sensitive areas.
Users want simple maps, accessible on the go and provided in real time or thereabouts. But their demands don’t stop there anymore. Faced with snowballing data, graphs and tables, business intelligence tools must do so much more now. In other words, they have to advise their users. Using sophisticated algorithms to interpret results, solutions can now ‘make maps talk’, identify opportunities or potential for productivity, and suggest action. In short, we can make maps look to the future – also using artificial intelligence – and finally make use of all the data at their disposal which they had no idea what to do with in the past.
After being involved in the development of different IoT and big data software, Vincent is now Product Manager in charge of the Galigeo for SAP software suite.