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Innovation and the “P” Word - Part 4: Why WiFi?

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In the first, second and third articles in this series, we looked at how InnerSpace prioritizes privacy through its technology, the value exchange between privacy and innovation, and how the pandemic put privacy to the test. 

Now, during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we revisit this critical subject by focusing specifically on the use of WiFi. 

Historically, WiFi has not been a key concern for property owners, with corporate tenants forced to hunt for their own reliable internet connectivity. Today, as the importance of WiFi has grown – amidst the ongoing need to entice business owners back to their office spaces post-COVID – it’s a must-have building amenity.

Connectivity needs aside, WiFi is also an important instrument in the data privacy toolbox. That’s because this technology remains the best-case solution when it comes to balancing both privacy and efficiency. This is a critical consideration, particularly given the uptick in cyber attacks from hackers targeting our increased reliance on digital tools

In fact, one cybersecurity firm reports that the pandemic, along with remote work, a charged political climate, and more, has driven the effectiveness and volume of cyberattacks to new highs. From 2019 to 2020, IoT attacks alone were up 66 percent. 


WiFi: safe, secure, private

Overall, WiFi networks can be purpose-built to be safe and secure. Installing firewalls, changing default passwords and encrypting data are just a few of the key strategies that can ensure acquired data remains secure.  

In order to achieve privacy, WiFi data can be anonymized and companies can work with technology partners to ensure that every media access control (MAC) address of someone’s electronic device is immediately encrypted. This effort ensures that no personally identifiable information is ever stored – both at rest and in transit. 

InnerSpace, for instance, is one such tech partner that takes this approach with existing WiFi networks and sensors that track only population-level movement, not individuals, in such a way that even reverse-engineering the data to find out someone’s identity is impossible. By segmenting networks, each person’s data isn’t shared with anyone else. User authentication and continuous monitoring of network and firewall logs act as further security measures. 

In fact we are an industry leader in protecting customer data and privacy, compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – thus demonstrating how WiFi-based location platforms can achieve such high security levels. 

WiFi: highly accurate, widely scalable

When it comes to indoor location technology, leveraging the existing WiFi infrastructure is also the most cost-effective and accurate way to capture and use data. 

At InnerSpace, we’ve proven just how precise this technology can be. Using location sensors that tap existing WiFi access points is not only the least invasive approach – but we have achieved location accuracy of under six feet anywhere in the building 90 percent of the time. This is in part to enable calibration sensors that can boost the data that flows from the WiFi signals within the space, which hone in on optimal positioning accuracy. 

The only comparable approach to gain such precision would be to deploy thousands of small infrared sensors across an office complex – but that of course comes at considerable infrastructure and maintenance costs.

In this way, InnerSpace itself has proven that WiFi-based indoor location data is the most reliable reflection of what is happening in each office, floor, zone or conference room – broken down further by demographic to see the behaviors of different teams using the same space (while maintaining individual privacy). 

And WiFi’s ubiquitous nature also means it carries the most potential for scalability. The larger one’s real estate portfolio is, the easier it is to scale a WiFi-based solution quickly and affordably. And, as we’ve written here, securely.