Most organizations are brimming with data. Information about customers, products, services, etc. All this data can be a treasure trove for companies by allowing them to customize customer experiences and improve internal efficiencies. But, without the right strategy and technology, data can become nothing more than a digital paperweight, providing little valuable insight for companies to act on.
Our client, a large real estate investment firm that manages shopping malls across the nation, wanted more from their data. They were burdened by extensive manual data entry, multiple systems that held different information, and delays with reporting and analytics. Our client was also dealing with data storage. With their on-premises infrastructure about to reach capacity, they knew it was time to act. Like many companies, they found themselves asking if now was the time to move to the cloud.
Additionally, in a number of their shopping malls, they provide free WIFI. This is achieved through having multiple wireless access points installed throughout the mall. The installation and maintenance of these access points is managed by a third-party provider.
They also had a third-party provider that used smart phones to “ping” data from the mall’s access points to estimate the number of people in the mall (foot traffic) on an hourly and daily basis. The amount of data received and processed from these IoT devices exceeds one billion records per day, and the third-party solution required a significant Google Cloud implementation.
The cost of this implementation was paid for by the client along with the fee for the service, costing upwards of $25,000 per month. In addition, because the algorithm used to derive the foot traffic counts was proprietary, there was no transparency on how the calculations were done. This led to a general mistrust of the data that was being received.
Adding to that is the fact that smart phone manufacturers are periodically updating how they interact with wireless networks, requiring periodic updates to the algorithm. When this occurred, there was often a large delay — weeks and sometimes months — before the third party addressed the changes.
They needed to figure out a way to gain valuable, actionable insights, without the burden of the cost they were paying and needed the right tools and expertise to do it.