Whether we like it or not, the collection of information about our movements takes on an industrial scale.Gadgets have become our indispensable companions, and at the same time, and beacons, writing indelible stories of all our movements.

It should be immediately noted that it is not only about smartphones or tablets, but also simple cell phones. After all, to determine the current location is enough of their signal.

So how is this information used? If we ignore the talk of global conspiracy and total surveillance, the most common is the provision of geo-targeted advertising. Those. advertising that is delivered at the right time and place. For example, knowing where you are now, you can send an advertising message: “Only today and only for you, three sushi for the price of two!”, And indicate the sushi bar, which is just on the way of your route. Find more here https://ipwhois.io

What is more valuable is not pure information about who is where, but a statistical analysis of this information over time. For example, sushi advertising can be made even more effective if you send it only to those who have spent the whole day on the road (this is easy to understand from the history of movements). These people are very likely hungry. Analysis can be complicated as you like, by identifying patterns of behavior. Returning to the previous example, in order to make sushi advertising deadly effective, you can further narrow down the target audience, leaving only those who love sushi (this is easy to understand from the recent history of movements and visited establishments).

Systems that are able to distribute such effective advertising, still exist in embryonic form, but already exist.

Increases the cost of geo-information and its analysis together with other data. For example, Google has the ability to cross-analyze the semantics of user search queries and their locations. For those who do not know, the world's most popular Android mobile platform belongs to Google.

Another way to monetize geo-information is to control user behavior. Obviously, in this case, the information provider can receive the maximum remuneration from the supplier of the product or service itself. How it works, I will illustrate with a simple example of car navigation. In the era of “smart navigators”, who know about the current traffic situation (traffic jams, repair work, etc.), people traveled along the roads, basically, by the usual broken roads. Now the proportion of those who go wherever the navigator leads, is steadily growing. And indeed, it is convenient. But you are traveling, often by an unknown route. And on this route there are many different institutions, including sushi bars. Further, I think everything is clear.

The global market for information on the geolocation of users is currently estimated at $ 10 billion and is one of the fastest growing. The main demand is formed in the segments of advertising and retail.

Who collects geo-information?

Naturally, the main player in the market for collecting geo-information are cellular operators. They have enormous advantages over others, namely:
- large audience coverage,
- no need to introduce any major technological innovations to collect geo-information, since this information is already being collected (otherwise the connection would simply not work),
- the inability of users to wish to limit the use of your location information.

Further, in the ranking of influential players in the geoinformation collection market, you can place manufacturers of mobile platforms that provide embedded geolocation services (this list includes all modern platforms known to me). However, the recent scandal around Apple greatly narrowed their capabilities. Now, device users can enable and disable geolocation functions on their device at their discretion.

And the top three are closed by various geolocation services such as Foursquare, car navigators, mobile dating services, etc.

The list of those who have the ability to collect geo-information is not limited to this troika (there are, for example, WiFi networks), but their capabilities are likely to be built into the ecosystems of the major players.

Privacy protection

This is the most sensitive question.

On the one hand, by law, all data on user movements that are collected and processed must be impersonal. But how to control it?

On the other hand, information is not simply collected, but processed and analyzed. In the process of analysis, such interesting patterns come to light, about which people still have not had a clue. The question is what is ethical and what is not?

On the third hand, of course, any company collecting any information about users will try to do this most correctly, since there is such a thing as reputational costs that can be very high.

They earn us, and what do we get in return?

In my opinion, much more.

Soon, advertising will begin to guess our needs with absolute precision, and we will begin to perceive it not as distracting and annoying, but as useful and even necessary. I believe that there will soon be a qualitative transition of advertising to a new state.

The mobile device will become an indispensable personal assistant and secretary. Augmented reality will expand our consciousness and fill life with new colors (I plan to devote a separate article to this topic).

Already now, security services are being actively developed based on user geolocation and mutual aid principles that will enhance human and social security in an amazing way. In an emergency, a person can, by pressing the alarm button on a smartphone (or on a separate key fob), instantly attract the attention of others and get quick help from special services.

Another example - the search for witnesses of an accident. Anyone can easily send a message with a request to respond to those who were nearby during an accident. And it is possible to extrapolate this opportunity from the case “here and now” to the case “anytime and anywhere”.

Very soon in Germany, flying drones will be used for emergency delivery of resuscitation equipment. The device will be able to deliver a defibrillator to a person whose heart has stopped, maximum 10 minutes after receiving the call. This in the future will be able to save millions of lives every year.

Currently, a lot of location services are being developed to improve our lives. Make it more interesting, comfortable, safe. And what will come of this, wait and see.

Author's Bio: 

Manager of the company