Coming soon: retailers to track you in stores using Wi-Fi
Wireless companies are pitching ways to track your moves inside stores and other public areas using Wi-Fi signals coming from your phone, a report suggests.
Do customers head toward the discount bin or shoes section first? This new form of physical tracking might be able to shed some light.
Another form of big brother tracking is being pitched by a company that has figured out a way to cross-reference a customer’s location in a store to the websites a customer visits on their phone.
In theory, Best Buy could see that a customer in the TV aisle is looking up deals at the Brick while standing in front of a TV set on sale.
Mall management could also figure out that the customers are drawn to HMV’s display when they walk in the shopping centre.
The projects come as more people hop on local wireless hotspots to avoid using data – and eating into expensive data plans.
Think you can evade these types of Wi-Fi tracking even when you’re not actually connected to a mall or store’s Wi-Fi?
Boingo is developing a system that will work even if users don’t connect. Quite often, people’s phones are searching for networks even when the person doesn’t actually log on. Boingo says that’s enough information for it to monitor a shopper’s physical path through the mall.
Are you worried about being tracked with your phone while shopping?
- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets