Information technology has shifted the paradigm of the economy. In a macroeconomic sense, information technology affects the patterns of production, investment and employment. In a microeconomic sense, information technology changes business activities.The world is changing from the industrial age to the information age. The rise of information technology marks a more complex relations between space and time. The accent must be on the approach to treat the space and time as the key, integrated entities in the ” new mobility”. Where people live? Where, when and how they go? And where, when, and how they spend their money are now key factors in the business success. From product development to distribution, marketing and sales, location technologies help companies identify, understand and serve their markets far more effectively than ever before. Location plays a key role in determining the type and nature of human activity. Location is correlated with, if not a determinant of consumers’ information needs, and product or service choices. In their description of the Where 2. 0 conference for 2011, the organizers enroll location as a potential fix for the current economic crisis. As location-aware technologies progress and spread across the globe, the more questions are arising. What can businesses do to stay ahead of the changes? Which technologies are the most efficient and flexible for creating location-aware apps? What does location data tell us about our customers and how do we use those insights to make money? It is important to note, location as furthered by this renewed Internet industry has seemingly extended the influence of the ‘ social’ as a driver of contemporary Internet innovations. However, knowledge of the user’s location is only part of the problem in delivering a superior customer experience. Depending on where/when/how/with whom/why customers are navigating in physical space, customers can have vastly different information needs. A football fan attending a game with friends is likely to have a completely different need/consumption profile that a housewife on a routine trip to the supermarket. Even if the retailer was able to push information or advertising with great reliability to these customers, they might have an extremely hard time figuring out what the customer is doing or wants at that location. It becomes critical for the retailer to understand the customer’s needs and act on them in a real-time fashion. One can attempt to classify such information needs along criteria like location (at home, office, in a retail environment, in public or personal transit, for example), amount and type of time available, individual or group needs, the context of the immediate physical neighborhood, personal preferences, time of day, etc. These can be matched with service offerings (both push and pull), whether they take the form of maps or directory information, third-party advertising or promotions, music, games, multimedia downloads, etc. It therefore becomes apparent that Location based services cannot succeed in a business sense without integrated framework based on detailed knowledge of customer profiles, history, needs and preferences.
2. Detecting procedures using standard global positioning system and geographical information system
2. 1 Transmission signals from space and GPS point positioning
Key to the development of location-based services is the ability to coordinate a global location, thanks to the introduction of the global positioning system (GPS). GPS positioning is based on trilateration, which is the method of determining position by measuring distances to points at known coordinates. At a minimum, trilateration requires three ranges to three known points. GPS point positioning, on the other hand, requires four ‘ pseudoranges’ to four satellites. Let us now, in the simple form, summarize how the GPS signal is transmitted from space, and then received on the ground. The GPS signal starts in the satellite as a voltage, which oscillates at the fundamental clock frequency of 10. 23MHz. (If S/A is on, this signal is then ‘ dithered’ so that the frequency varies unpredictably.) This signal is then separately multiplied in frequency by the integers 154 and 120, to create the L1 and L2 carrier signals. The signals are then multiplied by +1 and −1 according the algorithms described above to generate the C/A code (on L1) and the P code (on both L1 and L2). These codes are unique to each satellite. Finally, the Navigation Message is encoded onto the signal. The signals are boosted by an amplifier, and then sent to transmitting antennas, which point towards the Earth. These antennas are little more than exposed electrical conductors which radiate the signal into space in the form of electromagnetic waves. These electromagnetic waves pass through space and the Earth’s atmosphere, at very close to the speed of light in a vacuum, until they reach the receiver’s antenna. The waves create a minute signal in the antenna, in the form of an oscillating voltage. The signal is now pre-amplified at the antenna, to boost the signal strength, so that it is not overcome by noise by the time it gets to the other end of the antenna cable. The signal then enters the receiver, which then measures it using a process known as ‘ autocorrelation’. The receiver also generates GPS-like signals internally. The receiver knows precisely what the transmitted GPS signal is supposed to look like at any given time, and it generates an electronic replica, in synchronization with the receiver’s own clock. The receiver then compares the replica signal with the actual signal. Since the GPS signal was actually created in the satellite some time previously (about 0. 07 seconds ago, due to the speed of light), the receiver’s replica signal must be delayed to match up the incoming signal with the replica signal. This time delay is actually what the receiver is fundamentally measuring. Clearly, this represents the time taken for the signal to pass from the satellite to the receiver, but it also includes any error in the satellite clock, and any error in the receiver clock. The ” new revolution” in GPS started with the increase in positional accuracy and vertical diversity of the devices which are equipped with GPS. The era of ” Smart mobile devices” (mobile phones, tablets, netbooks etc) makes the GPS devices available to everyone, everywhere and anytime. Some of the authors forecast that GPS technology will enable the ” neutralization of cartographic representation”, as Escolar (2003, 50) writes of modernized mapping practices.
