How businesses can get the most out of geodata

In developed countries, two thirds of decisions in business and public administration are made taking into account geodata. Yulia Vorontsova, an Everpoint expert, talks about the benefits of “points on the map” for a number of industries

New technologies allow us to better explore the world around us, and in big cities without special knowledge about the population and objects around it has become almost impossible to do business.

Entrepreneurship is all about people. People who are most sensitive to changes in the environment and society are the most active consumers of new products. It is they who are the first to use those opportunities, including technological ones, that the new time dictates.

As a rule, we are surrounded by a city with thousands of objects. To navigate the terrain, it is no longer enough just to look around and memorize the location of objects. Our assistants are not just maps with the designation of objects, but “smart” services that show what is nearby, lay routes, filter out the necessary information and put it on the shelves.

As it was before

Suffice it to recall what a taxi was before the advent of navigators. The passenger called the car by phone, and the driver looked for the right address on his own. This turned the waiting process into a lottery: whether the car would arrive in five minutes or in half an hour, no one knew, not even the driver himself. With the advent of “smart” maps and navigators, not just a convenient way to order a taxi appeared – through the application. A company appeared that became a symbol of the era (we are talking, of course, about Uber).

The same can be said about many other business areas and business processes. With the help of navigators and applications for travelers using geodata in their work, traveling to different countries on their own has become no more difficult than looking for a cafe in a neighboring area.

Previously, the vast majority of tourists turned to tour operators. Today, it is easier for many people to buy a plane ticket on their own, choose a hotel, plan a route and buy online tickets for visiting popular attractions.

How is it now

According to Nikolay Alekseenko, General Director of Geoproektizyskaniya LLC, in developed countries, 70% of decisions in business and public administration are made based on geodata. In our country, the figure is significantly lower, but also growing.

It is already possible to single out a number of industries that are significantly changing under the influence of geodata. Deep analysis of geodata gives rise to new areas of business, such as geomarketing. First of all, this is everything related to retail and the service sector.

1. Situational retail

For example, already today you can choose the best place to open a retail business based on data about the residents of the area, about competitors in this area, about transport accessibility and about large points of attraction for people (shopping centers, metro, etc.).

The next step is new forms of mobile commerce. It can be both individual small businesses and new directions for the development of chain stores.

Knowing that blocking the road will lead to increased pedestrian or vehicle traffic in the neighboring area, you can open a mobile store with the right goods there.

With the help of geodata from smartphones, it is also possible to track the seasonal change in people’s habitual routes. Large global retail chains are already using this opportunity.

So, in Turkish bays and marinas, where travelers on yachts stop for the night, you can often see boats – shops of the large French Carrefour chain. Most often they appear where there is no shop on the shore (either it is closed or very small), and the number of moored boats, and hence potential buyers, is sufficient.

Large networks abroad are already using data about customers who are currently in the store to make them individual discount offers or tell them about promotions and new products. The possibilities of geomarketing are almost endless. With it, you can:

  • track the location of users and offer them what they were looking for earlier;
  • develop individual navigation in shopping centers;
  • memorize places of interest to a person and attach sentences to them – and much more.

In our country, the direction is just beginning to develop, but I have no doubt that this is the future. In the West, there are several companies providing such services, such startups attract millions of dollars of investment. It can be expected that domestic analogues are not far off.

2. Construction: top view

The conservative construction industry now also needs geodata. For example, the location of a residential complex in a large city determines its success with buyers. In addition, the construction site must have a developed infrastructure, transport accessibility, and so on. Geoinformation services can help developers:

  • determine the approximate composition of the population around the future complex;
  • think over the ways of the entrance to it;
  • find land with a permitted type of construction;
  • collect and analyze a whole range of specific data required when collecting all the necessary documents.

The latter is especially relevant, since, according to the Institute for Urban Economics, on average, 265 days are spent on all design procedures in the field of housing construction, of which 144 days are spent only on collecting initial data. A system that optimizes this process based on geodata would be a landmark innovation.

On average, all building design procedures take about nine months, five of which are spent only on the collection of initial data.

3. Logistics: the shortest way

Geoinformation systems are useful in the creation of distribution and logistics centers. The price of a mistake in choosing a location for such a center is very high: it is a big financial loss and disruption of the business processes of the entire enterprise. According to unofficial data, about 30% of agricultural products grown in our country spoil before even reaching the buyer. It can be assumed that outdated and poorly located logistics centers play a significant role in this.

Traditionally, there are two approaches to choosing their location: next to production or next to the sales market. There is also a compromise third option – somewhere in the middle.

However, it is not enough to take into account only the distance to the place of delivery, it is important to estimate in advance the cost of transportation from a specific point, as well as transport accessibility (up to the quality of roads). Sometimes little things are important, for example, the presence of a nearby opportunity to fix a broken truck, places for drivers to rest on the highway, etc. All these parameters are easy to track with the help of geographic information systems, choosing the optimal location for the future warehouse complex.

4. Banks: security or surveillance

At the end of 2019, Otkritie Bank announced that it was starting to introduce a multifunctional geolocation system. Based on the principles of machine learning, it will predict the volume and determine the type of the most demanded transactions in each particular office, as well as evaluate promising points for opening new branches and placing ATMs.

It is assumed that in the future the system will also interact with the client: recommend offices and ATMs based on the analysis of the client’s geodata and its transactional activity.

The bank presents this function as an additional protection against fraud: if the operation on the client’s card is performed from an unusual point, the system will request additional confirmation of the payment.

5. How to make transport a little “smarter”

No one works with spatial data more than transport companies (whether passenger or freight). And it is these companies that need the most up-to-date data. In an era when one road closure can paralyze the movement of a metropolis, this is especially important.

Based on only one GPS/GLONASS sensor, today it is possible to identify and analyze a number of important parameters:

  • road congestion (analysis of traffic jams, causes and trends of congestion);
  • typical trajectories to bypass traffic jams in individual sectors of the city;
  • search for new emergency sites and poorly regulated intersections;
  • detection of faults in urban infrastructure facilities. For example, by comparing data on 2-3 thousand tracks of routes passed by trucks along the same avenue during the month, one can detect problems with the roadway. If, with an empty road on a bypass route, the driver, judging by the track, prefers to choose another, albeit more loaded, passage, this should be the starting point for the formation and testing of the hypothesis. Perhaps other cars are parked too wide on this street or pits are too deep, which are better not to fall into even at low speeds;
  • seasonality;
  • the dependence of the volume of orders of the transport company on the yield, good weather, the quality of roads in certain settlements;
  • technical condition of units, consumable parts in vehicles.

The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) has presented a forecast that in the near future, manufacturers of transport consumables, such as tire manufacturer Michelin, will not sell products, but “big data” about the actual mileage of vehicles based on signals generated by sensors in the tires themselves.

How it works? The sensor sends a signal to the technical center about wear and the need for an early tire replacement, and there a so-called smart contract is immediately formed for the upcoming work on tire replacement and its purchase. It is for this model that aircraft tires are sold today.

In the city, the density of the traffic flow is higher, the length of the sections is shorter, and many factors influence the movement itself: traffic lights, one-way traffic, fast road closures. Large cities are already partially using smart city-type traffic management systems, but their implementation is spotty, especially in corporate structures. To get really relevant and reliable information, more complex systems are needed.

Rosavtodor and a number of other public and private companies are already developing applications that allow drivers to send data about new potholes to road companies with one click. Such mini-services are the basis for improving the quality of the entire industry infrastructure.

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