Big data sources and location services: Are they worth it?

By Joe Hewitson

Big data sources have become the fountain of youth for modern business operations. What was once considered outdated, unwieldy or otherwise useless data is now considered an untapped opportunity. Perhaps the greatest lesson learned from the big data revolution is that metadata — data about data — can be just as lucrative as the primary data it supports.

For example, consider location services data, which is the data collected by millions of mobile devices used every day. The question is, how can you tap into this data and, more importantly, how can the data benefit your business strategy?

Don’t be like Big Brother

The easiest way to gather location data is to simply roll it into your current mobile strategy. Fortunately, outfitting your mobile presence with location services is relatively painless in today’s mobile development environment.

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That being said, it’s a good idea to be as transparent as possible with app requests for location permissions. When your users see a mobile app asking for location permissions without an obvious need for them, their first reaction is likely sharp skepticism.

With that in mind, as you integrate data-collecting services, you’d be well served to be up front about why it’s necessary and how users benefit from enabling it. If nothing else, pointing out handy location-based features in your app is an easy way to garner a bit of goodwill with your target audience.

Now that your location data pipeline is open wide, it’s time to talk relationships.

It’s all about relationships

As Forbes points out, location services data is all about building relationships that link specific sets of data together through bonds you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of.

For example, those in the retail scene can connect the dots between seasonal weather patterns and their own sales. Analyzing big data sources from regional weather to regional sales could open up unique marketing opportunities. These dynamic marketing channels can then open new doors for building your brand in otherwise untapped segments.

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The same can be said for the manufacturing industry — more specifically relating to supply chain efficiency and quality. Should a defect become apparent, you can use location data to quickly tie products back to manufacturing.

Though these are just a couple examples of how metadata can open new doors for your existing big data sources, location data ultimately just adds another perspective through which to view your data.

On its own, that may not be a terribly impressive opportunity. However, when viewed through the lens of connected data sources, the ability to uncover new relationships can prove quite powerful. Considering the fact that big data is really only as useful as your ability to connect it to meaningful, structured outputs, location services metadata is worth its weight in gold.

Written By

Joe Hewitson

IT Developer, Total Benchmark Solution

With a degree in Applied Computing Technology and over a decade of service in the IT and Software Development industries, Joe Hewitson has acquired a keen ability to write about emerging technologies and the impact they have on a wide range of industries. Accompanying his love for…

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