Wireless Access

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Is guest WiFi required for user tracking

I apologise in advance if this question has already been asked & answered but I couldn't find any relevant discussion in the forum


This article (http://www.itwire.com/strategy/77218-free-wi-fi-is-a-powerful-marketing-tool.html) discussed the power of offering free WiFi as a marketing tool. The premise is that the user location heat map can be harvested for proximity makerting purpose. No question about the technical aspect of the discussion.


My question is whether establishing user session is really required to delivery "Engagement Analytic". My understanding is that a network of APs can generate heat map for WiFi MAC to track device movement to generate such analytic. User login to the AP is not required.


The material relevence of my question is that in a shopping center environment, the centre might offer site wide free WiFi to generate such analytic as a service to tennant stores. While larger stores might be able to afford to offer their own free WiFi, it might not be economical for smaller stores to do so. Even if free WiFi is offered inside a small store, it is too much hassle for the users to switch between the site wide WiFi to the store specific WiFi while inside the store.


On the other hand, even a small store can afford to deploy three or more low cost APs to provide tracking of device movement inside their store via triangulation and feed the heat map to cloud based proximity marketing service providers for analysis.


Is this the correct expectation or I have missed the point completely?

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