Apple Supporting the Indoor Tracking Trend

By Ashley Caputo March 27, 2013

This year we have seen technology coming from different industries that support the growth of GPS-indoor tracking, and you may be wondering, why do users need this?

Recently, we have seen it used for a one particular reason: to help retailers create a marketing campaign based on their customers coordinates. Earlier this year, with the Singapore-based partnership of Sprooki and YFind’s, the creation of an indoor tracking device was aimed at helping retailers create marketing strategies that target each individual customer. However, the most recent company to bring attention to indoor mobile tracking is technology giant Apple with its recent purchase of WiFiSLAM, Silicon Valley-based startup focused on indoor tracking.

Google is the leading map provider for iPhones, but last year, Apple tried to regain its hold on its mapping systems be installing its own, and that as we know was a complete disaster. With its new acquisition, it looks like Apple is trying to expand its mapping capabilities to the next hotspot on the map, which is indoors.

To understand the logic behind such tracking, the Sprooki and YFind’s collaboration works like this: when a user turns on a YPS-enabled application on their mobile device, it will first verify the GPS coordinates to identify the building the user is in – whether it’s a mall or one store. Depending on what type of clothing, shoes or facial products you visit the most and tend to walk near, marketing strategies will now be personalized by the way you navigate through the store. Sprooki is able to persuade shoppers to return to their outlet by sending offers and promotions based on the analyses from YPS.

This theory seems to hold true for what Apple is trying to do with WiFiSLAM. "This accuracy will change how you interact with indoor environments," Co-Founder Anand Atreya, one of the former Stanford University students who started WiFiSLAM, told the MIT Technology Review in 2011. "Think about going to the supermarket. We can provide information relevant to the product right in front of you."

With that said, IBM has created an app that does exactly what WiFiSLAM’s says what indoor tracking does, except without the tracking part.

A new augmented reality (AR) app is being developed in IBM Research’s lab in Israel, which allows users to use its advanced image recognition technology to retrieve the information about the items they requested. The Augmented Shopping Assistant analyzes the products in a section or aisle, ranking them by calorie content or price, saving the shoppers the time they once spent analyzing each label.

Once you give a provider or an application access to your phone, in terms of GPS purposes, you are also giving away your privacy. It is obvious how this type of indoor tracking could be taken advantage of by a business, as they actually create a marketing strategy designed for specific users. For certain situations GPS tracking is useful, such as if your mobile phone is lost, but other than that, the purpose of indoor tracking falls short of a sufficient answer for consumers.




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

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