2. 2 Merging the GIS geometry and attribute data
It is significant, even after so many years of the ” public life” of GIS, there is still no widespread agreement on the definitions and taxonomy of these systems. There are no hard boundaries between their use, application or specification. Geographical data is most often separated into two components: spatial data and attribute data. The spatial data are visualized as real-world objects in a computer model, e. g. roads, buildings, crime locations. Typically, spatial data is presented as features on a digital map. Attribute data (textual, numeric, photographic, etc.) describes these real-world objects, e. g. name, cost, size, and an image of what the object looks like. The strength of GIS is to combine these two different types of data (spatial and attribute), analyze them and present the different results. This key characteristic of GIS has begun to open new avenues of scientific inquiry into behaviors and patterns of previously considered unrelated real-world information.
2. 3 Understanding Retail Customers – combining CRM and geocoded retail analytics
Understanding where their customers are enables retail managers to better serve them. Retail analysts gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior and purchasing preferences by including location technology and demographic data. This intelligence is leveraged to increase profitability and to launch expansion strategies. To get the most out of a location-based geocoding system, retailers must first collect at least the most basic geographic information from customers, such as a postal code, at the store level. Preferably the information includes a name and address, the products they purchased and the costs of the products. This information can then be linked with geodemographic information to bring new and meaningful insight into these purchases. During the development of any retailers’ marketing plan, topping the wish list is a desire to know what specific groups of customers were the most historically profitable and therefore deserve a stronger focus and higher marketing budget. Retailers already using customer-modeling applications can apply geodemographic data to tie existing information to supplement neighbourhood demographic data. This provides an ideal understanding of where the most profitable customer clusters are located and what they are like in terms of demographics, based on census data, and lifestyle habits. After investing in sophisticated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, retail businesses typically understand their customers’ purchasing habits via their postal codes, income and other demographic characteristics. But location affects customer behaviour as much, if not more than demographic characteristics. To fully understand the customer, retailers must understand where they live and what their location means. Combining CRM and geocoded retail analytics facilitate better commercial decisions – based on historical consumer and relevant store data. Senior management at Retail are now handily equipped with demand and sales forecasting tools, and trend analysis by customer segment related to product sales. This technology is enabling forward-thinking companies to evaluate the effectiveness of promotional campaigns, and determining the impact of marketing events (coupons, discounts, specials, advertisements), as well as customer retention and acquisition. Collecting customer information in a CRM database is a necessary step, but retailers understand they can only begin to reap profits from that data by analyzing it. The numbers themselves can only go so far, the best way to truly analyze the data is through location-based intelligence. Only then can retail managers understand their customers in a real-world context, providing the information needed to better serve them. Income, environment, means and some others (whether by race and ethnicity) define neighborhoods, but when it comes to any neighborhood, they are, in fact, the sum of their parts. The object of effective marketing is to look at all of these factors and determine community clusters and their buying habits in order to allocate budgets appropriately. One method comes from combining the spatial information of a given neighborhood with its demographic data: geodemographics. With the dynamics of immigration and upward mobility factors, people with similar cultural backgrounds and perspectives gravitate toward one another or ” cluster” to form an identifiable community. Once settled in, people naturally tend to emulate their neighbors, adopt similar social values, tastes and expectations. Most importantly to retailing organizations and their managers, these neighbors share similar patterns of purchase decisions and predictable consumer behavior. Soon after synergistic location technologies were introduced, retailers began to match obvious characteristics within neighborhoods. Knowing their marketers would never target two distinct audiences with similar products, certain patterns have emerged that have fostered intense competitive battles for market share. Executives, for example, in the automobile industry realized each community might have several similar characteristics and enjoy homogeneity when it comes to buying, but purchase choices ranged from luxurious European cars to inexpensive Asian cars. With geodemographics, retailers can create far more effective marketing programs that attract targeted customers. Discovering drivers of product sales, and quantifying the impact of each driver is crucial to all retailing organizations. Determining why sales in reality differed from a well thought-out plan and how to quickly act in order to maximize marketing efforts, whether by cross-selling and up-selling, or in particular offering the right product to the right customer segment at the right time is critical to retailing success. Location-based data mining and mapping services could help retailers dramatically increase revenue and profitability, develop lifelong relationships with the most profitable customer segments, enhance new customer retention and acquisition campaigns, and increase targeted cross-sell and up-sell promotions.
