Novitaz, makers of a line of customer loyalty cards powered by film-thin batteries that enable location tracking, announced today that the company has joined the Dash7 Alliance, a consortium of companies using a wireless data transmission technology that allows data to be sent from indoors, through cement or water, and bent around impermeable metal surfaces.
The organizations say that the technologies brought together will allow everything from opt-in personalized commercial offerings pushed to a customer's phone to automatic check-ins on popular location-based social networks - all powered by a smart card in your wallet. That sounds substantially more frictionless than requiring that an app be running on your phone, with the trade-off being the persistent passive tracking.
Novitaz calls itself "the first company to enable a Digital In-store Ad Network," and says its data acts as "a rich platform for customer identification and interactive commerce."
The prospect of a low-powered smart card broadcasting my location to trusted organizations sounds fairly appealing, and as a technology that can be baked into existing loyalty programs it sounds like a viably fast path to mainstream adoption of commercial location-tracking technologies. Indoor-capable, unafraid of cement, water and metal? Bring it on, location platform.
Dash7 is an organization that's very big on the Internet of Things, the vision of a world filled with network-connected physical devices, publishing data to the Web for analysis and interaction.
Now we'll just have to remember to take those smart cards out of our wallets and purses when we don't want to be tracked around town. Can companies offer a sufficiently compelling value proposition to persuade consumers to make that trade-off? Discounts in exchange for your purchasing data were an easy story for the loyalty card industry to sell - but how many of you put your real personal information into that system? That might change with a location-tracking smart card.