RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • In an online world, every piece of data we generate is a part of who we are.
  • Knowing where someone is and what they are doing creates a huge range of commercial opportunities for companies.
  • Accenture’s 2019 Digital Consumer Survey found that more than half (58%) of all consumers believe that sharing their location data poses personal risk.
  • So how can companies respect users’ privacy while providing location-aware services?


In an online world, every piece of data we generate is a part of who we are. It describes us, our age and gender, our habits and preferences, where we work and live, who we know and who we know well. Location data, more than any other, tells our unique story. Every meaningful interaction, every night’s sleep, every vacation, every purchase, every journey, every waking hour happens at a specific place. Where we are is who we are.

Knowing what consumers like and dislike is hugely valuable to any technology marketer, of course. Knowing where consumers are and what they’re doing at any point in time takes that value to another level. But, perhaps understandably, it’s information that consumers are only happy to provide in exchange for real benefits. And they won’t want to provide it at all unless they trust the organization that they are dealing with.

58%

of consumers believe that sharing their location data poses personal risk, according to Accenture’s 2019 Digital Consumer Survey

So how can companies respect users’ privacy while providing location-aware services?

Some of the most valuable smartphone-enabled experiences rely on a user’s location data. From maps and navigation to weather forecasts and from local search to ride-sharing, knowing a consumer’s precise location is essential to provide the most relevant and timely experience. With the rise of wearable technology, connected vehicles and smart urban environments there’s more potential value from geo-location than ever.

Recent research from Accenture has also identified new experiences “at the edge”—at the intersection of the physical and digital world, like delivery into the home and driverless taxis—which will further shape attitudes and behaviors. At a time when only the most relevant will survive, the potential for companies to be present “in the moment” with their customers is an unmissable opportunity.



The willingness to share overall is in large part a result of the value that location-aware apps are seen to deliver.

63%

of consumers are willing to share their location for directions

48%

of consumers are willing to share their location to check the local weather

Information and search about local services, such as restaurant recommendations and hailing a taxi come next with 34% and 29%, respectively. For other common digital activities, such as dating, gaming and accessing content, only around 10% of consumers are happy to share their whereabouts.

Realizing the value opportunity from location data

Today’s platform companies recognize that geospatial is critical to disruptive innovation. They’re making big bets to build capabilities in shared mobility, autonomous vehicles, last-mile delivery, augmented reality and virtual reality, IoT and geospatial analytics.

As organizations size up and attack the massive geospatial opportunity, it is imperative to marry strong strategy with strong execution, agility and innovation – with a critical eye to quality, customer experience and trust.

There are three concrete steps companies should take now to address the important issues of trust inherent in location data:

1. Establish data ethics leadership

Develop a focal point within the company for addressing data ethics challenges across products and services.

2. Design and build for trust

Deploy robust DevSecOps and Privacy by Design capabilities and tools to build trusted products and services at the beginning of the development lifecycle.

3. Partner internally to enable innovation

Trust teams should be part of the strategic planning process, working to proactively identify opportunities to accelerate the innovation agenda.

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Matthew Quinlan

Global Geospatial Platforms Lead


David M. Cooper

Global Privacy Lead – Accenture Security


Paul Johnson

Senior Principal – Software & Platforms

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