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Software Platform for Indoor Location-based Behavioral Analytics & Consumer Trials

Technology Overview

Mobile and wearable based sensing & analytics offer a variety of new ways to observe, understand and predict individual and collective behaviour in the physical world — in venues such as malls, office campuses and airports. Such insights are critical for a variety of next-generation services, such as smarter retail offerings (e.g., delivering a promotion only when a group of friends is observed to spend time looking for shoes in a mall), operational alerts (e.g., on-demand janitorial services when a surge of visitors use the restrooms at an airport terminal) and information feeds (e.g., providing visitors with real-time queuing delay estimates at different food outlets). Through a series of innovative software technologies, we enable venue-owners, venue-operators and merchants to deliver such novel services.

 

Our location tracking software allows venue operators to capture the movement traces of individuals (assumed to be equipped with Wi-Fi enabled personal devices) in indoor environments. Such capture occurs in a device-agnostic manner (e.g., supporting Android, iOS and Windows devices), without requiring any software download or tweaking of such personal devices. In addition, our algorithms use the underlying location traces to infer additional insights—for example, accurately distinguishing between individuals who move alone vs. in groups, as well the size of such groups. Most importantly, we offer an easy-to-use software platform that operators of such public spaces can use to close the loop —i.e., utilize such insights to conduct real-world context-based consumer behavioural trials.

 

In addition, we operate an experimental testbed on our campus, offering a panel of hundreds of consenting students on whom such novel context-enhanced consumer engagement strategies can be tested.   While our core technologies should interest building management companies and related system-integrators, our testbed should appeal to retailers, advertisers and market researchers looking to conduct experimental trials.

Technology Features & Specifications

Our core technologies consist of the following three engines, corresponding to the three distinct stages of the sense-analyse-react cycle of closed-loop analytics.

 

Location Tracking Platform:

Tracks the indoor location and movement of users via any standard Wi-Fi infrastructure (without requiring any software installation on consumer mobile devices). This engine implements special code to continually retrieve wireless signal measurements captured by the Wi-Fi infrastructure (consisting of Wi-Fi APs and controllers), and then applies advanced and proprietary statistical techniques to simultaneously infer the location of hundreds-to-thousands of devices. The platform also provides tools for visualization (e.g., real-time Heatmaps).

 

Mobile Analytics Platform:

Implements novel analytics techniques that operate on the location data (as well as any other additionally available mobile sensing data) to derive advanced insights. Examples of implemented components include:

  1. Location Prediction Engine, that utilizes past movement data to predict the future movement paths of individuals;
  2. Group Detection Engine, that applies advanced correlation techniques on the underlying noisy movement traces to separate visitors into individuals vs. groups;
  3. Queuing Analytics Engine, that utilizes the inertial sensing data from customer s mobile devices to deduce individual-level queuing behaviour, and the waiting and service times of different queues.

 

Behavioural Experimentation Platform:

Allows the venue operators and retailers to easily conduct context-driven customer engagement trials. This platform offers a portal-based interface that

  1. Allows experimenters to create advanced experiments , specifying for example both static and dynamic attributes of users that should be targeted (e.g., deliver this promotion only to male users, who have already visited at least 3 stores and have now been queuing for at least 8 minutes ),
  2. Automates the deployment and execution of such experiments (e.g., single or multi-treatment trials) and
  3. Summarizes the results and experimental outcomes via customizable graphs, charts, etc.

Potential Applications

We have already deployed at multiple venues in Singapore, including our campus, Suntec Convention Centre and Sentosa.  Potential users of our technology offerings include:

 

Owners/Operators of Public Venues, such as shopping malls, convention centres and hotels: Such operators may track the individual and aggregate location of visitors, both to understand movement patterns and also for a variety of operational needs (such as safety and evacuation tracking, on-demand deployment of service staff & footfall-based pricing of different locations).

 

Retailers/Retail Aggregators:

Retailers can use our technologies to achieve more advanced forms of targeting/personalization for their promotions, incentives and advertisements, beyond the current state-of-the-art proximity-based advertising strategies. More advanced approaches might be driven by group dynamics (e.g., targeting a 1-for-1 promotion to a group of 2 visitors rather than an individual), movement prediction (e.g., delivering a promotion for coffee only when an individual s in-mall movement pattern suggests that she will stop by a cafe in the next 30 minutes) or queuing behaviour (e.g., offering a special discount if a customer is waiting in the queue for longer than 10 minutes).

 

Facility Managers:

Similar to venue operators, Facility Operators might leverage upon the location tracking and movement prediction components to fine-tune various operational functions, such as security & surveillance (sending security staff to locations with unusual visitor density) and energy management (adjusting HVAC operating schedules based on predicted occupancy levels).

 

System-Integrators/Building Software Developers:

By integrating their products with APIs exposed by our software, building management and automation software developers can embed or utilize our real-time or historical insights to provide advanced IoT-based smart actuation capabilities.

 

Advertising/Market Research Companies:

Market researchers and advertisers can use the Behavioural Experimentation Platform to conduct various experimental trials, using our in-house panel of users. Advertisers can, for example, study how an individual s response to different promotional campaigns is affected by their context (e.g., whether they are alone or in a crowded place), while market researchers can study how consumers interact with or like new applications.

Market Trends and Opportunities

Emerging marketing technology and trends are on the rise.  More and more businesses are trying to capitalize the use of technologies to help growth and increase market share. Mobile will also play an increasingly important role in the evolution and user behaviour.

 

Smartphone usage worldwide has also seen growth with the number of people that own and use smartphone. So it s no longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing important, we know it is!  Now it is about using the mobile statistics to understand how consumers behave when using different types of mobile devices and what their preferences are.

 

Another trend that we are seeing is Mobile Payments.  While mobile payments are hardly a new phenomenon, they are gaining traction fast with technology like NFC; and Apple Pay.  So if you are not able to incentivise or reach out to your customers through mobile technologies solutions, you will miss out compared to your competitors who are already using such technologies.

Customer Benefits

With the use of our technologies, venue partners such as malls, convention centres, office campuses and airports, will enable businesses to customize and deliver relevant location specific messages to their customers.  This personalized location specific incentives allow customers market leadership through our innovative technology driven solutions.

 

Using our multiplatform (Android, iOS and Windows devices) technology, retailers and venue owners will have the capability to deliver targeted and customized promotions or incentives that are location aware in real time.

 

For businesses with large amount of data, our real time data analytics solution enables real time contextual mobile advertising solutions, crowd management solutions or quick response incentive testing. This allows experimentation without explicitly asking a set of participants to be present at a physical location. As analytics solution is automated, it removes selection bias and it also gains better visibility of consumer behaviour.

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