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The Key to Success in Tracking Mobile Devices: Symbiosis, Not Espionage

As a shopper enters a store, the retailer uses Wi-Fi to track her movements, interests, and shopping habits, providing a treasure trove of insight valuable to merchandising and product development alike.

And as advances in Wi-Fi promise increasing location precision and beacons promise pinpoint location based services, the future appears to be smooth sailing, right?

Well, not exactly.

Tracking the position of mobile devices accurately and correlating to personal data has been one of the most sought after Big Data objectives. And not just for retailers — the potential wealth of business value from data has drawn piqued interest across nearly all industries.

Yet in the real world, issues arise from both technology challenges and privacy concerns alike.

Technology challenges include:

  • Typical Wi-Fi accuracies in the 7-to-10 meter range (though Angle of Arrival and improved location analytics promise dramatic improvements)
  • Infrequent mobile device probing to conserve battery power
  • Interference from metal shelves & fixtures, water in products (and people!)

Privacy qualms speak to the heart of transformation in the Internet of Everything (IoE) age. IoE, after all, is the explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things — and promises to be one of the most impactful periods of change in our history. And the people element is in some ways the whole point — to make our lives better, healthier, more efficient, and so forth. But the people issues will be just as challenging as those that arise around technology. Read More »

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Retailers Must ‘Catch and Keep’ Today’s Demanding Digital Shoppers

Retailers are entering a new era of consumer shopping behavior fueled by the digital world in which we live. The explosion of digital content has major implications for retailers across all of the channels through which they offer products and services.

In fact, a new study just released by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) reveals that web-based digital content is now the most powerful influence on buying decisions for shoppers across all retail channels. The study surveyed 5,000 shoppers across five countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, and China.

The study’s results highlight the need for retailers to “catch and keep” today’s consumers, who now effortlessly “mash-up” digital and physical shopping. At this week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention & Expo, Cisco will explain how retailers can take advantage of this evolution in consumer shopping behavior.

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