Zooming in on (your location)

The Map: Transformed from a Statiic to Evolving Platform

This occured to me while watching Dora, the Explorer, and her magical map.

Deloitte recently came out with a report discussing the power of combining location data with government information. While the report focuses on the influence this is having on governement services, it also brings to mind the impact on the private sector.

Our ability to compare places is becoming (more) multi-dimensional. We are moving from the traditional approach of looking at location based on

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income
  • Infrastructure: Transit, land use
  • Geography: Natural resources, threats
  • Public assets: Government facilities, resources
  • Administration: Regulations, tax cod

Location Takes on New Meaning

The report highlights many opportunities for companies to leverage more detailed location data. They can:

  • Look at the uniqueness of a certain place: Information on neighborhoods goes beyond census data and other numbers and focus on tribal behavior, such as what kind of services people are accessing, where they tend to congregate (sorry if this sounds big brother) and how they share different experiences.
  • Bring to life the interaction between Tribes: Following up on the above, we can see how different neighborhoods or tribes interact with each other. As Human 1.0’s research shows, people belong to multiple tribes and can change tribes over time.
  • Tailor products and services for different tribes which could be based on location or context (note: that tribes don’t have to be based on location).
  • Share data: Data is easy to share with different stakeholders, such as government agencies, divisions within a company, etc.
Note: This enables (and maybe requires) organizations to interact and respond to local Tribes on a daily basis. This is accomplished with the help of Geospatial tools that:
  • Harness place as a comparative tool
  • Drive accountability
  • Move from prescription to prediction
  • Rethink boundaries

Sharing of Experiences

Location services reinforce the power of community and sharing experiences at a local level. When location is coupled with other information, it opens enormous opportunities to servce customers better. As Deloitte points out, it

Allows us to quickly visualize and find meaning in billions of transactions,  tweets, check-ins and geotagged photos. When combined  with existing government data and expertise, this  intelligence can, in turn, help us redefine the way we see  and understand the world, creating digital pictures of the ebb and flow of our societies.

A ‘place’ becomes a living and evolving platform of information. It enables organizations to:

  • The host (the government’s or company’s app) becomes a device to gather people together based on their location
  • The crowd has power in numbers to influence outcomes or to partner with other lcoations (shared experiences)
  • It becomes more apparent where to allocate resources.

All of this adds a new dimension to ‘Service Delivery and Design,’ a topic that I have discussed earlier. Companies now have a new challenge (and opportunity) in managing customer touch points. As Deloitte points out, there is definitely an ‘arms race’ among Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and others to offer services based on location. These tend to be silo’d offerings though, not taking into account the different nuances (and the sometimes overlapping behavior) of each Tribe. In the case of Facebook, it is unclear of how comfortable people in sharing certain information.


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