Location intelligence is a trendy term in the business world these days. Basically, it means tracking the whereabouts of things or people, often in real time, and combining that with other information to provide relevant, useful insights.
At a consumer level, location intelligence can help with things like finding a coffeehouse open after 9 p.m. or figuring out whether driving via the freeway or city streets will be faster. At a business level, it can help with decisions like where to build a new store branch that doesn’t cannibalize existing customers, or laying out the most efficient delivery truck routes.
Location intelligence is particularly on our mind now because OpenText was recently honored by Dresner Advisory Services, a leading analyst firm in the field of business intelligence, with its first-ever Technical Innovation Awards.
Dresner recognized our achievements in three areas: Location Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Embedded BI. You’ll be hearing more about these awards later. In the meantime, we’re sharing some great data visualizations based on location intelligence. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy!
In cities all over North America, people waiting at bus, train, or trolley stops who are looking at their smartphones aren’t just killing time – they’re finding out exactly when their ride is due to arrive.
One of the most popular use cases for location intelligence is real-time transit updates. Scores of transit agencies, from New York and Toronto to Honolulu, have begun tracking the whereabouts of the vehicles in their fleets, and sharing that information in live maps. One of the latest additions is the St. Charles Streetcar line of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) — actually the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world! (It was created in 1835 as a passenger railway between downtown New Orleans and the Carrollton neighborhood, according to the NORTA Web site.)
This is not only a boon to passengers, the location data can also help transit planners figure out where buses are bunching up or falling behind, and adjust schedules accordingly.
Crowdsourcing is a popular way to enhance location intelligence. The New York Times offers a great example with this interactive feature describing writers’ and artists’ favorite walks around New York City.
You can not only explore the map and associated stories, you can add your own – like this account of a proposal on the Manhattan Bridge.
The City of Los Angeles is using location intelligence in a particularly timely way: An interactive map of resources to help residents cope with winter rainstorms (which are expected to be especially bad this year, due to the El Niño weather phenomenon).
The city has created a Google Map, embedded in the www.elninola.com site, that shows rainfall severity and any related power outages or flooded streets, along with where residents can find sandbags, hardware stores, or shelter from severe weather, among other things. It’s accessible via both desktop and smartphones, so users can get directions while they’re driving.
(Speaking of directions while driving in the rain, L.A. musician and artist Brad Walsh captured some brilliant footage of an apparently self-driving wheeled trashcan in the Mt. Washington neighborhood. We’re sure it’ll get its own Twitter account any day now.)
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