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What’s Under the Hood in WiFi Analytics

by kevin.mccauley on Nov 5, 2014

Our security researchers recently took a look at Apple’s iOS8 MAC randomization feature. It was touted by Apple for its ability to protect consumer privacy from persistent WiFi tracking, but turned out to be of limited usability as currently implemented. With all the interest in privacy features, we thought we’d give you a look at what’s ‘under the hood’ in retail WiFi analytics.

WiFi is becoming a new medium of communication, which – as physical or online ‘real estate’ – is now being evaluated for its capacity to deliver community building, ‘monetization’ and stickiness. The new way of leveraging WiFi is through accessing the information that you can garner out of ‘thin air.’

 

  • The top advanced analytic project planned for 2015 is customer segmentation and personalization (57.9%). Social analytics comes in second at 44.7%.
  • The top core retail functions that achieve the most measurable performance gains are personalized marketing (68.4%), customer loyalty (55.3%) and inventory management (52.6%).

Source: It's the 11th Hour, Do You Know Where Your Retail Analytics Are? | by Joe Skorupa via RIS News

IT managers used to focus on the WiFi service itself - its value and reliability. They are now dealing with the information that the business can derive from it. This provides them with a springboard to bring in marketing and merchandising into the conversation. Now that the system can provide analytics data, these teams can be much more engaged in IT projects and can even become drivers of this new technology in store.

 

  • 8% of retailers locate the decision maker for managing, executing and investing in advanced analytics under the umbrella of the CIO. Marketing is only the decision maker for 13.5% and merchandising for just 8.1%. The only constituency that has a large say in analytic investment aside from the CIO is the C-suite at 29.7%.
  • Although the CIO and C-suite control the purse strings, the top three departments that are driving greater expansion of advanced analytic capabilities are marketing (76.3%), merchandising (60.5%) and store/channel operations (31.6%).

Source: It's the 11th Hour, Do You Know Where Your Retail Analytics Are? | by Joe Skorupa via RIS News

WiFi based analytics is one of the crucial tools in the retailer’s arsenal to be able to compete for the customer’s disposable income. The more retailers understand the patterns, the more efficiently they can deploy their (limited) resources, be it staffing, IT, marketing dollars, or make decision on store locations and merchandizing. The retailers now have the means to market directly to the customer through splash pages, push promotions or loyalty programs.

The real-time presence and engagement data sets are powerful. That is why WiFi based analytics garnered so much interest from retailers, creating the discussion in the mainstream press around technology and its privacy implications.

We saw this in June when the new MAC randomization feature was first spotted at Apple’s developers’ conference, and why we got so much attention with our testing on how this feature works in the real world when iOS 8 was released in September.

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iOS8 Mac Randomization from Airtight Networks
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Read the iOS Blog Series by Bhupinder Misra via AirTight blog.
  1. iOS8 MAC Randomization – Analyzed!
  2. iOS8 MAC Address Randomization Update

There is a need in the market for education on big data opportunities in retail WiFi analytics, related technologies and options for customer engagement. Ivey Business School professor Niraj Dawar wrote about the importance of harnessing as much data as possible for marketing initiatives in his 2013 book Tilt, published by Harvard Business Review Press.

AirTight one of the few WiFi companies that offer both association analytics and customer engagement through social login, while maintaining an option for anonymous access.  

Wipro commissioned Economic Intelligence Unit to study the effects of Big Data Analytics on Retailers. The study conducted has been compiled into an infographic. It shows how big data analytics is being used by the retailers to their advantage. (March 2014)
Wipro commissioned Economic Intelligence Unit to study the effects of Big Data Analytics on Retailers. The study conducted has been compiled into an infographic. It shows how big data analytics is being used by the retailers to their advantage. (March 2014)

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Topics: WiFi, Analytics, Social, Mobile device management, PCI, Managed Service, Privacy, Retail