ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, saw greater growth in Wi-Fi location analytics within the retail market in 2015 than initially anticipated. Calculations show that total Wi-Fi location technology installations in retail were up almost 400% YoY. Driving the growth is a combination of start-ups and access point vendors, such as Cisco Systems, Ruckus Wireless, and Zebra Technologies, that are adopting new pricing models, technologies, and a large number of platform partners to help them win new business.
“Previous iterations of Wi-Fi location platforms were expensive and not ideal for customer engagement,” says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “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. Zebra Technologies, for example, shows marked innovation in combining Wi-Fi and beacon technology with third party app offerings, to maximize analytics and customer engagement capabilities for their retail partners.”
Independent Wi-Fi analytics start-up providers, such as Euclid, Walkbase, Cloud4Wi, and, in particular, Purple, experienced rapid growth of their customer bases over the past two years, even expanding beyond retail into public venues like hospitality, stadiums, airports and cities/tourism. There are also some very significant Wi-Fi based rollouts at advanced stages of planning, which will ensure 2015 was not a one-off.
“The ongoing challenge is a simple one: there is always new technology around the corner,” concludes Connolly. “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.”
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Technologies Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.
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