Location tracking is not only getting better, it’s also getting smaller.
This is thanks to some of the behind-the-scenes technologies of the Internet of Things.
Some of the IoT sausage making will remain out of the limelight, but the marketing benefits will become more mainstream as more connected objects come online.
The marketing value will be that the locations of those connected objects, from phones to wearables, will provide valuable data regarding traffic patterns, repeat store visits, first-time visits and customer loyalty activities, as but a few examples.
One the companies providing the mass of unseen-location information to countless brands, agencies and marketers is Boston-based Skyhook Wireless.
Skyhook is hardly a household name, but it is well known by anyone deeply tracking and seeking location information on their customers.
Location technology in the early iPhones? Skyhook. Samsung watch location technology? Skyhook. Philips Health Watch location? Skybook. The RoboHon robot in Japan I wrote about here a while back? Skyhook. You get the idea.
I spent some time with David Bairstow VP of product for Skyhook at the annual eTail East Conference in Boston this week.
Hardly a startup, Skyhook has been around for more than a decade and was acquired by Liberty Media two years ago.
The focus of the location technology of Skyhook is Wi-Fi, integrated with GPS and cell tower signals.
“We grew up as the non-GPS company,” said Bairstow, who says the company now has more than 2 billion Wi-Fi access points it tracks.
Skyhook’s location technology is in tens of millions of phones around the world and the company basically captures Wi-Fi scans from those phones as they pass near any signals being sent from nearby Wi-Fi routers.
That location data then is used to precisely target specific locations, for various applications.
“We geofence locations,” Bairstow. Those locations include sports stadiums, such as the one used by the New Orleans Saints.
Without getting into the sausage-making details, the big IoT news here is that Skyhook’s location technology will run on tiny devices with requirements 100 times less than when running on a smartphone.
This means wearables and other connected devices can better know precisely where they are without having to be constantly recharged, potentially opening the floodgates of location insights.
Companies like Skyhook stay behind the scenes, but as they improve and expand, the benefits to marketing and location-informed advertising become apparent.