The term remote sensing has two different meanings. Three years ago I blogged about how some firms are using sensors to monitor the performance of their machinery and equipment remotely. This is often adopted as part of their products-as-services strategy. But a second meaning, more commonly used, is the use of satellites and other technologies to view and analyse what is happening on the surface of the earth. Originally deployed for military and scientific purposes, digital aerial photography and satellite imaging is now being applied commercially.
In this article, Segal talks about the application of the second type of remote sensing to the business world. One of its earliest buses was in the field of oil exploration. But more recent remote sensing is being used by retailers and others for market analysis, site selection, market planning and change detection. One simple example is the swimming pool cleaning company that used to go house-to-house promoting its services. By using aerial photography, the company no longer had to go to every house, but only those that they knew already had a pool.