Anne Bezancon

Founder & President
Placecast


NATASHA What does location intelligence/geo mean to you?

ANNE It means a few different things depending on the context. Incorporating location as a dimension of thinking is the rst way to look at it. A more practical and business perspective is being able to derive actionable information from location data to make business decisions. Lastly, location information is more than 2D maps; a lot of attributes can be attached to location in order to derive useful information for a variety of applications.

My experience with location technology is very much tied to the use of the mobile phone. As a society we are still discovering the difference between the PC and the phone. The phone is different—it’s an extension of me, and it is my interface with the digital world. It is a very intimate part of that next generation of human beings we are becoming.

Understanding where someone is, based on where their device is located, is a new concept. I believe that messaging to the mobile phone is the equivalent of whispering into someone’s ear. As a generation, we are just starting to understand the magnitude of the change that the mobile phone has on how we behave. Location is part of our digital evolution.

NATASHA How did you get into location?

ANNE I have always been in location because I have always enjoyed maps and had an appreciation for the spatial context. My father is an architect, so early on I was made aware of my surroundings and that has had a tremendous impact on how I see the world.

NATASHA How does location inspire?

ANNE If it does, it is not directly out of location itself, but instead what a particular location represents. What is inspiring to people is the significance a location has for them. We remember where we were when signi cant things happened to us. The moment you start talking about location you start talking about physical context. One of the characteristics of human beings is that we cannot be in two places at one time. We have physical constraints. Location, in my way of looking at the world, is a dimension that is pervasive; whether we are all aware of it is a different story.


I believe that messaging to the mobile phone is the equivalent of whispering into someone’s ear. As a generation we are just starting to understand the magnitude of the change that the mobile phone has on how we behave. Location is part of our digital evolution.


NATASHA How does location-based thinking improve business, the world and society, the economy?

ANNE Depending on your beliefs, businesses should have a positive impact on the society and the economy. Therefore being able to provide services that are better suited to how we behave in the physical world is a good thing. We started my company, Placecast, on the presumption that the future of computing would be mobile, and the way of accessing information and determining needs would be based on understanding the surroundings and meaning of location.

Our focus is on saving time and money for everyone involved in the buying and selling of goods and services. The first business case we decided to improve upon was advertising, because 95% of the advertising people are exposed to is not relevant to them. Location is the missing dimension in relevancy.


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“The first business case we decided to improve upon was advertising, because 95% of the advertising people are exposed to is not relevant to them. Location is the missing dimension in relevancy.”


NATASHA What is your role relative to location in your position?

ANNE As the leader in geo-fence marketing, at Placecast we provide large organizations with tools to better serve their customers. We focus on turnkey solutions such as Shop-Alerts to deliver personalized—and therefore relevant— offers on the mobile phone.

NATASHA What is the future of location?

ANNE The future of location is tied to the extraordinary adoption of mobile computing. I started Placecast in 2005 before the iPhone came out. You can imagine how at that time it was difficult for many people to comprehend how the data of where you are would be relevant and pervasive. Location is going to permeate business decisions about almost everything. For example, the use of location in healthcare products and services will range from determining disease outbreaks to reminders to take prescription drugs and everything in between.

Location information is extremely powerful, and the technology needs to be well understood, rules of engagement need to be established, and personal privacy needs to be protected. We need to be very transparent about the use of data. I am probably one of the few founders of an advertising-based company that fundamentally cares about the privacy of her users. In the future, every service provided on a phone will be on an opt-in basis.

NATASHA How does location benefit women in the world?

ANNE At the highest level, it is important to note that the more information and transparency is available the more everyone, men and women, and business and politics benefits. How location affects women today is really a function of where they live; it is more of a descriptor of their current situation relative to individual rights and equal access to opportunities as men.

If you are part of a group of humans that is not always respected, then understanding the context of that behavior is the path to solving problems. Looking at the question from a pragmatic and perhaps more U.S.-centric approach, we recognize that the majority of buying decisions are made by women. Busy women, especially women with young children who are starved for time, are always looking for ways to simplify their day. The ability to provide useful and actionable information, at the right time and place, and save shopping time and money can be very valuable to a stressed out Mom, on top of being good customer management on the part of advertisers.