Surge expected in Wi-Fi location technology installations in retail sector

Retail customer image by Motorola Solutions

ABI Research expects more than anticipated growth in Wi-Fi location analytics within the retail market in 2015.

ABI’s calculations show that total Wi-Fi location technology installations in retail were up almost 400 percent YoY.

The research firm attributes this growth to a combination of start-ups and access point vendors, such as Cisco Systems, Ruckus Wireless, and Zebra Technologies.

Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research noted that previous iterations of Wi-Fi location platforms were expensive and not ideal for customer engagement.

“But retailers and vendors quickly grasped that Wi-Fi’s role in this space centers on gathering customer analytics. iBeacons are good for engagement and advertising but very limited in the short-term for customer analytics.”

ABI Research said independent Wi-Fi analytics start-up providers, such as Euclid, Walkbase, Cloud4Wi, and Purple, experienced rapid growth of their customer bases over the past two years.

They have expanded their reach beyond retail into public venues like hospitality, stadiums, airports and cities/tourism.

Further, ABI found some very significant Wi-Fi based rollouts at advanced stages of planning, which will ensure 2015 was not a one-off.

Connolly said retailers are only beginning to grow accustomed to Wi-Fi and iBeacons, yet the industry is already shifting toward a new generation of technologies, such as magnetic field, sensor fusion, and Google’s Project Tango.

“Many Wi-Fi and beacon vendors are also developing their own high accuracy proprietary solutions, which will start to penetrate the market in 2016. Overall, we also expect to see a big shift towards hybridization and increased accuracy in 2016.”

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