Location tracking in the Internet of Things is heating up as an issue.
While tracking smartphone locations has become relatively standard over the last several years, the tracking of IoT devices is relatively new.
Much of the past tracking, at least of phones, has been done using GPS, which is generally OK but not totally precise. Various app check-ins have somewhat helped that along.
Geofencing also has gotten better during that time and beacons are now installed at least in pilot programs in stores of most major retailers.
Location tracking is improving, which many marketers are likely to welcome.
Location capabilities also came up during a discussion at the seventh annual FutureM conference in Boston yesterday.
“Location services is a really big opportunity,” said Scott Hudler, SVP and chief digital office of Dunkin’ Brands. “I think the runway for that is pretty significant. We think that beacons have a ton of potential. From a retailer’s standpoint, there’s still some work that needs to be done.”
After his marketing conference presentation, Hudler told me that, at least in the case of Dunkin’, much more location precision is needed.
For example, a person ordering would have to be precisely tracked to be delivered the correct order, which GPS and beacons don’t yet do.
Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group, echoed the same sentiments regarding the use of beacons at Patriots Place, the home of the New England Patriots. She said that with so many people together, beacons are not precise enough, though they are being used for more general customer services, such as showing how long lines are at various concessions stands.
The good news for location-based marketing is that a lot is going on behind the scenes.
For example, Philips Lighting is installing LED lighting with indoor positioning across Carrefour’s hypermarkets in France, as I wrote about here in July (Smart Lights In Stores Match Shoppers With Products.)
The tracking capabilities of these systems are significantly more accurate than beacons or geofences and can locate a smartphone to within 8 to 12 inches.