2. 4 The ” customer mapping” and loyalty on a market place
For retailing organizations, retaining a customer is cheaper than attracting a new one. While it has been stated word of mouth is the best form of advertising, it can also prove to be a nightmare for marketers when something goes wrong. Take the example of a wireless carrier that is trying to understand the difference between customers who have terminated their service and those who remain loyal. The carrier has two data sets filled with demographic information: one of the churned customers and another of those who are loyal. When you look at all the data points associated with churn, such as length of contract, age, income, gender, and monthly usage, it turns out that whether people live in an area with poor signal strength is the most predictive variable. If people are not able to use their phones, they will leave the service. Gaining new insights is one thing, but the real power comes from using that insight throughout the organization for better, more profitable decision making. Knowing that the signal strength affects customer loyalty may determine where the carrier puts new towers. It may also have an impact on where it focuses direct marketing and sales campaigns, and by giving a sales office this information–with the real-time ability to utilize it – the organization can be sure to offer a mix of products and services that will enable the company to be competitive even in the face of a high churn risk. Although the physical distances of customers from retail locations are important, where customers live provides clues regarding other significant characteristics, not gleaned directly from them. In the early days of online mapping, plotting the ” centre of gravity” of a community cluster may have indicated it was actually west of a current store. To take advantage of the intelligence the map provided, a decision was required to relocate, open a new outlet, or shift the centre of the cluster. Retail managers now look for similar customer profiles in each cluster. By locating high clusters with untapped potential, the retailers realize the full potential of catalogue mailing, and direct selling efforts online or wirelessly, within specific markets. This information proves powerful in analyzing specific product purchasing trends. It enables retailers to identify where certain product transactions were taking place, which helps them better stock stores and target selected products to specific geographic areas. An important aspect in business is the identification of a target market or ” customer mapping.” By using geography and mapping potential customers, those looking to identify their market can find the highest concentration of the best potential customers. GIS allows this mapping to be completed in an efficient manner and maps created with this tool can have color-coding to identify customer concentrations.
2. 5. Identifying Business and Types of Services in the Same Area
Like customer mapping, it’s important to businesses to locate where a service is needed to get the best possible sales numbers. Using mapping allows various types of customers to be easily identified to see if an area needs a business or service. Take for instance, a senior center. Because this is a specialized service it is important for it to be located within an area with a high proportion of senior citizens. By using customer mapping like in the children’s clothing store example, the highest proportion of senior citizens in a city can be easily identified. Therefore, the area with a greater senior population would need this service more than another without that age group. Another problem that sometimes occurs in business is the location of two types of service in the same area. Often one can drive another out by taking its customers and/or users (in the case of the senior center). For example if there is already a hot dog cart in a downtown area, a new one should not open on the next corner over unless there are enough customers to support both. With business geographics all businesses or services of a certain type in a city can be mapped. By using GIS, the target customers can be put on top of a layer showing current hot dog stand locations for instance. The result would be the ideal location for a new stand. Business geographics also helps businesses to analyze the geographic patterns in their sales. In identifying these patterns, business managers can see certain areas where people buy various products. This is important because the peaks of say, black coffee as opposed to coffee with cream, might not be recognizable any other way. By identifying such peaks through the sale of different items at several coffee houses in a chain, the manager of the chain can determine which items to carry at the different locations. In doing so, business for the chain can become more efficient. Identifying markets, determining if a service is needed, and identifying the location of other similar businesses in an area are all part of site selection – a major part of business geographics. Also important to site selection however, are incomes, community growth rates, available workers, and the physical features of an area such as roads, water, and other materials that may be needed to produce or sell a product. By using GIS, each of these factors can be layered on top of each other. The resulting map (identifying the location using GIS)will then highlight the best possible site based on the characteristics deemed most important by the businesses managers.
