Using Wi-Fi to Spy

In the future, showrooming could put you in the cross hairs of a pesky sales associate. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, mobile devices will soon give brick-and-mortar stores the ability to track their customers’ in-store activities and react in real time.

The thinking goes that smartphone-addicted customers will jump at the chance to get free, fast in-store Wi-Fi.

“Once customers connect to Wi-Fi, stores can get real-time data on where the shoppers are spending their time, how often they visit, and even what they’re browsing on their smart phones,” according to the article.

You’re Being Watched

Think you’re secretly price-checking on Amazon while shopping at Target? Think again, says Nearbuy CEO Bryan Wargo.

“We’re trying to understand not only physically where they’re going within the store but also where they’re going virtually within that shopping experience,”notes Wargo.

Apparently AirWatch, a company specializing in smartphone security and network management, expects to offer the tracking service in about six months. The company’s chairman, Alan Dabbiere, told the WSJ that the privacy implications of using Wi-Fi to track people’s locations “have yet to be thought through by the industry.”

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