Archive for the ‘mobile’ Tag

Location Tracking at the Mall

In my job as a Sales Engineer, one of the applications of wireless technology that I get asked about more and more these days is location tracking. At first, I used to get asked about how to track high-value assets. For example, hospitals would ask about how to track expensive (or rare) medical equipment. Or how to track items that were frequently stolen, such as wheel chairs. In this scenario, the equipment had to be tagged in order to track it’s location. Most often, this was done with an active RFID tag in 2.4 GHz which then ran across a wireless LAN as the data was being correlated at a central location server.

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smart phones and tablets, I now get asked about how to track the people carrying them. It seems that the general consensus is that tracking people offers much more valuable data than tracking physical assets. One such article that highlights this is one on Evan Schuman’s Storefront Backtalk entitled “Mobile Tracking At The Mall: The Potential Is Stunning”.

The location tracking mentioned in this article seems to be based on cellular frequencies. However, much more accurate location data can be accomplished via Wi-Fi. This is because there are more data points (Access Points) to triangulate from in a pervasive WLAN when compared to the number of data points (cell towers) in a mobile location tracking scenario.

As far back as a few years ago, the pre-cursors for these types of networks were being installed. Personally, I was involved in a project that deployed free guest Wi-Fi in the food courts of 65 malls across America. With their wireless LAN controllers, switches, and security devices already in-place, deploying a location tracking applications would simply consist of expanding the wireless footprint to include the proper density of APs, as well installing a location server or appliance.


How Long Does It Take For A Single Carrier To Get To 20,000,000 Wi-Fi Connections?

11 Days!  That is just one of the stunning statistics from an AT & T infographic that I saw recently.  The infographic also compares how long it took to reach the same number of connections in years past.  Check it out – you’ll be amazed!   Much of the additional data is of particular interest to those in the Hospitality and Retail Industries.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’ll point you to a great blog post from that pretty much says everything that I would regarding the data.







Vegas! Who’s With Me?

I am making the trek up to Las Vegas tomorrow to attend Forrester’s 2011 IT Forum.   The event actually starts today and runs through Friday.  It is being held at The Palazzo (which is part of The Venetian Hotel and Casino).

In year’s past, Forrester has used UStreamto broadcast many of the keynotes across the internet.  I don’t have the specifics, but it’s worth a search, when keynote presentations run from 8:30 – 12:30 Pacific Time (Friday morning keynotes end at 10:05).  Personally, Friday morning’s keynotes are of particular interest.  The first is titled “iPads And Torches And Droids — Oh My! Mobile’s Not In Kansas Anymore“.  That is followed up by another session called “Killing The Laptop: How IT Solutions Amplify Business Productivity On Tablets and Smartphones”.

After the morning keynotes, the afternoons are packed with 3-4 sets of track sessions.  The track that really jumps out at me so far is one called “Transform Processes That Touch Your Customers”.  It has sessions on topics such as next-gen CRM and customer service through social technologies.

The content is spot on.  For example, last year, I heard Ted Shadler speak about his book, Empowered, which mentions the rise of four key technologies: social, mobile, cloud, and video.  In my opinion, those four areas absolutely dominated the IT mindset in the past year, and are only growing in importance.

Like any conference, beyond the actual content, one of the most valuable aspects of attending are the networking opportunities.   In the past, Forrester has done a good job of trying to connect people with similar interest with role-specific ribbons to add to attendee badges.  They also put placards on the lunch tables to group people with similar interests.  Forrester also offers one-on-one meetings with their analysts — at no extra cost for attendees.

Please let me know if you are attending the forum (or happen to be in Las Vegas for something else), and would like to meet up.   If you are unable to attend, keep a look out here, my Computerworld Blog, or my Twitter stream for a recap of  what I find the most interesting and relevant.  You can also keep a tap on what’s happening at the conference with the official Twitter hashtag, which is #ITF11.