Can retail store analytics help kill Coronavirus flare-ups? Yes… maybe: A conversation with Placer.ai

Image credit: Gratisography

1 Placer.ai wanted to be a data play for companies like Uber

“We developed an incredibly accurate SDK for location data. We wanted to sell it to Uber. But it didn’t want to buy us. The margins over there just aren’t very high and they wanted to roll their own SDKs.”

2 … so it developed a freemium model to make that data useful to far more people

“We give access to some of our data for free. It’s anonymised data. We bring together things like high-level transaction data and weather data, along with an ecosystem of tools to interrogate that data.”

3 Placer.ai doesn’t take in personally identifiable information (PII)

“We don’t process it, we don’t show it, and we have no interest in transaction data. Our users also don’t get access to raw data feeds. They get the tools to look at data in aggregate and to mix datasets together to find out interesting things.”

4 Salesforce is an inspiration

“Look at how Salesforce works and how powerful its integrations are. We want to be the platform company for retail analytics. It’s about giving retailers and analysts clarity and openness.”

5 The government wanted Placer.ai to tell it where people were… it wouldn’t and couldn’t

“When the pandemic broke out, we received a lot of government requests in the US. But we just couldn’t help the states. We don’t have raw data for them to access and we don’t take in PII. Yes, we could help to show general trends in consumers visiting stores and perhaps even map hotspots but we couldn’t and wouldn’t help governments spy on people.”

I’m grateful for Ethan’s time. Placer.ai did not pay for this post nor have control of the content. The company runs regular webinars and I may be appearing on one in the future.

Writer, editor and internet arguer.

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