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IoT Archives | Skyfii | Data integration, visitor analytics and marketing tools

Creating Data-driven Smart Cities with WiFi

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Smart Cities are an urban development vision to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) identifies Smart Cities as a plan for supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation and create jobs and growth (1).

Creating this smart cities vision will involve multiple technologies undoubtedly, however one clear product or service available is public WiFi.

So what role can public WiFi play in the Smart Cities initiative?

Well a huge one, if we focus on the notions of creating productive, accessible and liveable cities as outlined by the DPMC.

Productivity is easily understood, what better way is there to support the globalised workforce, than allowing them to be constantly connected, turning every section of a city into a WiFi connected business space.

Accessible, can be thought of in the context of tourism and the woes of travelling whilst trying to remain connected. Offering a centralised WiFi service city wide can be a tool to attract tourists, offering an ability to access all a city has to offer, with the knowledge you’re safe in relying on the devices wireless access for directions, suggestions and queries.

Liveable, well connectivity has become the most recent necessity, the backbone of an entire social culture whose foundation relies on virtual interaction. For good reason to, these platforms are acting as community hubs for shared thoughts and experiences, allowing residents to connect with cities to advocate their happiness or disapprovals.

What are the added advantages of WiFi to Smart Cities initiatives?

Data is one of the core components of Smart Cities. Focused on creating collaborative outcomes for the greater good of communities and tourists. With WiFi the value isn’t limited to the end user, it’s a tool to support government with clear understandings and outcomes, leveraging the data available.

As a standalone data source, WiFi can provide incredible insights into the utilisation of public facilities and the behaviour of tourists, workers and residents. Creating a depth of knowledge and understanding into how people interact with cities, allowing councils to create reflective development plans, and provide resources and facilities to areas as result of direct feedback.

However, with only the raw data this ambition can be quickly lost, as organisations struggle to make sense of what is available to them. For this reason, the IO platform acts as a unification tool for the data sources available, helping provide actionable insights that support smart cities.

How Skyfii supports Smart Cities.

Skyfii has been active in supporting Smart Cities initiatives, working with a popular Sydney local government area to leverage wireless networks for data analytics.

For this local government body, WiFi data has been used as a critical reporting tool in understanding the high volume traffic flow and behaviour of visitors along their coastal areas, in order to better manage path maintenance and crews. In addition, the data collected has allowed the council to analyse the utilisation of public precincts, with an ability to understand where visitors spend most their time, and the congestion in those areas. Furthermore, WiFi data is helping the council to understand how efficiently the public transport networks in the area are working, and the demand on the service during busy summer seasons.

As more councils move towards executing their Smart Cities initiatives, Skyfii foresees a rise in the deployment of guest WiFi networks. These public utilities are a hub that provides exponential return, in addition to creating productive, accessible and liveable cities supported by data.

Waverley Councils coastline where Skyfii is supporting with a smart cities initative

Analysing Customer Behaviour for Retail Success

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It is a widely known fact that the key to business success relies on a happy and satisfied end-user. For the retail sector, customers are key to business outcomes. A way to ensure retailers are meeting the needs of shoppers is by understanding them and their behaviour.

One way to be on the front foot is through in-store data analytics. Not only do data and analytics provide insight into the customers entering a store, smarter and more informed business decisions can also be made.

Analysing customer behaviour

In order to stand out from the crowd and attract customers, retailers must know and understand customer behaviour – determined by acknowledging and understanding: who the customers are, why do they visit a store, what do they purchase, where are they visiting from, what made them enter the store and how do they go about making a purchase.

In-store analytics can help retailers collect information to find out the answers to these key questions. Once store owners gather data and insights, they can leverage the information available to evolve in-store and business-wide strategies to better satisfy and attract customers.

Developing a better understanding of customer behaviour

One way retailers can gain a better understanding of the diverse types of customers visiting a store is by utilising technology and pre-existing infrastructures. BLE beacon networks, door-to-people counters, video sources, web and social platforms, for example, allow retailers to not only the analyse behaviour of anonymous shoppers, but also gain deeper insights about the audience and shopping behaviours of those who opt-in to free internet connectivity.

