Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Being mobile and connected has made life a lot easier and more enjoyable, from checking your email on the go, to playing games with your friends and checking in to your favorite restaurants. Mobile devices can tell us a lot about our habits, and with smartphones and tablets becoming ubiquitous, there’s a ton of data to go through. Making sense of that data, however, isn’t as easy. That’s where Placed comes in.

Placed is a new service that analyzes location data and contextualizes it, giving developers useful information to improve their apps and our mobile experience. Here’s how it works.

The Placed service first collects location data only on an opt-in basis. Placed is commited to protecting users’ privacy so the service doesn’t collect any location data without explicit permission. Also Placed doesn’t use the data it collects for ads, just analytics for its customers. Once a user opts-in, Placed will start to receive location data like latitude, longitude and orientation.
Placed adds a layer of metadata to nearby places, like a business category and hours of operation. Data is then run through what Shim describes as an inference modeling process, which contextualizes your app’s location data so you can make sense of it. At the end of the process, developers who use Placed get a location analytics report which gives them insights on everything from what time of day users are actively using their app to which businesses they frequent when their app is running. One Placed customer was able to use the service to learn 42% of his users were using his app in a car. That led to added voice controls in app, improving the user experience and functionality of the app.

Placed can impact marketing and ad sales departments. Because Placed analytics can be categorized by several metrics, like time of day, nearby location, and in-app event, these teams can make inferences about their app they weren’t able to do before. For instance, which type of stores are users visting the most? Placed tracks 200 different categories so that marketing teams can get a better sense of who to partner with and which businesses would be appropriate advertisers.