Sprooki and YFind buddy up to bring indoor positioning to Asia’s shopping malls
January 4, 2013 by Terence LEE
Indoor positioning is coming to Asia really soon. The technology has received a big push towards commercial viability after today’s announcement of a partnership between Singapore startups Sprooki and YFind that will see closer integration between the two.
The companies complement one another well. Sprooki offers a white-label location-based marketing platform for retailers, while YFind is scaling up its indoor positioning system that promises accurate tracking of a smartphone user’s location to within 3 meters.
Sprooki will begin integrating YFind into its platform, and offer it as a package to customers in Asia. YFind, on its part, will offer Sprooki to merchants outside of the region, particularly in the US.
The partnership could allow merchants to be even more targeted than before in offering location-based promotions to consumers. Currently, location-based marketers have to rely on GPS and Wifi to locate shoppers. The problem is that GPS doesn’t work well in enclosed spaces and dense urban areas, while current Wifi positioning is spotty at best.
At best, marketers can offer promotions to people that are in the approximate vicinity of a shopping mall, for instance. An ice-cream seller on the first floor would not be able to target only shoppers within ten meters of its store. Also, it would not be able to distinguish between shoppers in different floors.
YFind, with the ability to detect the right consumers in the right place both horizontally and vertically, allows merchants to be even more granular in their targeting.
Combine this exact location data with other information that Sprooki has on shoppers, we can start seeing location-based marketing reach its true potential.
While YFind shows promise on the marketing execution front, it has another important utility: Marketing analytics. It offers TheRetailHQ, an intelligence tool that gives marketers a way to track footfall and movement in real-time, how much time they spend in a store, how they leave a store, and how well they respond to promotions.
It’ll be interesting to see how this YFind-Sprooki partnership will compare against existing solutions in the Asian markets, if there is even anything at all like this at the moment.
For now, Sprooki has one key customer in 313@Somerset, a popular shopping mall in Singapore’s Orchard Road. It could provide an interesting test case of how well YFind technology will work in practice, especially when integrated with a complete marketing platform. However, no word is out on whether YFind will be offered at the mall.
Both companies have some leeway to work out the kinks and scale up. Last year, YFind secured USD 1.18M in venture funding from Walden International and Innosight, while Sprooki has raised USD 0.48M in seed funding from Get2Volume and NRF.
This year, we can expect more partnerships by both companies with relevant players in the location-based marketing space.
Indoor positioning is an area that’s ripe for disruption, and many startups are attempting to crack the problem. It has utility not just in marketing, but also in military and navigation systems. The test for YFind will be in how its technology stacks up against well-funded competitors like Locata.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE