Location-based services continue to be the standard components of many apps and internet-based devices, with an ever-expanding list of use cases. Geolocation technology has been in the spotlight in recent times thanks to its use in contact tracing, crowd density reporting, and social distancing recommendations among others.
The technology is being used effectively in apps to enrich and streamline user experiences. Here is a closer look at what geolocation is, its benefits, and five ways it helps optimize the user experience.
What is geolocation?
Geolocation technology uses data from the user's mobile device or computer to identify their actual physical location. The technology collects both active device and user-based data and passive server-based data including IP addresses, positioning satellites, WiFi networks, and cell towers.
Geolocation enables any internet-connected device to get real-time geographical data to locate the user at any given time with pinpoint accuracy.
The technology forms the basis for geofencing and geotargeting - which are location-based marketing tactics used by businesses. Marketers target consumers with marketing messages based on the consumers' locality and behaviour.
Benefits of geolocation
The benefits of geolocation for individuals and businesses are far-reaching. Right from retail, manufacturing, insurance, financial services, utilities, governments to transport companies, businesses are increasingly leveraging geolocation to optimize their operations and customer experience. Some benefits include:
. Targeted advertising
. Autonomous vehicles
. Asset management
. Content customization
. Augmented reality
. Fraud detection using location
. Load balancing
. Real-time management of incidents
. Remote health monitoring
. Healthcare analytics
5 key ways geolocation technology optimizes apps
1. Shopping experience - Innovative apps such as Target use geolocation technology to optimize in-store shopping experiences. Utilizing the current position of the user, these apps enable consumers to choose items, apply discounts, and purchase through the app. When the current location shows the user is in proximity, a Target representative is ready to load up the purchases when the user pulls in. The app shows shoppers where the item they want is located in the store by utilizing their location as they move through the aisle.
2. Personalized recommendations - Apps like Bizzy are utilizing geolocation to give personalized recommendations on places to visit based on the places the user has already visited or has a passion for. When users sign up on Bizzy the first time, they need to answer questions on their favourite coffee shop, store, or relaxation spot. Based on these answers, the app gives recommendations on new places the user can visit.
3. Weather information - Dark Sky is an example of an app that uses geolocation to pinpoint weather services and offer hyper-local and long-term weather forecasts. Push notifications warn users of sudden precipitation while there are satellite and radar maps for those interested in exploring the weather conditions further.
4. Payments - Financial institutions use geolocation in their apps to detect potential payment card theft. These apps do this by matching the location of the phones of their customers to where the payment card is used. If the locations of the two do not match, the card shuts down.
5. Driving - While geolocation is most commonly used to help users get from point A to B, apps like Waze have added crowdsourced information. Drivers can report accidents, speed traps, and construction that are then integrated to live maps. The real-time information enables commuters to take alternative routes.
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