3. Location-based services supported by technological mobility
3. 1 Mobility
Location based services are not merely about location, in this sense, and can be read as technologies of mobility. As Cresswell (2010) writes, mobility is ” the entanglement of movement, representation, and practice”. Physical movement, Cresswell continues, is the ” raw material” of mobility. Beyond this notion, however, representations of mobility abound. Mobility is thus about the meanings of movement (or the absence of movement) (Cresswell, 2011). In this sense, mobilities demand a recognition of the spatiality of our worlded interactions, despite the ways in which space and time are ” tamed”, to use Massey (2005), by some methods for measuring movement. The rise of information technology marks a further enabling of the turning of space into time, while also producing more complex relationships of mobility between the here and there. These geographies of information technology emphasize the ways in which technology imbricates in everyday life. And as mobile-device hardware and software became more sophisticated — ‘ smart’ — so did consumer desire for locational technology. State-of-the-art mobile technology has evolved from the simple pagers and bulky mobile phones of yesterday to today’s multifunctional smartphones and computer tablets. This modern mobile landscape is supported by digital networks that are available around the globe. Such advancements have fueled a rapid and worldwide adoption of mobile technology. We see the evolution of mobility as having four distinct phases (see Figure 1). Each phase has been characterized by enhanced capabilities that have revolutionized the use of mobile devices:• Mobility 1. 0 – basic connectivity. Early mobile devices were used primarily to make phone calls. During this period, the devices were typically large handsets with limited functionality and uncertain reliability.• Mobility 2. 0 – expanded connectivity. By the early 1990s, advancements such as improved batteries and energy-efficient electronics powered the transition from brick-size phones to smaller, easier-to-carry handheld devices. Digital networks (called 2G) enabled a popular new capability: text messaging via the short message service (SMS). The use of SMS has grown substantially around the world since its inception.• Mobility 3. 0 – the unwired enterprise. In the late 1990s, significant demand emerged for data services such as Internet access and for more sophisticated devices that could incorporate personal digital assistant (PDA) features. This growing demand was addressed by improved 3G network technology. Then, with the launch of the BlackBerry from Research in Motion (RIM) in 2002 and Apple Inc.’s iPhone in 2007, smartphones that combine mobile communications with handheld computing capabilities captured the public’s imagination. These technologies also unwired the enterprise – enabling a mobile workforce to access critical business data and applications anytime, anywhere, and on any device.• Mobility 4. 0 – automated interactions. In the future, we will begin to see machines and automated devices use mobile technology to communicate with each other without human interaction. Companies will conduct business in efficient new ways. Consider, for example, a replenishment order placed automatically from a retailer’s scanner that triggers a transaction without any direct employee involvement. The evolution of mobile technology is unlikely to end here. With advanced 4G networks and today’s next-generation devices, the stage is already set for a new wave of innovation. Figure 1. The mobility evolution (SAP Executive Insight Paper, Mobility SeriesMobility: Its Impact, Opportunities, and Challenges)
3. 2 Strengthening the impact of technology integration
Successful large-scale deployment of location based services will require a blend of competencies. A key driver of location-based-services will be a degree to which there is a fit between the system’s technical feasibility and the overall marketing strategy guiding its usage. It is important to consider the different platforms, technologies and standards that are involved in providing Location based services, and the interplay between them. These multiple technologies and platforms (including portable digital assistants, mobile phones, gaming devices, etc.) need to be globally connected and integrated with the wireless network infrastructure. This infrastructure would range from different types of servers to back-end databases. Location based services providers will need to focus on blending software, hardware, and wireless connectivity, into a greater plan for serving Location based services content. Software innovations which are meant for designing low-cost reliability and quality from such a complex puzzle of disparate software, hardware, and connectivity components will accelerate networking effects that, in turn, will grow the customer base and lead to lower operating costs. Technology will impact both internal operations and traditional business-to-consumer relationships. Brick-and-mortar stores – and, more recently, retail Web sites – have established a consistent brand experience for consumers. But the retail paradigm is transforming as customers can now purchase products directly from their mobile devices as well. We see a number of developing trends that will redefine the consumer experience, such as, greater use of location-based services in the combination with augmented realityImagine a business owner using mobile technology to push targeted messages to shoppers passing by the store. It’s quite possible with Location based services that use the global positioning system (GPS) and wireless-network technology to send location-relevant information to mobile devices. Augmented reality applications overlay displays of real-world objects with digital information. Point the camera on mobile phone at a street corner and see information about nearby restaurants, banks, or stores. Mobile devices could replace the wallet altogether as near field communication (NFC) standards make contactless payment technology interoperable with smartphones. NFC is an evolution of the radio-frequency identification (RFID) smart tags seen in the last decade on transit fare cards and contactless payment systems such as Mastercard PayPass and Visa payWave. Used in Japan since 2006, NFC-enabled mobile phones are becoming