Outstanding events

How can Physics help identify the ideal location for a future business?

on the July 5, 2014

Pablo Jensen, from the ENS Physics laboratory, is at the origin of the software Lokéo that allows such an optimization.

The project began with an audacious analogy between physics and social sciences : the distribution of businesses can be understood from logics of attraction and repulsion, similar to those that determine the positions of atoms in a material.  To test the founding of the hypothesis, we started by adapting the classical method of spatial correlation calculations used by physicists to the case of inhomogeneous, adjacent space.  In this way, one does not find stores in parks, no-building zones, etc.

It is an interdisciplinary undertaking in collaboration with geographers, economists, and the Chamber of Commerce of Lyon that allowed the apparition of an analysis tool adapted to city businesses (article published 2006 : Network-based predictions of retail store commercial categories and optimal locations, Phys. Rev. E 74, 035101(R)).

Further support of Lyon Science Transfer was essential in transforming the tool into working software simple enough to be used by the economists and to be presentable to interested companies.  In 2011, the software Lokéo was rewarded with the trophy of Réseau Curie 2011 by the Minister of Research.

Today, LOKéO is a support tool that aids decision-making by providing insight to the following questions :

  • Which activity is adapted to a particular location ?
  • Which locations are the most appropriate for a particular business activity ?
  • Which businesses are best implanted within a certain perimeter ? and what explains the poor score of certain businesses ?
Published on October 3, 2014