As consumers connect to guest Wi-Fi in store, retailers are able to gain insight into invaluable data, such as the age, gender, postcode, likes and dislikes of consumers. Similarly, social media analytics and online activity can also be gathered to provide retailers, with a correlation between in store visitation to social sentiment, offering retailers with powerful insight into the success businesses have in creating awareness, appeal and value to consumers.

Equally as important as the data that is gathered, is the way it is presented. Having a dashboard that is comprehensive and represents information in an intuitive way will help retailers identify any trends in the market, and keep a pulse on the industry. This way, they are able to proactively and positively react to customer habits and gain a competitive advantage.

Improving the customer experience

Once store owners have a technology solution in place that can capture and present data in a way that is easy to digest, the insights presented can help retailers implement a bespoke shopping experience, reflective of their customer behaviour. Not only will retailers be more in tune with their shoppers and their behaviour, major pain points associated with shopping in store can be improved. Extended wait times, long queues, differing prices or out of stock items can be a source of frustration that can lead consumers out of store and result in a loss of sale.

Now that retailers understand the shoppers entering their stores, they can create smarter, more intuitive and more forward thinking shopping spaces. Through in store data analytics, patterns can be identified when traffic data is gathered so retailers are able to optimise the layout of a store. Retailers can experiment with different displays, signs and campaigns and identify which strategies are the most effective in attracting potential customers.

This not only helps with their bottom line and business management, but it provides consumers with efficient, enjoyable and personal experiences.

Retailers can further extend their tailored offering, by delivering data driven campaigns based on customer behaviour through targeted promotional activity. Utilising a range of channels and media formats including email, SMS, mobile notifications, video interstitials, OOH and Wi-Fi, store owners can send customers relevant promotions based on real-time data of their shopping habits and dwell time.

Retailers of any size can benefit from in store data analytics. A shopping centre for example, has utilised data insights to identify what sections of the precinct receives the most foot traffic. After identifying that the food court was the most visited area, and had the largest number of dwell time, with most consumers entering the centre just to visit that particular zone, the centre decided to move the food court to a different location, so that retail stores could benefit from the number of consumers entering.

Similarly, on a smaller scale, if a fashion store within a shopping centre explores the gathered consumer data and identifies its store receives a large volume of consumers that form a demographic slightly older than their target market, they can look to adapt their product range to accommodate a wider range of tastes and preferences, and/or update their marketing and promotional strategy to realign and meet their intended audience.

Once retailers piece together a genuine understanding of their customers using in store analytics, and have a comprehensive understanding of those that are visiting their store, retailers will ultimately attract and retain customers as the in-store experience is specifically customised for them. By doing so, retailers will be able to predict, prepare and provide outstanding service to consumers, benefitting the bottom line and brand reputation.

With Skyfii’s integrated IO platform (IO Connect, IO Insight & IO Engage) you can learn more about your venue’s performance and your customers.

Creating Smart Spaces for Bricks and Mortar Retail

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The bricks and mortar retail world has been up against ecommerce for a couple of decades now, somehow never quite moving into the future the way it needs to, in order to bridge the gap. So why doesn’t everyone just shop online? The real benefit of in-store retail for consumers is the ability to experience the products. To use senses beyond sight: the touch and feel of an item, the interaction with staff and real people. We all enjoy this experience, which is why online shopping hasn’t made retail spaces obsolete – for the new generation their is a resurgence. There are some drawbacks, however: wait times, long queues, unpleasant experiences, differing prices or out of stock items can be a source of frustration that can lead consumers back online.

Thus, today’s smart stores and spaces are a really important step forward for consumers in terms of service levels and satisfaction and for the retailer’s, customer loyalty. When you go online, your likes, dislikes and a plethora of other information about you is used to determine what you see and what experience you have. To learn more about our thoughts on Smart Spaces and IoT you can visit an earlier blog of ours. 