the default payment method in that country for transactions such as paying for parking fees, train fares, and vending machine items. Google has added NFC support to the Android operating system, and Samsung debuted NFC-enabled hardware with the recently unveiled Wave 578 smartphone. Recently, 70% of retailers surveyed said that within the next two years they plan to offer scannable coupons that consumers can access from their mobile devices. To help ensure customer retention, retailers must carefully consider the interaction between mobile communications and their in-store technology. Increasingly, mobile devices must be viewed as viable alternatives to the current Internet and brick-and-mortar channels. The retailer of the near future will have to monitor customer preferences from multiple data sources to deliver highly targeted offerings at the right price. Transactions made from mobile devices will increase the consumer’s digital footprint and drive greater multichannel communication between businesses and their customers. Information technology objects not only produce representations of our everyday spatiality, but actually produce our spatiality — both enabling and disabling our physical, imaginative, and discursive practice. Technologies matter and have matter; they produce and are produced.
3. 3 Technological feasibility and socially acceptable options of GIS
GIS’s development has been more evolutionary, than revolutionary. It responds to contemporary needs as much as it responds to technical breakthroughs. Planning and management have always required information as the cornerstone. Early information systems relied on physical storage of data and manual processing. With the advent of the computer, most of these data and procedures have been automated. As a result, the focus of GIS has expanded from descriptive inventories to entirely new applications involving prescriptive analysis. In the past, analytical models have focused on management options that are technically optimal. Yet in reality, there is another set of perspectives that must be considered, the social solution. It is this final sieve of management alternatives that most often confounds geographic-based decisions. It uses elusive measures, such as human values, attitudes, beliefs, judgment, trust and understanding. These are not the usual quantitative measures amenable to computer algorithms and traditional decision-making models. The step from technically feasible to socially acceptable options is not so much increased scientific and econometric modeling, as it is communication. Basic to effective communication is involvement of interested parties throughout the decision process. This new participatory environment has two main elements— consensus building and conflict resolution. Consensus building involves technically-driven communication and occurs during the alternative formulation phase. It involves a specialist’s translation of various considerations raised by a decision team into a spatial model. From this perspective, an individual map is not the objective. It is how maps change as the different scenarios are tried that becomes information. Often, seemingly divergent philosophical views result in only slightly different map views. This realization, coupled with active involvement in the decision process, can lead to group consensus. However, if consensus is not obtained, mechanisms for resolving conflict come into play. The socially-driven communication occurs during the decision formulation phase. It involves the creation of a ” conflicts map” which compares the outcomes from two or more competing uses. Each map location is assigned a numeric code describing the actual conflict of various perspectives. For example, a parcel might be identified as ideal for a wildlife preserve, a campground and a timber harvest. As these alternatives are mutually exclusive, a single use must be assigned. The assignment, however, involves a holistic perspective which simultaneously considers the assignments of all other locations in a project area. Traditional scientific approaches rarely are effective in addressing the holistic problem of conflict resolution. Even if a scientific solution is reached, it often is viewed with suspicion by less technically-versed decision-makers. Modern resource information systems provide an alternative approach involving human rationalization and tradeoffs. This process involves statements like, ” If you let me harvest this parcel, I will let you set aside that one as a wildlife preserve.” The statement is followed by a persuasive argument and group discussion. The dialogue is far from a mathematical optimization, but often comes closer to an acceptable decision. It uses the information system to focus discussion away from broad philosophical positions, to a specific project area and its unique distribution of conditions and potential uses. In this direction, GIS might have the unique ability to be the right solution. GIS uses spatio-temporal (space-time) location as the key index variable for all other information. Just as a relational database containing text or numbers can relate many different tables using common key index variables, GIS can relate unrelated information by using location as the key index variable. The key is the location and/or extent in space-time. Any variable that can be located spatially, and increasingly also temporally, can be referenced using a GIS. Locations or extents in Earth space–time may be recorded as dates/times of occurrence, and x, y, and z coordinates representing, longitude, latitude, and elevation, respectively. These GIS coordinates may represent other quantified systems of temporo-spatial reference (for example, film frame number, stream gage station, highway mile-marker, surveyor benchmark, building address, street intersection, entrance gate, water depth sounding, POS or CAD drawing origin/units). Units applied to recorded temporal-spatial data can vary widely (even when using exactly the same data, see map projections), but all Earth-based spatial–temporal location and extent references should, ideally, be relatable to one another and ultimately to a ” real” physical location or extent in space–time. Related by accurate spatial information, an incredible variety of real-world and projected past or future data can be analyzed, interpreted and represented to facilitate education and decision making.
