By Hannibal Baldwin, CEO and Co-Founder of SiteZeus
You’ve heard it before. You know it by heart. Location, location location: this triplicate is informally known as the golden rule of property-owning. Where a building stands absolutely defines the success of its endeavors within. The mantra, though simplistic, is tried and true.
But what does location even mean in an age of artificial intelligence (AI)? When you hear the word, you probably imagine a point on a map, or a tiny square on massive grid. Maybe you see your home, a favorite restaurant, the mall or a foreign destination, coupled with the area of space it takes up and everything around it. Our physical world is comprised of coordinates, and we are the teeny dots on a giant grid zooming from point A to point B- veering off and zigzagging along the way. The combination of paths we traverse each day is largely unique to us as individuals. Location is a bold, and most importantly traceable, aspect of who we are.
This leads me to emphasize my purpose: to elucidate the growing necessity of utilizing location-based data when it comes to strategic decision making, be it financial, environmental, or political in nature. Such data is delivered in heaps by our smartphones, watches, vehicles and credit cards to big-data analysts intelligent enough to make use of it. Big data itself can be bucketed into five categories which form a phrase almost as trite as our previous repetition of the word ‘location’: Who, What, Where, When, and How. When we use big-data systems, if any one of these key aspects is missing from the analysis, we must assume our level of insight and efficacy is severely limited.
Imagine you’re a business owner, new to the world of AI and attempting to use it to your advantage. You’ve successfully figured out how to know and predict your customers’ income, interests, ethnicity and education level, along with answers to more complicated questions like why and when they buy what you’re selling. But if you think back to the golden five, you’ll find that you’re missing an entire facet of crucial, defining information- the ‘Where’! You don’t know where the customers live and work, what mode of transportation they use to get to your store, how far they have to travel to get there, and where they’re going as soon as they walk out of your line of sight.
So even if we can accurately identify our target demographics, without the ‘Where’, we’re still shooting in the dark. No matter how powerful our weapons and sharp our shot, we’ll never hit our target if we simply can’t see it. Television, radio and billboards are essential advertising techniques but a misguided broadcast range makes it all for naught.
Ultimately, using location-based data to enhance the intelligence of your business creates more predictable success. The very recent explosive growth in computing power and implementation of machine learning is making location intelligence a cornerstone data component of modern intelligence. Location intelligence is still in its infancy but it’s on the rise; this is undeniable.
About the Author
Hannibal Baldwin is CEO and Co-Founder of SiteZeus. He is a fifth generation Tampa native, and alumni of University of South Florida, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance.