BlueFox products respect the privacy of all consumers and have been certified compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by ePrivacy. Unlike mobile apps, BlueFox products collect no personal information, and depend on the MAC (media access control) address broadcast by mobile phones to distinguish one mobile phone from another on a Wi-Fi network.
All mobile phones broadcast MAC addresses in order to share data on a Wi-Fi network. These addresses are identified by 12 hexa-decimal characters. To allow MAC addresses to be unique across all devices worldwide, allocation of MAC addresses is regulated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). MAC addresses can be either “Local” or “Global”.
Some modern mobile phones broadcast “Local” MAC addresses that are selected at random from a set of trillions of possible numbers. Because two different mobile phones can broadcast the same MAC address, it is impossible to unequivocally identify a phone knowing only its broadcast Local MAC address. Further, because some mobile phones regularly change over time the MAC address that they broadcast, identifying an individual mobile phone over time is very difficult.
BlueFox products do not seek to track individual mobile phones but only to statistically estimate the number of phones present in a space and how they relocate to other spaces during limited time intervals.
Almost all older mobile phones, and many new Android phones, broadcast Global MAC addresses, sometimes called “OUI (Organizational Unique Identifier)” MAC addresses. These addresses do not change over time and can uniquely identify a mobile phone…though they share no information about the owner/user of the mobile phone. Individuals whose phones broadcast Global MAC addresses can register their addresses with BlueZoo at no charge to ensure that the presence of their phone is not accounted for in our statistical estimates. Use this form to register the 12-character “Global” MAC address of your mobile phone.
All phones, whether broadcasting Local or Global MAC addresses can contribute to our real-time count of the number of visitors, visits, and dwell time. The 50% of mobile phones that broadcast Global MAC addresses contribute to our measurement of unique visitors and unique visitor recurrence. This 50% of phones provide a very accurate picture of the behavior of phone users. This share of mobile phones that broadcast Local MAC addresses is climbing slowly, led by the adoption of Local MAC addresses by Apple. Still, most new Android phones broadcast Global MAC addresses and we expect this trend to continue.
One BlueFox product, Engage, requires that consumers actively opt in to programs conducted by our customers (e.g. retailers). This product collects and records a consumer’s mobile phone’s MAC address. When a consumer returns to a location where a BlueFox sensor (managed by that same customer) is located, our systems will record that the consumer has returned…and our customer may send a coupon or other special offer to that consumer.
Engage provides a minimally intrusive mechanism to tell businesses that their consumer customers are nearby, giving the business a chance to engage these consumers. The traditional alternative was to insist that consumers install a mobile app on their mobile phones (or tablets). Such a mobile app would locate the consumer using GPS and other location services throughout the day, every day. If the consumer arrives at a location of interest to the business, the business can take some action, such as sending a text message. BlueFox’s Engage product delivers all the benefits of a mobile app without the intrusiveness of 7 x 24 tracking.
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