Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mobile Strategies, PIOs, Optimized Intersections and Patterns of Life, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we discussed PIOs (performance impact objects) and "optimized intersections" as they relate to mobile technologies and the mobile workforces  Here in Part 2 we are going to discuss "patterns of life" capabilities and how they relate to business analytics and decision making.

In the intelligence community, patterns of life refers to the study or analysis of the patterns observed in a person's or object's life. For example, a building may be observed over time through the camera of a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and people can be seen entering and leaving the building at particular times.  The people leaving the building drive specific vehicles and come and go from specific locations.  Over the course of a month or longer, patterns and participants can become clear and this offers valuable information to the analyst.

A company does not require a UAV to be able to observe "patterns of life."  GPS and workforce tracking solutions, customer behaviors, data capture technologies and smartphones enable you, over a period of time to observe the patterns of life of your workforce, vehicles, equipment and customers.  Here is a list of pattern of life examples:

  • Hours equipment is in operation, moving and sitting idle.
  • Workforce driving habits.
  • Time of day that customers want deliveries.
  • Route speeds between delivery points at different times of the day
  • Locations where company vehicles refuel.
  • Places where service technicians purchase parts, materials and supplies.
  • Driving time vs. billable work time.
  • Ideal locations for company warehouses, suppliers and sales offices based upon proximity to work and customers. 

Once this data is collected and analyzed, patters of life can emerge that were never before recognized.  The next step is to represent these patterns on a map.  Barry Barlow, a Director at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) says, "If you go into any operations center today you will see people using a Google Earth representation of what’s going on in the world."  Just seeing the patterns and activities visually represented is powerful.

Patterns of Life only emerge if you have visibility into operations in the field.  This data is most often collected through GPS vehicle and equipment tracking, and mobile device data collection.

KevinThis ThisThiddddd Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.