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As the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers are continuously rising, more and more creative ways are being developed to utilize these devices. Industries are increasingly utilizing, not the advanced computing capability of smart devices, but their increased ability to connect wirelessly to other devices and networks. Mobile Location Analytics (MLA) is one such technology that has recently created a new use of smart mobile devices by utilizing their increased connectivity. It is a type of customer intelligence that tracks smartphones and other internet- capable computing devices. It refers to a set of technologies that capture and analyze radio signals, such as Bluetooth and WiFi signals, from nearby mobile devices to generate an aggregate report about customer’s behavior. The reports are generated by recognizing the WiFi or Bluetooth MAC addresses of cellphones as they interact with WiFi networks.
The technology is popular in the retail sector owing to the strong competition given by the online stores. The better retailers understand their customers, the better they are able to serve them. Working on these lines, many retailers are investing an increasing proportion of their IT expenditure in this kind of retail analytics technology. For instance, Wendy’s, world’s third largest hamburger chain implemented the location analytics tool to improvise on their services. By chartering the movement of devices and their owners, retailers are gathering data in order to optimize floor plan layouts, advertisement placement and checkout lane staffing. One major advantage of using location analytics is the heat maps that provides traffic patterns of the customers on an hourly basis or even in real time. Retail chains, malls, event centers, airports, and museums around the world are increasingly deploying MLA to analyze consumer traffic pattern. Airport retailers are utilizing video feeds and WiFi mobile detection devices so as to uncover the traveler’s path to purchase.
Recognizing the growing importance to provide a positive customer experience as a way to differentiate itself and remain competitive, international airports have started using location-based analytics for faster customer check-in. For an instance, Dubai International Airport installed BlipTrack system so as to get real-time visibility of the entire passenger process. It gathered data from 1000 discrete monitoring sensors, including thermal imaging passenger counters from Irisys, video analytics, Infra-red counters from Qmetrix and Bluetooth passenger tracking via BlipTrack which allowed operational decision makers around the airport to address any key issues such as congestion at passenger pinch points immediately.
Banking is another sector that is increasingly utilizing mobile location analytics. With technological revolution continuing to shape the nature and face of the global banking landscape, tech-savvy banks are leaving no stone unturned to increase their customer base. From fraud detection to branch optimization and customer loyalty to product segmentation, location analytics is helping financial companies to gain a competitive advantage over their contemporaries. They are increasingly using GIS (Geographic Information System) to measure the reach of each branch; understand where their networks may have gaps and where they have excessive redundancy. For an instance, Bank of America, that serves 57 million customers and small business relationships in the United States adopted mapping technologies to identify current and future locations of its banking centers in low-income neighborhoods to meet its Community Reinvestment needs. Similarly, SNL Financials, a Virginia-based company utilized Esri (used location analytics tool) technology to offer detailed GIS and analytic functionality to the customers.
The mobile location analytics technology is expected to gain traction in industries such as healthcare, transportation and logistics owing to the growing penetration of smart devices and an increasing need to gain a competitive edge. In Healthcare, increasing need to keep the patients connected with their healthcare providers for timely intervention is expected to encourage the players to use location analytics in this sector.