Roberto Wong Rubín de la Borbolla
Startup Contributor

Where? That’s the Real Question to Be Answered

By Roberto Wong Rubín de la Borbolla | Thu, 09/24/2020 - 14:57

In the last decade, industries considered to be part of the technological top tier have included geography*. Those who have entered this sector will know many solutions and subsectors that integrate it: from the most popular, such as LBS (location-based services), to software that allows manipulating this information and data in a transversal way, called GIS (geographic information systems). But why geography? If you are a reader who has not followed this industry, I will briefly explain its importance.

Since the beginning of humanity, dominating the “where” has allowed our species' evolution, population growth, and even our planet's conquest. Today, it also allows us to optimize resources and gives us the ability to make our existence more efficient.

But beyond the almost philosophical or sociological meaning of where, what I want to capture in this text is how location-based analysis has transversally transformed all industries. The two great arguments I find today to support this are:

1. Everything we do at all times, such as something as simple as shopping in a physical store or digitally, happens in a particular place and time.

2. More than 90%** of the information produced every day has a geographical component.

Thanks to these two arguments, we can say that geography becomes the key that allows us to correlate almost any database or piece of information and gives rise to the analysis of geospatial data, or what is gaining strength today as GEOINT (geospatial intelligence).

To put it less technically, location allows us to know the characteristics of a place anonymously and what makes it up, from the most noticeable elements to its darkest secrets.

Let's do a quick exercise. Imagine any corner in the city, or better, use the street corner where your house is located. The most obvious questions we can point out are the names of the streets, how many buildings or homes there are, the direction of the roads, how many people live there. However, the deeper we go into it, the more secrets are revealed: the average number of vehicles that transit, at what speed, the model, origin-destination, the type of gas they use, if they have cable, and many other things, all related to that same corner.

Thus, what started the revolution and the integration of analysis based on location for all industries was the ability to combine each of these pieces of data from the where. The discipline that began to use it was geomarketing (approximately 10 years ago), which is the basis for what we know today as geointelligence. This aims to describe through data analysis, and as much data as possible, the characteristics of the territory as a whole, which gives us the  knowledge to design business strategies using the information that until that moment is at hand.

From my perspective, geointelligence has been transforming. The concept of analysis based on geography has evolved thanks to the following factors: the amount of information available today beyond public sources such as censuses or surveys; the ability to measure feelings, interests, and trends; artificial intelligence, together with methods based on machine learning; and finally, putting the location as the center of study.

At DESCIFRA, today, we reach across all industries thanks to these three components: Big Data from public and private sources, AI and Machine learning, and SaaS (Software as a Service) that provides a real-time analysis by location. These components allow us to offer a solution divided into phases so that any need that a company may have, whether it is an insurance company, e-commerce, or a retail chain, allows them to:

Identify the potential areas where your markets/customers grouped.
Predict how much each of these areas is worth to your business.
Prioritize how to attack these areas.
Activate from digital media, the buyers in each of these areas.

Just as all industries evolve, suffer disruptions and innovations, today, geospatial intelligence is going from being a descriptive service of the territory to a predictive one. However, more than just predicting a territory in general, it is centering this prediction, taking into account each company's needs and location, generating the best strategies for expansion and consolidation from an informed position, minimizing costs, and, above all, risks.

* Emerging Technologies and the Geospatial Landscape, Doug Richardson, a distinguished researcher at Harvard University.
** Jack Dangermond co-founded Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri).