How Big Data and GPS Will Rule in 2018  


Today big data, machine learning and location data are playing huge roles in business, finance, politics and almost every sector. There is some concern playing itself out regarding location data and other technology features. While it is important to understand the risks involved in big data and GPS, it is vital to know what role they play in our lives and society today.

While there is a long future ahead for big data and location data, we have seen it utilized already. Below are a few ways location data and big data are being used to improve business and life in 2018.


Companies have been using location data for years. For example, Mastercard uses location data to help stop fraudulent actions and transactions in real time. The company uses a customer’s location when they are using Mastercard’s mobile app. It can tell where the customer is when the transaction is taking place. If it doesn’t see the customer there, it can make a call to question the transaction.

Social Check-Ins

We’ve all either done it or seen our Facebook friends check-in at places they are or have been. That is one way to use geolocation on social media. Another is when companies offer suggestions based on the consumer’s location. This is most easily and notably used by restaurant applications like EatStreet. These apps can provide personalized recommendations based on the consumer’s location, previous interactions on the app and other factors.

Geolocation for Online Retail

Geolocation is also used for online retail. One way retailers are using geolocation is to send push notifications that may include store updates on sales and promotions.

While the retail industry is slightly behind the restaurant industry when using geolocation, it has been experimenting more and more. Starbucks’ mobile app allows customers to place orders ahead of time, which may make its way into the retail industry.

Geolocation for Improving Customer Experience

With more customers shopping online, there is a greater emphasis being placed on consumers’ overall online purchasing experience. A report by Blue Nile Research says 70 percent of business to consumer buyers use three or more research tools before making a choice, and 76 percent of business to business buyers do.

Online retailers can use this information to their advantage in order to make sure customers have a one-stop shop. They can ensure a positive experience during the entire sales process, from searching for a product to purchasing it.


The Future of Big Data and Geolocation

From improving customer experience in online shopping to stopping fraudulent credit card use, we’ve already seen the many ways big data and geolocation have been used in the past and are currently being improved upon. There are a few big ways geolocation and big data will be used in the future.

One of those ways geolocation is starting to be used is for Uber to improve its services. Uber collects data from its users. As soon as someone requests a ride with Uber, it starts using an algorithm that matches the caller with a driver closest to them.

Uber also collects data about the driver like their location and car type so it can notify the caller where the driver is and what vehicle to look for. Uber uses all this data and more to analyze how long the customer’s wait time will be and recommends where the driver should place themselves on the route in order to get the best fare and most passengers.

Uber uses billions of GPS locations, and it organizes them into a data visualization blog that maps everything. This is just the beginning, and Uber will continue to use these tools to expand its services and create a better customer experience.

Another huge way big data and geolocation are being used for the expansion and future of technologies is with the self-driving car. Self-driving cars have faced many challenges. One of those challenges is how to pinpoint a car’s location and help it understand what is going on in that location and how to respond. One of the answers could be geolocation.

Geolocation helps self-driving car companies use digital maps for cars to understand the location of other vehicles and objects to help them drive. These digital maps help the car’s computer understand each situation it faces.

Self-driving cars and Uber are using big data and geolocation to help in their technological endeavors. It is inevitable that we will see other companies take advantage of this technology for the same reasons.

Concerns With Geolocation

While geolocation may offer companies and individuals greater experience and a tool to help with expansion, there are many concerns with geolocation. These concerns are that location tracking happens all the time when using specific apps on a smartphone. Even when an app is not specifically being used, it is using location tracking.

Privacy is one of the greatest concerns brought about by location tracking. One way to compact that invasion of privacy is to disable access to your phone’s location settings. If all location services are disabled, there still may be ways to track a user’s location when they are using specific apps.

With all new technologies come concerns. If these concerns are addressed, companies and individuals alike can utilize geolocation and big data worry-free. Then, they can watch the results come in.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet.

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