4. Combined approach – outline of the new framework
The new framework with the holistic approach for locating retail customers would be encapsulating the following:- Positioning/locating technologies integrated with the communications networks- GIS – the synergy integrator
4. 1 Positioning/locating technologies Integrated with the communications networks
Figure 2. Positioning/locating technologies integrated with the communications networksThe integration of the positioning/locating technologies with the communications networks would need to combine the following technologies:- GPS- Cell tower triangulation- A-GPS- Cell ID- WPS- Browser-based location- RFID- NFCGPSGPS still remains the most popular and most widely spread positioning technology commercially available today. Considering that GPS is technology which enables Global positing, every system for positing/locating must start with GPS. However, GPS technology has several serious drawback of which the critical that is not working in the most indoor or covered environments. Cell tower triangulationCell tower triangulation uses the known speed of radio signals (constantly emitted by the mobile phone on UHF frequencies) to calculate the distance from receivers. In geometric terms, by recording the distance of an object from three distinct points, it’s possible to calculate the location of that object. Because cell tower triangulation is a network-based localization technique, it requires an agreement with the mobile operator in order to adopt it within a mobile service. Assisted GPSFundamentally, A-GPS tries to address the key inescapable drawback of GPS technology, namely, that a location fix is impossible in most indoor or covered environments. The basic premise of A-GPS is to assist the embedded GPS chip within the handset in securing either a faster or more precise location fix in challenging conditions (such as a weak satellite signal or visibility of only two satellites instead of the required three for a location fix). Cell IDCell ID has gained significantly in popularity as a positioning method in the last few years. Cell ID positioning is accomplished by using the serving cell tower (the tower that a mobile device is communicating with), or the cell, and its known position to find the mobile device’s position. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations intergovernmental fixed and mobile telecommunications regulatory body, assigns to each country a Mobile Country Code (MCC), and within each country a Mobile Network Code (MNC) is assigned to each cellular network operator. WPS – Wireless positioning systemsA key advantage of WPS, indicating they are a must-have for many mobile applications, is that they work indoors where traditionally GPS hasn’t been available. This is because GPS positioning requires a line of sight to the satellite. The Wi-Fi positioning software uses 802. 11 radio signals emitted from wireless routers to determine the precise location of any Wi-Fi–enabled device. When a mobile user running the Wi-Fi positioning client pops up in a neighborhood, the software scans for access points. It then calculates a user’s location by selecting several signals and comparing them to the reference database. Browser-based locationLocation-based services are no longer limited to mobile or GPS devices. Web services running in browsers can now access a user’s location through IP geocoding or centralized databases. IP address-based geolocation or shorter IP geocoding determines a user’s geographic latitude, longitude and, by inference, city, region and nation by comparing the user’s public Internet IP address with known locations of other electronically neighboring servers and routers. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of a wireless non-contact system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object, for the purposes of automatic identification and tracking. Indoor location obtained from RFID, combined with the previously described location-tracking information, opens new technological scenarios. Near Field Communication (NFC)NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 cm distance. NFC is an upgrade of the existing proximity card standard (RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. The significant advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is the shorter set-up time. NFC can also work when one of the devices is not powered by a battery (e. g. on a phone that may be turned off, a contactless smart credit card, etc.).
