Roberto Wong Rubín de la Borbolla
Startup Contributor

Geographic Data,Machine Learning Essential for Post-COVID-19 Life

By Roberto Wong Rubín de la Borbolla | Thu, 07/09/2020 - 09:00

The most critical challenge for businesses in the post-COVID-19 era is rapid adaptability and risk reduction due to the consequences wrought by the pandemic on the country and the world, which affected numerous sectors of the economy.

One of these sectors is undoubtedly the restaurant industry and its entire supply chain. The sector saw its sales reduced partially or totally, and some focused on finding alternatives to operate and mitigate the impact as much as possible.

Now with the "new normal" at the door, the challenges are more complex, and previous consumption patterns may not be valid.

The answer: dynamic data.

The requirements to reactivate service have demanded that industries evolve for more than five years in terms of digital transformation. This is forcing them to meet the minimum standards to survive in a digitalized environment, opening the way to competitiveness and the assessment of new data technologies.

As a response to the challenge ahead, the comprehensive analysis of geographic and mobility data through geospatial intelligence represents an excellent opportunity for companies and businesses to face the next stage post-COVID-19.

In the same way, an opportunity arises to study and understand new consumption habits and behavior patterns in a particular location.

At DESCIFRA, we have solved this problem by collecting information (anonymous information and according to the privacy rules of data use) from more than 30 million mobile devices in Mexico, via the signals emitted by the mobile phones grouped by location, and combining them with more than 950 variables, such as salubrious information, economic reactivation by areas (blocks, neighborhoods, municipalities, states), socioeconomic levels, census information, and other essential elements. All this information is processed to dynamize data that is static, through machine learning models. This allows us to offer our users predictive scenarios they can act on.


The most intelligent reintegration into the new reality should be composed of territorial strategies based on the analysis of georeferenced data. This should also consider that the reopening of shopping centers and points of sale, in general, depends on the health measures established by each government.

Namely, the business will have to analyze the displacement of its potential market and its clients in a changeable and controlled environment. Only this will allow it to establish efficient business strategies that will enable it to reduce financial and profitability risk and gradually balance the operation.

We can see this in different industries.

Logistics companies must rethink their distribution and delivery routes in response to the increased online demand caused by the health crisis that has forced citizens of emerging economies to be more flexible and open to online sales.

Pharmacies have found less affinity to their physical branches, so they must migrate to online options, not only for sales but also for medical services. This is a challenge that not only requires an understanding of its environment in terms of areas with high rates of COVID-19 infections but also access to technology and the internet by the surrounding population.

Likewise, retailers and restaurants will have to add to the challenge of direct delivery to the consumer, where the virtual "location" of their potential market becomes vital for the generation of targeted and personalized campaigns. In contrast, their stores' physical location will allow them to have and maintain a brand presence and reduce costs in terms of delivery.

Location, location, location! It remains as valid in the digital world as it has been in the brick-and-mortar business, not only to select the best POS but to define delivery areas (where potential customers live or transit) through new digital distribution channels, estimate the economic value of one potential area over another and drive strategic decisions.

As a result of the situation through which we lived weeks ago, current customers, regardless of industry, have found in data and analysis of mobility immediate answers as to “where.” Where can they open their stores, where can they continue selling and looking for new customers, which stores generate the highest potential and which do not, how to minimize risk and maximize sales?

We are at a turning point, where companies and businesses that adopt a thorough digital transformation, that assume that mobility and consumption have changed and in general, that consider data and up-to-date information not only as allies but as a differentiator, will be prepared to face and overcome the challenge of this "new normal." On the contrary, those who refuse, think, and act as if nothing has changed will face a low-competitive landscape.

As Hernández Pons said, "Let us work to make digitalization not an obstacle but a benefit."