Wi-Fi Analytics & Marketing Trends to Watch Out For in 2018
What was once considered to be a junior cousin of cellular mobile data services has now exploded as the most promising technology. WiFi has become so much a part of people’s lives that the only time one thinks about it is when it doesn’t work. No wonder the WiFi ecosystem is constantly evolving, turbocharging businesses with its various use cases from providing better customer experience to gathering customer insights to marketing products and services.
For brands and enterprises that are planning to or have already made investments in WiFi infrastructure, here are 6 WiFi Analytics and Marketing trends to keep an eye out for in 2018:
1. WiFi Marketing to Go Mainstream
In the past, offering free WiFi in malls, airports and stores was seen as a necessary evil: customers expected it, but it was essentially a cost center, the benefits of which were counteracted by people spending more time on their phone instead of making purchases.
But in 2018, WiFi is going to turn into a formidable marketing asset instead. Businesses will incorporate in their WiFi networks the ability to monitor where their visitors are and use this real time location data to engage with their customers. Although this trend has already emerged, it will only intensify in the coming few years. This is evident from a recent report which expects the Wi-Fi Analytics Market to grow from USD 2.94 Billion in 2017 to USD 10.72 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.54% during the forecast period.
2. Stricter Regulations will Make WiFi Based Analytics Platforms More Secure
Businesses that have been anxious about WiFi enabled tracking of location data without risking individual privacy can finally heave a sigh of relief. The GDPR which is to come into effect in May, 2018 requires all data controllers and processors that handle personal information of EU residents to implement proper security measures to ensure that no personal data is compromised. Failing to do so can result in hefty penalties.
Significantly, the GDPR legislation will apply not only to persons and enterprises within the E.U, but to any company that handles data belonging to E.U. residents. With the GDPR providing for much stiffer penalties from violators, and considering the global nature of modern business, this means any company offering an online service anywhere in Europe will be compelled to take note.
3. WiFi Access Points and Analytics Layer to Come as a Bundled Offering
Currently, the biggest advantage of a WiFi analytics platform is its implementation. The analytics platform can be layered on-top of any existing WiFi infrastructure, saving businesses both time and money. While this is cost effective – no doubt, it still involves the purchasing of two different products from two different vendors. The software analytics layer that sits atop the WiFi infrastructure needs to be purchased separately as a subscription or a SaaS model.
In 2018, networking vendors will transition from being hardware centric to software focused and the analytics layer will come bundled with the WiFi access points, giving you a single source of truth. Everything from procurement to post deployment support can be handled by a single solution provider.
4. Formation of a Shared Data Ecosystem
Intelligent WiFi networks are generating data at an unprecedented rate, yet a lot of this data remains under-utilized, primarily because most of it is stored in silos. This is set to change in the near future. As more and more businesses implement WiFi analytics solution, they are likely to form what we like to call a “shared data ecosystem.”
The basis of such a data partnership is going to be in joining forces without merging. Companies with a common interest will come together and share data with each other with a view to unlocking a bigger picture of their customers. Large hotel chains may partner with airlines, rental cars, media companies, banks, and restaurants, to establish a combined marketing program. Individually, each of these services may not reach a wide customer base but if the offerings are bundled, it could appeal to a much larger market.
5. Rise of an Intent Based Network
Although present day network management tools speed up the troubleshooting process in case of a network outage, there still exists some problems that are rather hard to diagnose. Since network downtime can impact the end user experience, WiFi providers are constantly on the lookout to improve their diagnostic capabilities. It may seem like a far cry, but we’re on the cusp of a major network innovation called “intent based networking.”
An intent-based network will have the intelligence and automation necessary to set and modify its configurations to meet the organization’s business needs. An intent-based network will be able to continuously align itself to required service levels, security, and IT compliance policies. Cisco already launched an intent-based networking solution called Software Defined Access (SDA) early this year. 2018 is likely see the rise of other independent players in this space.
6. WiFi to be Used for Asset Tracking
WiFi based asset tracking is not new. A decade ago, some asset tracking solutions involved attaching WiFi tags to assets and reporting their locations to backend databases. This kind of asset tracking never really took off because of issues with battery life and system costs. But with advances in WiFi technology, WiFi based asset tracking solutions are back in the market. The position of any asset with an attached WiFi tag can instantly be tracked in real-time. Aruba and Ruckus – two of the major network vendors have already launched WiFi based asset tracking solutions and in 2018 will certainly usher in more customized solutions.
July’s Proximity MX, a WiFi Analytics and Marketing Software enables you to gain real time at-location customer analytics and allows you to send personalized notifications to your customers via SMS, email and App push notifications.