Digital signage and broadcast software company Capital Networks has entered into an interesting partnership with a small company that enables consumer behaviour metrics by picking up on smartphone signals.
OPTiFi uses wireless sensing to anonymously register smartphones that come into a zone, and build aggregate patterns of what all those people do and how they move around an area over periods of time.
It’s another way to build the sort of visual heat maps and charts possible though more hardware intensive applications like video analytics and beacons, or other processes that actually capture information about people’s phones.
OPTiFi is in Peterborough, Ontario, up the road from Capital’s Toronto area head offices, and the deal makes Capital the global media reseller of the technology.
Audience metrics is not at all that new to signage, and Capital was among the first companies to start marketing video analytics in a partnership with Cognovision, prior to its sale to Intel. The difference with this technology is that it will not only develop a sense of audience patterns, but also the cause and effect.
OPTiFi says its technology can not only indicate to retailers general behaviors, but also report on conversion ratios – the idea that people enter an area, pass within site of marketing messages, and then in that same journey make a purchase related to a message.
The news release says “OPTiFi provides real time location data and media validation by reporting actual conversion for retail advertisers, strategists, advertising agencies, media planners and buyers of targeted location-based digital media across multiple channels.”
“OPTiFi was originally developed to bring accountability via location analytics to out-of-home advertising without jeopardizing the privacy of truly anonymous visitor activity via their cell phones,” says Robert Morton, President of OPTiFi, Inc. “OPTiFi’s core patents-pending with its uniquely anonymized arrays do not include any intrusion or push to a user. OPTiFi sets a new industry standard in tokenizing mobile devices—an anonymized finger print that cannot be reverse engineered. This simple, digital token is designed to protect a user’s ID and MAC address.”
The technical description is that OPTiFi has a one-way encryption process at the wireless sensor level that does not capture MAC (Media Access Control) addresses from mobile phones or connected devices. The company says that “non-reversible process is the only certified method of truly ensuring the anonymity of collected data with no possibility of decryption.”
The process doesn’t capture any personal or real-world identity information, says OPTiFi, and it distills aggregated data, not individual devices. There is also a means to easily opt out of the data gathering, the company says.
Turn off your wifi, maybe?
“This exclusive reseller partnership with OPTiFi further positions Capital Networks as a leading provider of digital signage solutions for a wide variety of applications,” says Jim Vair, VP Business Development at Capital Networks. “We see OPTiFi having huge implications in the retail digital signage space, and we’re very excited to be able to add OPTiFI to the stable of solutions available to all of our clients.”