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The Internet of Things: How to harness the power of location data

In this article, I will explore how to harness the power of location data, together with the internet of things (IoT) - the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data - to improve your offerings to your customer base and increase your business insights.

First, location data needs to be understood

In order to engage location data in your business, we first need to understand what it is and what it is capable of. As ESRI attests: ‘In almost every industry, organizations are increasingly using sensors to collect massive amounts of real-time data. This data can be used to create smarter systems. But first, organizations need to make sense of it.

Location data is arguably the most essential tool leading the way for successful global commerce, capable of directing packages to precisely the right location. Without it, the international, multi-million-dollar logistics industry grinds to an almighty halt.

It holds the power to improve our lives

The VP of Product Management at Skyhook, David Bairstow, says: ‘location data is about filling in blind spots in your understanding of the customer.’ From everyday occurrences like suggesting slightly faster routes home via your car’s GPS, to digital advertising using location data to show you the closest store with the best offer based on your past habits, location data is already used in a vast array of ways. We just might not notice it happening anymore because it’s become part of our routine.

Location data vs. COVID-19

On a larger scale than just cutting our drive-times down or showing us the best coffee spot, location data has been an essential worker during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, playing a vital part in track and trace initiatives to help curb the spread of the virus.

As Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the Geospatial Commission, states in his opening address in the policy paper, Unlocking the Power of Location: The UK’s geospatial strategy 2020 to 2025: ‘A wave of technological change is sweeping through every aspect of our lives, bringing with it a torrent of data...The world is starting to see the value in this new resource, including in tackling the threat from the global Covid-19 pandemic. But it is clear that we are only just beginning to harness its power.’

Location data is being used in tandem with contact tracing apps to capture where individuals have been together to alert them to possible exposure to the virus, proving a tangible use-case that doesn’t involve consumerism.

Location data and the future

We’re used to checking our phone to see if it will rain before we go out for a walk, but something which will become more widely accepted in the coming years will be autonomous vehicles, guided by location data. Where incorrect weather reports bear small inconveniences to the user; location data needs to be of the utmost accuracy for use on the road. Which leads me to my final point:

You are only as good as your location data quality

Location data can be your biggest team player - or worst enemy - as your insights are only as strong and as precise as the quality of your data.

The combination of Loqate’s Capture, a predictive type-ahead product that allows for interactive address capture of any global address in real-time at the point of new data creation; and Verify, a product that can continuously update, verify and enhance address databases, appending geocode, and reverse geocode to those validated records, is essential to your efforts.

Location data teamed with the IoT can bring great results, but only if your data is robust, accurate, and correct at the point of capture. If you would like more information on Capture and Verify, read more about how your business can benefit from our Global Partner Program here.

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