A while ago I had an article regarding bluetooth tracking and how people can track your movements using your cellphone signals. This technique is commonly referred to as “bluetooth surveillance.” At the time, I thought that malls and other companies could use this same technology to track people and place advertisement in their path. Well, just in time for the new holiday season, a couple of malls have revealed that they are using a system that tracks your movements while you’re inside the mall – using nothing more than your cellphone signal.
The actual technology is amazing, and implementing this technology in businesses and other public locations was only a matter of time. The stores believe that by tracking your movements inside a mall, they’ll be able to see which stores a particular shopper visits, how long they spend inside the store, how many stores they visit before they leave the mall, and a plethora of other interesting statistics. This data will help stores market their products more effectively by providing them with useful marketing information. The cellphone sygnals are tracked down and plotted onto their system to show what direction people flow and travel in. This “flow” will help the mall find a way to direct traffic to stores that have little to no foot traffic and help them increase their sales.
According to Path Intelligence, the developers of the software, their system is not going to collect actual identifying information or personal data about the cellphone user. They stated that the software is just going to be a tool to “help” stores “help” us find what we need better. Path Intelligence, did have a good point about physical tracking, they said that physical tracking is not as intrusive as online tracking. Online tracking companies track people down in far much greater detail. Online stores collect address information, credit card information, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other personal identifiers. Path Intelligence only tracks the “path” of a cellphone across a building.
Currently, two malls in the U.S. are the only ones using this system, Promenade Temecula in California is the first, and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia, is the second one. Other malls are looking into the program and are already planning on ways to install this system on their grounds. If you’re not a fan of being tracked inside a mall, don’t sweat it, simply turn your cellphone off and you’ll be untraceable! Via CNN