Using similar data to understand consumers and make their interactions and experiences more convenient and meaningful is surely a very positive thing indeed. Not just in retail of course, but all physical spaces. Restaurants, museums, services within each city; in today’s world of IoT (read our IoT article here) cities all over the world are becoming smarter, more intuitive and more forward thinking. This not only helps with their bottom line and business management, but it provides consumers, visitors – us, the people! – with efficient, enjoyable experiences.

The bricks and mortar retail industry can’t afford to remain passive; ignoring the needs of its cross-channel shoppers – there are too many alternatives for shoppers to turn to. Consumer expectations have been set and the technologies are readily available, today. Smart spaces are a natural progression in bridging the gap between the online and offline world and taking retail into the future.

This is why with the IO platform (IO Connect, IO Insight and IO Engage) retailers and venues can take a proactive step forward in understanding their consumers. The creation of these connected spaces enable an in-depth understanding of those who occupy them, and how to deliver better products and services as result. Boosting loyalty, conversion and more importantly creating a shopping experience personalised to them, an unaddressed and defining need for the next generation of shoppers.

Picture of Wayne Arthur, CEO

The Internet of Me

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So, what does IoT mean for retail?

The term IoT was coined as a reference to the interworking of physical devices – embedded within electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity, enabling these objects to collect and exchange data. In a retail environment these devices present themselves as foot counters, POS systems, CCTV cameras, bluetooth beacons, Wi-Fi, mobile applications, CRM systems and barcode scanners. Collectively they represent a trove of data known as IoT, capable of supporting functionalities from supply chain management, operations and marketing support.

Retailers are making big changes with IoT

IoT has highlighted the availability of data points to retailers, and more importantly the ability they have in creating enriched insights about their consumers. This ability is even more evident in the Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow report developed by Aruba, showing how far progressed the capabilities are for retailers to ingest data, and create tools from such a large array of data points. As stated in the report these changes are making big impacts in the retail sector with 88% of adopters indicating it had improved the overall customer experience. Seeing first hand the impact data integration and analytics has on retailers we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

Consumers are beginning to see the benefits of IoT

IoT has generated new benefits to consumers, largely supported by the new insights available to retailers. More appropriately this has manifested itself into the Internet of Me (IoM); a holistic viewpoint and ability to provide personalised offerings to the consumer. As result, responsive services have been created, with more information coming from more sources, services can now learn, anticipate and respond to individual needs. The feedback loop is shorter with companies able to quickly adapt to consumer experiences, identifying faults in products and services quicker. However, more importantly for the retailer is the new age ability to create in-store experiences and offerings tailored to the individual, as result of extensive learning and outputs created through analytics, defining a new age of ‘smart retailers’.

Governments are seeing the savings

Aruba’s report discusses the impact IoT is having in the ‘Smart Cities” space, more notably the reported savings from 70% of governments who adopted an IoT initiative. It’s fantastic that so many industries are seeing the benefits including government. Skyfii has been involved in similar initiatives with local government in Australia, supporting them with data analysis. In these deployments we’ve been able to support them with understanding the precinct and transport utilisation of areas, design and development and retail performance in addition to a number of other analytic outputs. As result, we identify inefficiencies that go on to support the reported savings identified in Aruba’s report.

How do we help?

The number of data sources available to retailers are tremendous and can often come off as noise with no value. The secret of IoT is not the variety of data, but what you can do with it. For many defining the solution that fits best is a challenging task, requiring testing and extensive learning. For this reason Skyfii finds ourselves so regularly contacted to support with analytics, and that of understanding that can be created from IoT. Our solutions offer numerous verticals very clear analytical insights; supporting operational, marketing, sales and executive teams in unlocking the value of data and how it is relevant to them.

Devices showing Skyfii ebook cover page | smart cities

Smart Cities – How free Wi-Fi supports local government

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Creating a data driven smart cities project that addresses the communities needs.

Sometimes these decisions are small, and sometimes they are big, but regardless of size, every decision made will impact local constituents and visitors in one way or another. Decision-making is a significant responsibility so it’s important that those in positions of leadership, use all the tools they can to ensure that the decisions they make reflect the needs and interests of their community.

Data gathering is an important part of the decision making process, especially when it comes to those big decisions like allocating resources or planning community events. Unfortunately many of the conventional data gathering techniques are time consuming and expensive, and they don’t always give you accurate information.

