The world is experiencing massive proliferation of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets; and increasingly, wearable technologies like smart-watches and fitness-tracking devices, says Melvin Yuan, location services product marketing for Ruckus Wireless. These devices are connected to the internet almost 24x7, enabling their users to tap into a vast range of web-based information and services.
This phenomenon is also creating a unique opportunity, he says, to locate individuals via their smart-devices. These devices are often wi-fi-enabled, and are identified by their MAC addresses.
Location data, he says, "really enables us to make really sharper decisions."
He relates his experience working with a CIO for a retail organisation in Singapore over a year ago. This particular CIO, he says, made a "bold" decision to use the technology. "He said to his team, let's not wait until we find a good use case before we deploy because we really don't know what we don't know."
The CIO made that leap of faith because he felt very strongly that location data would be able to give him insights that he may not even be looking for. "Within a week of collecting data, we told him something that he never knew before: More than 70 percent of his shoppers were spending between 20 to 40 minutes in his store," says Yuan. In-store promotions were only being announced every two hours. As a result of the new data, the store began looking into changing the frequency of promotions.
"We're facing many disruptions to various businesses over the last five to 10 years," says Yuan. "We're realising that businesses need to change their models of operation so that they can draw people back from the online world back to the offline world. So retail needs to change; schools need to change the way in which they create student experiences as well.
"And I strongly believe that location data can truly help businesses and manyorganisations innovate in the way that they create experiences for their customers, for their students, for their residents."
"We even spoke to real estate developers who are looking at creating iPad applications for residents of luxury developments because they know these residents want a higher quality of service.
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