For the third straight year, Canadian Business magazine has named Environics Analytics to its annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies. Founded in 2003, Environics Analytics is a leading marketing and analytical services company in Canada that provides customer segmentation, trade area analysis, market assessment, predictive analytics, site evaluation and strategic consulting services, as well as a range of authoritative data products. ArcNorth News sat down with Environics Analytics’ President and CEO Jan Kestle to find out more about the latest updates in ENVISION5 and the release of CannabisInsights.
ANN: In August of 2018, you released mobility analytics for ENVISON5. Tell us what’s exciting about this new offering?
JK: At Environics Analytics, we are constantly innovating and looking for new ways to make ENVISION5, our marketing platform, a more powerful tool. Over the past few years, we’ve added features like customized reporting and variable creation, but users really appreciate our enhanced mapping capabilities powered by Esri. ENVISON5 is more map-centric than ever and offers greater flexibility when it comes to overlaying themes, points and geography to create cleaner and more professional-looking maps.
More recently, we added a new mobility analytics tool. Although mobility data can be challenging to work with, ENVISION5 simplifies the process to allow analysts to focus on achieving results. This new functionality allows organizations to use anonymous location data from apps and phones as an alternative to actual customer data. This capability creates new opportunities for organizations to get insights that were not possible in the past using mobility data as a proxy for customer or visitor data.
ANN: How can municipal and provincial organizations take advantage of mobility analytics?
JK: Local governments really stand to benefit from our mobility analytics because it provides visitor data for spaces that typically don’t collect transaction data, such as a city park or public festival. When a city puts on an event in a public space, they have no way of knowing how many local residents are attending the event versus people visiting from outside their area. Mobility analytics allows us to connect these visitors back to our segmentation system, which will tell them who is visiting their area. For example, if mobility data reveals that most of the visitors attending a local event tend to be affluent then a municipality could build a business case to attract a premium automaker as an event sponsor in the future.
ANN: How do you manage privacy compliance?
JK: We operate in accordance with strict and formal privacy and security policies and procedures, which are consistent with Canadian and U.S. privacy laws and regulations. We follow established industry best practices for data governance and we are subjected to vigorous annual audits. All staff are trained on privacy and data security and are mandated to adhere to the policies as a condition of employment.
ANN: Environics Analytics has been leveraging ArcGIS technology for many years now. How do you use it?
JK: Not only do we leverage it in our ENVISION5 platform, which is built on top of ArcGIS Server, but we also use the tools in-house for data production work and spatial processing. Our research analysts use it daily for project work and to build custom maps that you can't do in ENVISION5. If a client requires a map with a specific zoom level, layout and overall look and feel in mind, then we will use ArcGIS tools to build a custom map to fit their needs.
ANN: Recently, Environics Analytics launched CannabisInsights, a database that projects consumers’ view and use of cannabis at a neighbourhood level. What was the motivation behind this new release?
JK: With the legalization of cannabis, we are looking at a new retail market worth approximately $8 billion. While there have been a lot of anecdotal studies and research done by various stakeholders, there was very little data to derive any meaningful insights into this new economy. With CannabisInsights, we can offer potential cannabis retailers insights on the size of the market and how to design and optimize a distribution network.
ANN: What are your future goals around analytics?
JK: Our goal is to make people’s lives better and our clients more successful through transformative data insights and analytics. To live up to that vision, we will continue to deliver unequalled privacy-compliant consumer and market data. Anonymous aggregated data is going to be the cornerstone of analysis, and due to our depth of experience as well as our ability to produce results, we believe no one is in a better position than we are to deliver that data to clients.
The interview has been condensed and edited.
Partner Quick Facts
Company: Environics Analytics Group Ltd.
Location: Toronto, ON
Solutions: Data, analytics, insights
Industries: Across a variety of sectors
Mission: To make people’s lives better and our clients more successful through transformative data, insights and analytics.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of ArcNorth News.