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Skyfii Lights Up Cincinnati

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Skyfii partners with Cincinnati Bell Inc. to provide guest Wi-Fi analytics and engagement services

Located on the Ohio River in the US, the iconic city of Cincinnati is a favourite spot for national and international tourists with a colossal 24 million visitors every year, not to mention its two million residents. Now, thanks to a new partnership among Skyfii, Aruba Networks and US telecoms company Cincinnati Bell, visitors and residents alike can enjoy free guest WiFi services throughout the entire city. Businesses in the city can also connect with WiFi citizens through bespoke advertisements and special offers.

This partnership supports Cincinnati Bell’s ongoing “Light Up Cincinnati” campaign to connect residents, visitors, and businesses through technology. “Light Up Cincinnati” includes a growing network of free, high-speed Fioptics WiFi venues throughout Greater Cincinnati, as well as the Connect Cincinnati mobile app, which allows businesses to provide app users with exclusive and timely offers.

Cincinnati Bell offers Fioptics Free WiFi service with hundreds, growing to thousands, of access points across Greater Cincinnati, and more are planned for 2017. It also provides managed WiFi services to businesses that view connectivity as a key part of customer service.

Our CEO Wayne Arthur said of the partnership – We hear about the concept of smart cities all the time – it’s initiatives such as this that help turn concept into reality. Our services, integrated with Cincinnati Bell’s  Fioptics Free WiFi services, will help provide a reliable marketing and communication platform for local events, advertising, and businesses to promote their goods and services.

Cincinnati Bell will start integrating Skyfii services into its WiFi access points, which are powered by HPE Aruba Networks, later this year. The win represents a key high-profile customer for Skyfii in North America – after only launching in the region earlier this year – and opens up further opportunities to quickly grow throughout other Cincinnati Bell service areas.

Rob Scott, Senior Director of Mobile Strategy for Cincinnati Bell added – Skyfii’s deep integration with HPE Aruba Networks products, strong capabilities, and responsiveness make them a valuable partner for Cincinnati Bell. We are pleased to be partnering with Skyfii to create a whole new level of connectivity in the Cincinnati metro area, and to help us connect our customers with what matters most to them.

Bondi becomes more than a hotspot with Skyfii

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Waverley Council and Skyfii bring free Wi-Fi to Bondi’s 2.2M yearly visitors in time for Summer

Every year, more than 2.2 million people visit Bondi Beach area to soak up the sun, sand and surf Sydney has to offer. Skyfii is now providing its guest WiFi and analytics services to the beach and its surrounding areas to make sure beach goers can share their experiences and connect with local businesses in the area.

Visitors to the ‘Golden Mile’ are being granted guest WiFi access in areas across Bondi, including all of Bondi Beach and Park, Tamarama Beach and Bronte Beach. This was ready just in time for summer, when the area becomes one of Australia’s most prominent tourist hotspots.

It all began with a trial with Waverley Council, said Skyfii CEO Wayne Arthur: We ran a guest WiFi trial in a section of Bondi Beach earlier this year and the response was incredible. Typically, councils can use guest WiFi to support local businesses by promoting bespoke advertisements and offers to users. It can also be used to, for example, identify peak times for beach goers and allocate lifesaving personnel accordingly.

Guest WiFi services have become an important offering in popular tourist areas across the world. As people’s expectations for easy and fast connectivity continue to mature, we are helping to provision Bondi’s status as one of New South Wales’ – and indeed Australia’s – key visitor locations by providing this service.

Councils – and other industries such as hospitality and retail – can also benefit with Skyfii from access to its real-time data analytics services platform. This captures and analyses consumer behaviour and provides feedback to help understand movement and behaviour patterns, identify peak times, allocate resources more efficiently and provide better experiences.

This deal is our first in the council and municipality sector, a new key target with more than 560 councils countrywide who can reap the benefits of guest WiFi and analytics. As councils seek to enhance the level of services they provide to constituents and visitors, this kind of technology can provide real time data to assist councils to better design and manage public spaces.