WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY AND SHOPPING CENTRE MANAGEMENT – OPPORTUNITIES OR THREATS?
||Plimmer, Frances; Gaye Pottinger; Bob Thompson
||WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY AND SHOPPING CENTRE MANAGEMENT – OPPORTUNITIES OR THREATS?
||Book of Abstracts: 15th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Kraków, Poland
||Wireless communication is increasingly being used in UK shopping centres, by the centre management, retail outlets, and visiting customers. Wi-Fi access presents shopping centres with both opportunities for income generation and threats from signal congestion, but few shopping centre managers have taken steps to manage Wi-fi use and there are good reasons why this needs to change. Free Wi-fi access, such as through ‘hot-spots’, can act as a public service and is a channel through which the shopping centre can engage the consumer directly, to market the centre and inform customers about services available. Retailers’ use of Wi-fi for stock control, delivery management and ‘queue busting’ is enabling them to offer higher levels of service and make more efficient use of sales space, potentially with knock on consequences for store turnover and rents. Public concerns about Wi-fi tend to centre on data protection, civil liberties and heath & safety issues. Overall, the significant increasing use of wireless communications means shopping centre airspace will be carrying traffic using many different standards and protocols, some of which may conflict with each other unless systems are properly installed and managed. This paper is based on survey responses from 57 UK shopping centres and follow-up interviews with shopping centre owners, managers, IT consultants / specialists and retailers. It examines the opportunities and threats associated with Wi-Fi use and the recommended management actions to ensure the benefits outweigh any drawbacks for the centre owners, retail occupiers and the public at large.
||retail property, wireless technology, shopping centre management
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