4. 2 GIS – the synergy integrator
Figure 3 GIS – The Synegry integratorThe previous section with the overview of the locating/positioning technologies clearly indicates the different categories of the location information. Descriptive locations. A descriptive location is always related to natural geographic objects like territories, mountains, and lakes, or to man-made geographical objects like borders, cities, countries, roads, buildings, and rooms within a building. Spatial locations. Strictly speaking, a spatial location represents a single point in the Euclidean space. Another, more intuitive term for spatial location is therefore position. It is usually expressed by means of two- or three-dimensional coordinates, which are given as a vector of numbers, each of it fixing the position in one dimension. Network locations. Network locations refer to the topology of a communications network, for example, the Internet or cellular systems like GSM. Hence, an important function of new the framework is the integration (or maybe better say translation) between the different categories of locations. If positioning delivers a spatial or network location, it must often be mapped onto a descriptive location in order to be interpretable by the respective userGeographic Information System (GIS), is the essential key technologies for fulfilling these tasks. GIS, comparing to ” classical” information systems, has unique features, which enables the integration of the different components These feature are :-Underlying levels of abstraction- Map Analysis- Modeling- VisualizationThe upper layer in a GIS, the so-called geographic data model, provides a conceptual view of geographic content in terms of units called features. A feature represents a real-world entity, for example, a building, road, river, country, or city. The lower layer consists of a spatial component, which fixes its location, shape, and topological relationship with other entities, and a description, which provides non-spatial information about the entity, for example, the name of a city or road, or the population of a country. Each feature has a well-defined set of operations, which is tailored to the type of real-world entity it represents. The relation, real-world entity= spatial component+non-spatial information, enables GIS to be implemented in the different forms and the different level.
5. Common problems – one solutions
In the following section it will be addressed the common problems applying the new framework.
5. 1 Determination outside and inside location
As mentioned in the previous sections, GPS limitation is indoor or covered spaces. It means in reality that we would be able to use GPS location/position technology only outside. Once the person with mobile device is moved to indoor environment or cover space (limited accessibility of satellite signals), the location/position of the person (device) will be lost. Using the new framework, the integrated application will immediately switch from GPS location/position technology (once is self-determined of the bad environment) to any of alternative technologies (mentioned in the previous sections). Vice-versa, once the environment is changed and GPS location/position technology is enabled, it will switch back to GPS. Take the example of the customer who is approaching the shopping mall. One message will be targeting customer using GPS technology (customer is close the shopping centre, but not yet in!, or maybe will not be going to the shopping centre) and second message could be sent to customer which is in the shopping centre. It is worth mentioned that even from the perspective of these two status of the potential customer , one which is near shopping mall but not in and second which clearly defined the position of the customers in the shopping mall, there is very different implication related with the concrete sales.
5. 2 Locating concrete customer
Once the customer (device) is located, as it was mentioned, the message is sent. However, at this point in time, most of the messages are very general (like 10% discount in our store between today and tomorrow). There is no message which is targeting the customer personally. Take the case of the customer approaching the shops with the chocolates and cakes. Having the GIS system which takes control of the backend database system, will have the concrete information about the concrete customer. For example, it may turn that customer has the preferences to the dark chocolate. Knowing this information the system will send the direct (personal) offer to the customer – 10% on every purchase of dark chocolate. It is very ease (even from our personal experience) to know that second offer (direct, personal offer) has high probability to succeed. GIS with database management capability (non-spatial data) to extract and analyze the data from existing Retail system and combine with spatial components (location) – very efficient example of GIS synergy integrator.
5. 3 Push versus pull mechanisms
An important technological and social barrier for Location based services is the ability to deliver targeted information (for example, marketing or promotional messages) according to the location of a mobile subscriber at a particular moment. The social barrier arises from privacy concerns about tracking of a mobile subscriber’s location. The technological barrier arises from the need to keep an Location based services application running in the background of a mobile phone and allow it to wake up according to a combination of the user’s location and predetermined triggers (a geotagged message, for example). This is known as a push mechanism, referring to the automatic delivery of a notification to a mobile handset without the user specifically requesting the message (the other form of message delivery is referred to as a pull mechanism). The framework would introduces the ” two-ways” communications, enabling customer to be in the centre of the solution. Take the example of the customer in the big city who would like to see the availability of the certain items in the different stores and the position of these stores comparing to his/her current location. Web store does not handle this request for the simple reason that is only one of the stores which has the separate stock. In this scenario, with the existing solutions, customer will be only able to see on the device his/her location and location of the stores. However, there is no information about the stock and location of the stock (location of the stores). GIS as part of the framework, again in the role of synergy integrator, would extract the information about the stock from retail system and once the customer is putting the request to find the item, the system will immediately return the stock quantity with the store location. Mapping this information and mapping the information of the customer location – customer will have the clear indication what is the closest store (and even the shortest way to go there!). Small addition of booking the item sending some message (email, sms, voice) to the store will complete the sale process.
