Brazil is home to many innovative geospatial technologists. They are putting their resources behind new location intelligence solutions, employing analytics to support clients in retail and logistics. Editor in Chief Joe Francica led the first Location Intelligence Conference Brazil and got a front row seat to observe companies that are looking beyond their borders to expand into new markets.
Brazilian software solution companies are developing applications for local businesses in marketing and site selection; they are also looking to expand beyond their borders. Many shared their stories at Directions Magazine’s Location Intelligence Brazil Conference, held the third week of June in Sao Paulo.
Geofusion’s CEO Pedro Figoli discussed the applications his company has built for Brazilian franchisors for site analysis and consumer profiling. Geofusion has provided solutions for major brands such as Coca Cola, McDonald's Brazil and Outback Steakhouse. Geofusion recently received an investment from Intel Capital and is looking to expand outside Brazil, according to Valeria Duarte, one of the company's principals.
Geofusion's challenge is a typical one: Educate the client but don't overwhelm them with technology. Geofusion's SaaS solution, OnMap, delivers demographic data and consumer profiles as well as a workflow that will walk the client toward ever more sophisticated spatial analysis. OnMap can be sold with add-on vertical solutions that integrate specific market expenditure data for retailers and merchandisers. Developed over period of over 10 years, it's a solution that Geofusion has delivered to other Latin American countries, as well.
Cognatis, another location intelligence software provider, offers a methodology and model to its clients before delivering the solution. CEO Reinaldo Gregori shared the example of a banking client with over 1,000 branches for whom Cognatis is developing market segmentation and pscyhographic cluster analysis for marketing and site selection applications.
Cuia's Vagner Sacremento is investigating how geospatial big data can transform businesses. By mining marketing data he believes that better market segmentation models are possible. He sees new ways to target markets through more advanced demographic and merchandising information models, leading to what he calls "mass personalization." His belief is that big data is equivalent to a new economic asset, much as oil was during the industrial revolution.
MapLink offers both a tourist traffic app and a solution to analyze traffic data. Using information from its app users, MapLink develops algorithms for predictive traffic analysis and has recently signed an agreement with INRIX. MapLink supplies information from 18 million users over 900,000 kilometers in Brazil. MapLink has not partnered with local government officials because MapLink's data often differs from those provided by traffic authorities. And, according to Frederico Hogan, the company's commercial director, "Someone would have to take responsibility for data that does not correspond with MapLink’s."
Apontador's Rafael Siqueira is experimenting with microlocation networking and location-based advertising. Apontador sees potential in capturing data from consumers using wearable products with embedded RFID chips that link to mobile apps. When the RFID chip passively senses its companion sensor attached to a nearby product, the wearer would be asked questions such as "Did you like it?" The response is captured and analyzed along with others from those who’ve opted to share their opinion.
Google is also in the location intelligence market in Brazil. It offers Google Maps as a “Platform as a Service,” according to Eduardo Kenzo, Google’s sales director.
HERE's Helder Azevedo described the Nokia Maps database as a basis for clients’ mapping infrastructure.
Other companies, like CDS, are closely working with Oracle to develop business intelligence applications in the healthcare market using Oracle Spatial and Graph plus OBIEE. Eduardo Francisco, CEO of GisBI/FGV, comes at the problem with a background in enterprise computing and BI. He asks whether GIS is just another tool like OLAP or other statistical analysis solutions. He sees the potential, but also sees the challenges of not only integrating geospatial data and mining it for meaningful information, but also of educating the user. "Who's going to assimilate all of this data?" asks Francisco.
Many of these challenges are common to GIS solution providers worldwide. Whether in Brazil or other parts of the world, educating the market and making viable but not simplistic solutions are still the most critical hurdles in developing the location intelligence market. Brazilian companies are extremely innovative and are attacking these problems with solutions that can be expected to reach a worldwide market of new users soon.