By Henry Mortimer, Editor-at-Large
The concept of “ big data” is, well, big these days. Advancements in technology have allowed just about any business to collect, analyze, and utilize large amounts of digital info generated by customers, transforming the way they make make decisions.
That’s an obvious advantage to companies in the retail, marketing, finance, entertainment, and even non-profit sectors — essentially anyone looking to understand customer behavior, boost engagement and find new revenue sources.
What about real estate, where the key to success has always been a good “location, location, location”? According to Matt Felton, president of Datastory Consulting, big data is the “secret weapon” that can turn a broker’s local knowledge into a treasure hunt.
“Maps are a tremendous way to absorb a lot of very disparate information and make it meaningful,” says Felton, whose Baltimore-based firm uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology to reveal “hidden patterns” in data about a location. “That’s our tool of trade. Essentially what we do is we turn map data into insight.”
Trish Farrell, Vice President, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, which began partnering with Felton and Datastory nearly a decade ago, says harnessing the power of digital data has helped her firm make better decisions and strengthen collaboration in business relationships.
“Our local presence allows us to know the market better than anyone else,” says Farrell, who has spent more than 25 years in commercial real estate and sits on the board of the Maryland Tech Council. By working with Datastory, she adds, MacKenzie can pair that deep knowledge with the GIS data and broker deals “that might not otherwise have gotten done.”