The concept of mapping has undergone two great revolutions over the past 50 years.
First, maps evolved from paper to digital. We gained the ability to query for directions from point A to point B, zoom in and out, and view live traffic reports to calculate estimated times of arrival.
More recently, maps shifted from interactive objects to fully immersive environments. Just about every corner of the globe has been intricately recreated in mapping software, allowing us to track users and devices in real time and watch them dynamically traverse the planet.
Geolocation mapping might seem like a novelty at first, but it enables us to use maps in revolutionary new ways. A map is no longer something we reference — it’s something we occupy, update and organize based on our needs. In fact, 74% of smartphone users rely on geolocation mapping for directions.
Users have a lot to gain from dynamic mapping, but businesses are positioned to reap the real rewards. Geolocation mapping is an integral component of internet of things applications. Tracking user location allows IoT products to automate more of their functions and deliver seamless overall user experiences. Your furnace or garage door opener could monitor your location at all times, kicking on to welcome you back via geohashing functionality as you near your home.
Essentially, geolocation mapping makes it possible to leverage the insights and resources of a crowd to improve any physical environment. Whether it’s point-by-point driving directions or interactive layouts of shopping centers, geolocation mapping is powering numerous IoT technologies.
How geolocation mapping changes IoT
Consumers today demand instant gratification, and geolocation mapping helps businesses meet that expectation. As IoT applications have become less expensive and easier to implement, they have shifted into prominent roles in a growing number of commercial environments. The technology enables everyone — from retailers to tourist hubs to energy providers — to improve their customer relations.
Geolocation mapping delivers two crucial pieces of information: the location of the user and the state of his environment based on data collected from a dynamic map. Those morsels of information put businesses in position to connect users with the information or experiences they want most.
That could mean simply providing directions between locations. But it could also mean offering coupons when someone stands in front of a product, or it could access location data to inform shoppers of complementary products or services through hyperlocalized beacon functionality. The business itself can harness geolocation data to get a better understanding of customers and their needs, making data-driven changes as a result.
Geolocation mapping will become increasingly important to IoT. Take connected cars, for instance. While we currently only track the locations of vehicles, what if we connected cars with other items? What if a parking meter could ping your car to let you know a spot was available around the block? We’ll see connected devices exchanging data more in the future, enabling users to capitalize on the technology surrounding us.
In countless exciting ways, geolocation mapping empowers businesses to satisfy more needs and wants with less time, hassle and cost.
Charting your own geolocation mapping strategy
The technologies at the heart of geolocation mapping are strong and improving rapidly. The necessary bandwidth is shrinking, costs are dropping and advanced mapping is becoming simpler.
Geolocation mapping is a tool within reach of most businesses, regardless of technical fluency or budget. But simply introducing mapping capabilities isn’t a solution; businesses must leverage the right aspects in the right ways to truly benefit:
- Harness real-time data streams. The defining feature of immersive maps is the level of dynamism, not the detail. These maps are constantly evolving to reflect real-time conditions, like location of consumers, weather conditions or number of cars in a parking lot. This data creates tremendous potential for automation and analytics, highlighting the true value of geolocation mapping.
- Leverage the most valuable data. The amount of data constantly produced by geolocation mapping is a blessing and a curse. To leverage the value of real-time data streams, businesses must focus on the data that’s relevant to their operations and filter out everything else. Users are 75% more likely to take action after receiving location-specific messages. Delivering the right message at the right time requires a careful focus on specific information coming out of the data stream.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Geolocation mapping offers tremendous potential, but developing the maps is a massive undertaking. While you focus on extending the functionality of dynamic mapping, services like Mapbox or Esri can handle the heavy lifting of generating maps. You could certainly build your own maps, but why waste time and effort on that when you can benefit from someone else’s hard work? Many of these services also offer features to take your maps to the next level, including geohashing and geocoding.
Location might be everything in real estate, but geolocation mapping lets businesses capitalize on their addresses. Sixty-nine percent of Google searches include a specific location, underscoring the importance of location data to the effectiveness of marketing. The mapping capabilities of tomorrow will allow businesses to guide motivated customers from wherever they might be to the products or services they want to buy. A little upfront investment can fund your expedition into the exciting world of geolocation mapping, giving you access to one of the most revolutionary sales tools in years.
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