Location-aware technology enables contextual intelligence and the enterprise is only at the early stages of understanding the value that can be delivered through successful implementations. However, in order to drive real returns, through using any technology, it is important to start by defining solutions that help achieve business objectives or solve challenges and only then look at deploying the appropriate technology to deliver against these objectives.
Uncovering the opportunities for location technologies should form a key part of any organisation’s mobile strategy. In today’s technologically advanced world it is essential for companies to adapt to the evolution of business technology in order to remain competitive and to help define competitive advantage.
When considering different technologies within mobile strategy, organisations typically consider one or more of the following three questions:
1. What are the opportunities for mobile to enhance the business? What benefit will location technologies bring from a user experience or business intelligence perspective?
2. What is required from IT and the rest of the organisation to get the most out of mobile opportunities?
3. To what extent should mobile be utilised internally and externally? If externally, what are the benefits to users with allowing location detection?
Mobile technology has been transformative in virtually every industry, enabling new ways of working and helping companies innovate by embracing mobilisation. Location technologies help to further improve efficiencies by prompting actions, content, messaging and workflow tools. Companies who are looking to deliver the following types of experiences may look at location technologies to:
Deliver contextual information to users, based on their micro-location
Whenever a user, be they a consumer, employee, contractor or other stakeholder, needs to get information about the specific location they are in, location technologies can help to deliver this. Examples include product information prompted to users, interaction free museum guides, or providing engineers with specific notes about assets as they approach them.
Provide an enhanced customer experience, merging digital and physical experiences
By being proximity aware, location technologies can help companies to deliver customers with an enhanced customer experience. They do this by connecting our physical activity with the actions we may want to complete on our digital devices. Examples of this include the ability to identify when customers enter gyms, activate boarding passes or travel tickets as customers approach check-in desks or approach ticket machines, deliver venue specific tools such as pre-ordering, request assistance or check stock information.
Gain insight on operations and asset information
Location technologies that feature sensors, help to provide a low-cost way to connect legacy equipment to the Internet to gather data from it. With a single access point, location technologies can deliver information back to companies, or provide context to engineers when they approach different assets. This can help to identify potential issues, or help improve workflows, automating some of the manual checks engineers would otherwise need to do.
Location technologies can help to deliver intelligence to businesses about areas of venues or locations, such as the number of visits, average dwell times, number of engagements and other metrics that companies have come to look for from the ‘digital-verse’. Beacons bring these concepts to the physical world, with the ability to augment digital and physical data into a single, unified experience and business intelligence unit.
Companies need to start with what they want to achieve and work backwards to find the technology that helps them reach goals. Location technologies have a definite role in helping to connect assets, spaces and locations with mobile devices. When applied properly, they can help companies to improve workflows, provide the right information, or deliver the right tools into the hands of users.
The world is becoming increasingly connected. Those who apply a strategic approach to their mobility implementations will often find that they increase their chance of success.
Throughout the process of assessing different location-aware technologies, it’s important to test and assess whether the technology makes an improvement, or whether it gets in the way. While location technologies offer a lot of exciting opportunities for organisations to implement improvements and drive transformation, it is important to take the correct approach. Technology should never be the starting point, it is merely the enabler.