For actionable Big Data, focus on location

Location data can help bring order to big data and deliver differentiating competitive advantages to businesses who have an eye on the future of the marketplace.

The era of big data started years ago with a grand promise: computers will provide deep understanding of every aspect of your business and life, enabling you to better forecast and understand the world. But now, so many years in, there’s more confusion and complexity around how to navigate the overflow of data we’re exposed than ever.

It’s not about more data. It’s about the right data.

While access to data has increased, translation of that data into actionable insights has remained elusive for many businesses. In fact, in some cases, too much of it can serve to hurt more than it helps.

With the world awash in an ever-heightening tide of big data, bringing order to the complexity may lie in one of the most well-understood data layers: Location.

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Maps are the original infographic

Location data can help businesses easily visualize and understand relationships between other data sets. And that’s just the start, as a recent study on location data from Forbes Insights and Pitney Bowes explored. Unlike charts, graphs and spreadsheets, maps are almost universally understood and can help simplify information rather than complicating it. For today’s businesses, that can mean the difference between actionable insights and drowning in numbers.

For example, if a hurricane is bearing down on an area, location data can help agencies and relief efforts gain more efficiency and impact in the critical hours leading up to and after the event. It could also help insurance companies accurately predict and deploy the proper number of adjusters to the area.

Location data is key to the brick and mortar marketplace

Big box stores and online retailers are among the market leaders in data practices, as they continue to evolve and change the rules of e-commerce. But as those stores move and grow into real world retail, location data will play an essential role in their analysis and forecasts to determine growth paths and strategies.

Until the day when consumers and people are not actual physical things that live in the real world, layering reliable, actionable location data can help virtually any organization make better use of their existing data streams and sources.

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Why location data should never be overlooked

Location data can not only deliver a business advantage and differentiation, but also help encourage and promote actionable analysis and an easily understood relationship between disparate data sets that might otherwise confuse an issue. It’s an intuitive way to avoid paralysis by analysis.

In the end, as data is gathered and consumed with ever-increasing velocity and veracity, the key to making sense of it all—in many cases—may be in layering location and map data on to your sets.

Topics: Location Trends, Big Data, Editor's picks

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