Sponsored by Internet Solutions, Internetix is one of the most important high-technology events in the African continent. This annual conference is Internet Solutions’ flagship event to discuss topics in tech and innovation within the digital environment. The 14th annual gathering, held in July 2013, brought together over 1,500 delegates from local and global tech companies in two events: at the Cape Town Convention Centre (July 18th), and at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg (July 23rd).
The theme this year was Living in exponential times, connoting the disruption and opportunities ushered in by today’s technical innovation: anything is possible; digital is ever evolving and changing. As befits such a theme, Internet Solutions wanted to wow attendees with a feat of technical innovation.
Quirk, the largest independently-owned marketing agency in Africa was commissioned to come up with digital campaign ideas for this conference. Quirk chose to showcase indoor location technology by tracking, in real time, delegates’ whereabouts within the conference venues via their mobiles. Here is their story.
Over a thousand people registered with Quirk. They checked in with their smart phones at a registration desk, providing their names.
During the event, everyone’s current location in the venue was displayed, in real time, on large flat screens. No mobile app was required. No need to connect to any system.
Registration data also enabled the Quirk team to display playful statistics, such as announcing that “Delegates around you are most likely named Craig”, the count of devices present in the room, grouped by manufacturer, the number of female delegates being tracked, and males vs. female delegates flow throughout the space.
Quirk made two key points about the future of location-based marketing. For users who opt in, it may enable, not just identification, but also content “push” precisely when users are present at a location of interest. Think promotions for loyalty customers, or receiving relevant information in front of an exhibit. For all visitors, raw data is now readily available to analyze their flow and behavior over time: At what time did they come in? Which entrance did the use? How long did they stay? Where did they linger? What path did they follow through the venue? Did they come back multiple times? What sections of the site did they visit? Where and when were the highest visitor concentrations? What brand of mobile devices did they carry? You get the idea.
Once again, Quirk lived up to its motto: Brave Curious Minds. It was a success. People were really excited to see themselves on screen. Betting on this emerging technology enabled Quirk’s team to be one of the first in their industry to explore the possibilities that rapidly evolving location-based technologies are bringing. And there is much more to come.
Behind the scenes
The Quirk team deployed Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor to monitor the venue. This hardware-based real-time locating system (RTLS) locates and tracks active Wi-Fi devices by their MAC (Media Access Control) address. MAC addresses are unique 12-digit identifiers that convey no personally identifiable information about the device’s owner–e.g. no relation to name or phone number. Their first 6 digits identify the device’s manufacturer (e.g. Apple, Motorola or Samsung).
Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor provides an online dashboard that displays a top view of the facility, typically with a custom floor plan overlaid on it. Devices tracked appear as dots moving over the floor plan. The dots can be labeled; for example, with the devices’ user names, as in this case.
To shorten development time, the Quirk team chose to display Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor’s dashboard at the event. Registered users were able to watch their movements on large flat screens as they walked about.
Associating users’ names with their smart phones was done using Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor ‘s Magic Touch feature. rs simply place their phones in contact with the Magic Touch hardware. An API enables the registration system to read the MAC address and complete the user’s profile.
A daily log could provide data essential for creating time-based heat maps and analyzing attendees’ flow. Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor automatically generates an event log containing the list of time-stamped MAC addresses sampled throughout the day, including latitude, longitude and the identity of the sensors throughout the venue that detected them.
Clearly, Quirk’s technical sophistication made all this possible in a very short time. Which made them want to pursue even more ambitious goals next time. We can’t wait.