Our operations don’t happen in isolation; they occur within an operational context in space and time. Where we are in space is undoubtedly essential, especially when it comes to risk or security management.
We’ve previously written about the importance of information fusion to gain a more holistic view of complex environments. Still, for fusion to happen, we need at least one joint variable that allows us to connect two or more datasets or data sources. Enter location.
What is Location Intelligence?
Geospatial Information System leader ArcGIS estimates that 80% of all data collected has some form of location component. It makes sense; we collect performance data for points of sale which exist somewhere in space. We give feedback on service quality that happens somewhere, and we report on issues or problems that affect someone in space.
The act of collecting or processing insights from geolocation data is location intelligence (LI). Think about how a logistic company tracks shipments across space and time, how a retail company deals with inventory management across locations, or how a utility or telecommunications company monitors service uptime across a city — being smart about the “where” is location intelligence.
Difference between Location Intelligence and Business Intelligence
While Business Intelligence (BI) focuses on highlighting changes over time, Location Intelligence is a subset of BI that focuses on changes or differences across space.
Location Intelligence may sound new, but it’s been around for a while. Some would say it’s at least 167 years old! (see here how a doctor used location data to find the source of a cholera outbreak in London’s Soho neighborhood).
Over the past decade, we’ve seen more and more clients leverage location data to enhance their situational awareness, a critical goal for anyone operating in challenging contexts.
What is location data?
Location data defines as: “any data processed in an electronic communications network or by an electronic communications service indicating the geographical position of the terminal equipment of a user of a public electronic communications service, including data relating to:
- the latitude and longitude of the terminal equipment;
- the direction of travel of the user, or
- the time the location information was recorded. (2005, Mobile Communications Privacy)
Location data comes from a variety of sources. It could be open government data highlighting the demographics of different sections of a specific territory, media reports pointing to violent protests, field reports of aid effectiveness, anonymous phone data drawing population mobility patterns, academic reports on terrorist attacks, or satellite imagery analysis in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
Location data can help an organization manage its operations, context, and footprint within that context to ensure success, especially in light of ever-demanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations.
Using Location Intelligence to Protect Remote Operations
Those of us responsible for the proper functioning of remote business operations or the protection of assets will tell you that good location intelligence is their eyes and ears on the ground and is crucial in their day-to-day decision-making.
Whether your operations are international, national, or local, location intelligence can help you, monitor, manage, mitigate, investigate and learn from all sorts of issues that can affect you in space, ultimately contributing to your first line of defense in the protection of operations, human capital, social capital, and physical resources.
Location Intelligence on AKTEK iO
At AKTEK, we work with clients operating in some of the world’s most challenging operating environments. We have a growing body of experience in helping clients protect remote operations leveraging location intelligence from primary data (e.g., new information collected by mobile app), secondary data (existing data recycled for further insights), and third-party data (open or private feeds of data that help fill the gaps and bring our view of our operations and context closer to real-time).
Today, we help governments and businesses monitor for potential threats on critical infrastructure such as mining concessions, energy and oil pipelines, electricity transmission lines, power stations, water infrastructure, fiber optic cable networks, and more.