Invasive or essential? Crocker Park Wi-Fi will track shoppers and send alerts to your phone

Shoppers who opt in receive info, discounts as they walk by storefronts, restaurants

Invasive or essential? Crocker Park Wi-Fi will track shoppers and send alerts to your phone

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - At Crocker Park in Westlake, a major upgrade in the Wi-Fi system will change the way stores reach out to you, and eventually may change where you shop and what you buy.

Cumbersome or convenient? New Crocker Park tech will track you and send push alerts to your phone

If you opt in, your smartphone will be a way to interact with all that is going on at the lifestyle center; truly, two-way real-time communication.

Workers for a company called We Build Apps have been busy installing equipment to make it not only a lifestyle center, but a smart lifestyle center. It will allow businesses to send you coupons you may like, or at times, yet another alert you may not like.

It works using technology developed in Garfield Heights by Rodney Colley and his team, who described it as “proximity marketing, so any time you’re inside Crocker Park they can send you out coupons.”

If there was an event going on and you’re on one side of the property, they can tell you about it.

The system depends on a network of devices on rooftops that can tell where you are on the property and target messages to you from nearby stores. When you leave, the tracking stops. So basically, the more times you visit any property, it learns more about you.

Colley says, “Your shopping habits, that’s all.”

The technology can replace kiosks that tell you where stores are. Ask for a specific store on your smartphone and a map will appear leading you step by step to the store, led by a bird; the symbol of Crocker Park.

But how much technology is too much? We asked Colley a question many visiting may ask.

He answered, “No, ‘Big Brother’ isn’t watching. Again, this is just engagement on the property. When you walk off the property nothing gets pushed to your device or anything.”

You have to log in to the Wi-Fi at the shopping center to get the data. If you don’t you won’t. It does not track your information once you leave the property.

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