5. 4 Business to Business connectivity
At this point in time there is no much interrelation between different retail sectors for the same customer. Take the case of the shopping center where the business relation between coffee shop and supermarket could be established. For example if customer purchase certain items (which are dynamically changing almost every day) in supermarket you will get the half price coffee at the coffee shop or vice-versa having spend some money in coffee shop the customer will be informed in the real time of the promotion of the certain items (showing them location/position) in supermarket. Existing retail systems are very closed and retailers are not in position to interchange the information. Subsystems, to locate the items or to trigger information of the items, do not exist. The GIS system in the our framework will be responsible to have the ” roof” integration between inventory of different retail systems and Wi-FI/RFID/NFC which will be location/position technology in the supermarket and shopping center. Similar, the other retail sectors could benefit with the integration. Points of interest (tourism), taxi services (transport) restaurants (hospitality) could have the integrated solution which will use GPS and GIS solution. Take the case of the tourist landing the first time at the airport of the big city and having the short time to visit the city (one day, half day..). Using the new framework, customer will have the list of the most important points of interest for that city and the locations of restaurants close to this places. Considering that taxi service enabled system to allow customer to track the completely drive (using GPS) and pay accordingly, customer could decide what is for him the optimum to visit (just points of the interest, just restaurant, combination..)
6. Conclusion and Recommendations
The new trends and developments of the information technology have very important or even the critical impact to all spheres of today’s economy. Technological mobility, the characteristic of modern world, is changing the traditional meaning of the location and it is opening new horizons in the location based services. Isolated services, which were mainly used to determinate the static type of location/position, will not be sufficient. All above-mentioned effects are shaping and changing all the sectors in the retail industry. Detect customer location (and understand the value of it) is one of the pre-requisites in the modern retail industry. Combining GPS, as still leading positing technology, with GIS, as synergy integrator, was the first step towards the new integrated approach. This framework was successfully implemented in Research & Development project ” Geocoding in Malta Using Handheld Devices”. Two applications were developed:- GPS_MT- MobileGIS_MTThe first one, GPS_MT application was build for the smart phones with the following functions: Using embedded GPS deviceSend GPS coordinates to server with SMS or EmailIntegration with Google mapsFigure 4 GPS_MT applicationFigure 5. Using communication networks (SMS & Email)Figure 6 Showing the position on the Google mapUsing the handheld GPS receivers with software application above-mentioned, several tests were performed: Comparison with base points provided by MEPA (Malta Environment Planning Authority) Calculating CEP50, PDOPReading in different environment conditionsDGPS based on EGNOSConsidering the specific issues related with Malta environment and landscape, GPS handheld devices might have limitations. There must be a relatively clear ” line of sight” between the GPS antenna and four or more satellites. Objects, such as buildings, overpasses, and other obstructions, that shield the antenna from a satellite can potentially weaken a satellite’s signal such that it becomes too difficult to ensure reliable positioning. These difficulties are particularly prevalent in urban areas. The GPS signal may bounce off nearby objects causing another problem called multipath interference. DGPS (Differential GPS) based on EGNOS did not have any significant influence in improvement of GPS accuracy. The second application, The first one, MobileGPS_MT application was build for the smart phones with the following extended functions: Local storage of electronic base maps of Malta (provided by MEPA)Mobile GIS system functionality (using MapInfo MapX component)Integration with the functions of the previous applicationComparing to the previous application (GPS_MT), this one (MobileGIS_MT) was able to work in any conditions and without any communication network. Figure 7. Base map, locally stored in the smart deviceFigure 8. Mobile GIS functionsFigure 9 Geocoding using mobile GISThe complete solution combines the use of GPS, as initial positioning on the base maps, with GIS functions to do very accurate geocoding. However, in the situation of very difficult conditions, where GPS is not working at all, the minimum GIS functions (like select using the attribute value = nearby object, zooming to practically any level, etc), will give the alternative way of geocoding. In both cases, GIS will be the synergy integrator. The value of the new framework of integrated approach will be, exactly, in combining other positioning/locating technologies with the communications networks where GIS will be synergy integrator on the different levels. The new research and recommendations will be to create the other prototypes of the software solutions based on the above-mentioned integrated approach.