Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Horizontal Location Intelligence and Growing Global Presence at Pitney Bowes
June 1st, 2016 by Susan Smith
Joe Francica, managing director of Geospatial Industry Solutions, Digital Commerce Solutions for Pitney Bowes talked about the company’s focus on the launch of horizontal location intelligence, while at GEOINT Symposium 2016 a week ago.
As readers may remember, Pitney Bowes, a company known for postal machines, mailing and addressing, really appeared on the geospatial map with its acquisition of MapInfo in 2007. Geocoding is a huge part of Pitney Bowes and has been for many years, with its valuable addressing and location datasets.
“We define ‘geoenrichment’ as appending customer data,” said Francica. “We can’t map unless we geocode.”
Pitney Bowes has a deep background in geocoding. Their Master Location Data (MLD) is a pre-geocoded dataset that serves as the foundation for the U.S. market, with U.S. addresses to use as a data factory for datasets. They can append more data to create vertical datasets. Currently the dataset has 140 million addresses with over 200 attributes with 20 different data products. The plan is to extend this beyond the U.S., with the next stop the UK, sometime later this year.
Location intelligence for business intelligence is another big area for Pitney Bowes for which they offer Spectrum Spatial for Business Intelligence. Their Commerce Cloud as SAAS offerings, Geo APIs, geocoding, mapping data for which the target audience is software developers.
MapInfo Pro Advanced now offers raster image processing, a new file format for raster, lossless rasterization, which prevents the loss of spatial resolution.
Predictive Customer Analytics serves the big data market. One of the four major telcos uses their map. Telco is a major market for Pitney Bowes, and as long as the analytics includes lat/long, any sensor device can be used.
“It doesn’t matter who the client is, whether it’s for public safety, military, etc., precision geocoding is important,” said Francica.
Francica said the concept of the data factory is part of all their processes to create custom and vertically oriented datasets. The geo-coded datasets will continue to be built out internationally
“In general, Pitney Bowes has an international geocoder,” said Francica, who has just recently returned from working with the PSMA Agency in Australia on geocodes and datasets for the country. “We have 120 countries at the rooftop level, 240 at less than rooftop, interpolated at the postal level. We’re known for geocoding that’s very accurate.”
Consumer mapping technologies made accessible by SaaS and cloud technologies are part of the scalable location solutions offered by Pitney Bowes. These solutions support web, mobile, cloud capabilities and can be embedded into existing workflows:
GeoEnrichment solutions – Using Pitney Bowes new pre-geocoded Master Location Data (MLD) database, clients can append additional attributes to every client record. MLD has accurate location data for over 170 million U.S. addresses. MLD is also the foundation for new industry data for risk, property, weather and other specific types of information.
What Pitney Bowes calls “LI for BI” – brings powerful location analytics into business intelligence with Spectrum Spatial for BI Software that integrates with the most popular BI solutions. Spectrum Spatial for BI adds advanced visualization cluster maps, heat maps, in additional to analytics, giving it bidirectionality. You can draw a buffer zone on a map, collect the points within the buffer, and see the results reflected in Data Warehouse. Or you can query the Data Warehouse and see it displayed on the map.
The Commerce Cloud within the cloud is now a comprised of SaaS offerings for all Pitney Bowes’ geospatial underpinnings called the GEO-APIs. “It exposes all our underlying geocoding, mapping, and data in a set of six APIs,” said Francica. More information can be found at developer.pitneybowes.com under location intelligence APIs.
The target market for GEO-APIs are software developers and Java programmers. “When you look across the board at Pitney Bowes, we’re offering a lot of our underpinning technologies across the traditional businesses for Pitney Bowes mailing, shipping and commerce, and now we’re bringing all our location intelligence technology as well, and exposing them to software developers. So whether you’re building a little app, or building an enterprise solution, you have those APIs available to you.”
MapInfo Pro Advanced sits on top of MapInfo Pro for raster image processing. Pitney Bowes has created proprietary multi-resolution raster, or MRR, a lossless visualization file format, that can handle any size raster file, digital imagery and terrain models. You can zoom in or out, analyze it, you will not lose spatial resolution. In other image processing tools, often you have to resample the image in order to process it, this is totally lossless. The closer you zoom in, you don’t have to keep refreshing the screen to get to it.
The Applied Analytics and Marketing consultancy provides a full suite of location-intelligent solutions to clients. A whole team of people do nothing but predictive analytics for location technology. “They’ll come to retailers and say do you want to find the best configuration for 100 retails stores? And we’ll develop a model,” said Francica. The team can focus on location data to provide businesses with insights around channel investment, identification of market opportunities and targeted customer communications.
Pitney Bowes ability to serve the big data market is maximized with their underlying Spectrum Spatial capabilities in doing a native integration with big data engines like Hadoop.
“We’ve already done this for a very large telecom company,” said Francica. “They wanted to verify their coverage map. Instead of doing it the traditional way of using signal attenuation using digital terrain data, we’re actually taking a digital data stream off the phone and they’re pinging the phone for a signal string.”
Telco is one of Pitney Bowes’ major markets. “So long as it has a lat/long we will ingest it and geocode and geoenrich it, and then map it.”
Zillow is one of Pitney Bowes’ big customers for geocoding.
Pitney Bowes’ presence at GEOINT speaks to its ability to address a wide variety of markets with precision geocoding. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to locate your best insurance client or you’re trying to locate your people for public safety or if you’re dealing with terrorists, you don’t want to bang down the wrong door, so precision geocoding is extremely important for the government audience, both civilian and military,” said Francica. “We want to be able to play with the NGA who need geocoding but also need an accurate dataset.”
In addition, Pitney Bowes is a data provider as well as software provider, with data that is compelling for the GEOINT audience.
“GIS should have always been an embedded technology,” said Francica. “We never thought that GIS should stand on its own. In order for us to grow the industry there had to be some sort of integration with enterprise solutions so from a Pitney Bowes standpoint, integrating with BI solutions is one way, having our SDKs integrate with big data engines is another. I think our architecture is open enough to our SDKS and APIs so we want to be able to plug in where we are needed to plug in.
Because we have this other part of Pitney Bowes that does data quality, data validation, address cleansing, address validation, ETL, that’s just the upfront work, then we add geocoding, and that’s a whole geo-enrichment workflow. You can’t have location analytics without geo-enrichment, you can’t get to this phase unless you’ve got good clean data. Unless you have good geocoding you’re not going to be able to trust your data. And then on the location analytics side, now you know where your client is now you can target them with a omni-channel approach. With this approach, we will be able to offer personalized interactive video.”
MapInfo 16.0 is coming out in October, as well as more solution oriented approaches for industry clients, such as specific datasets for fire protection and property attributes. All in all, Pitney Bowes covers a wide spectrum of data, solutions and technology, that they can integrate into all the business units, and extend across the globe.
Categories: airports, analytics, asset management, Big Data, cloud, cloud network analytics, crowd source, data, developers, disaster relief, emergency response, geocoding, geoinformatics, geomatics, geospatial, GIS, GPS, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, NGA, Pitney Bowes