What privacy? Navizon I.T.S. tracks any Wi-Fi-enabled device inside buildings

what privacy navizon its tracks any wi fi enabled device inside buildings illustration

If you’re in the public or even at your home, as long as technology is around, privacy cannot be taken for granted. Need proof? Meet Florida-based location service company, Navizon. Its latest product, coined “Navizon Indoor Triangulation System,” or Navizon I.T.S for short, enables pinpoint tracking of any Wi-Fi enabled device within a building.

Navizon I.T.S works thanks to the installation of nodes. The technology enables business owners to track the flow and location of customers in a mall, restaurant, office and any building. While most Wi-Fi triangulation often uses Wi-Fi hotspots, these nodes work without hotspots and plot a three-dimensional space within the building. And installation is surprisingly simple: The nodes can be plugged into electrical outlets with the only requirement being that it needs to maintain a distance of 100 feet from other nodes while accounting for the entire space of the building. The I.T.S will then be superimposed on a map of the building’s blueprint.

Because the majority of smartphone, laptop and tablet device users will keep their Wi-Fi on at all times, Navizon’s nodes can plot the location of these Wi-Fi users and track their movement within the three dimensional space. The degree of accuracy, which the company boasts, can pinpoint individuals down to a floor and a room, if not the individual. We bet most of you carry your phone just about everywhere and many of you have never even turned off the Wi-Fi on your smartphone.

The I.T.S could have myriads of practical applications for business owners. You can discover suspicious activity if an individual is attempting to access a restricted location in a museum, or business owners could determine which parts of the store is the most trafficked. Even students at boarding schools or universities can be monitored for illicit activities. But note that Navizon I.T.S users cannot identify the owners of the phone. Wi-Fi-enabled device owners simply appear as a blip on the map.

We should not, however, discount the presumption that Navizon likely has the capability to take the system further. That is to say, you shouldn’t be surprised if the company has been storing identifying information about the individuals being tracked, or if Navizon is planning on offering this service for its customers in a future iteration. After all, we’re seeing the increasing popularity of ambient social networks which can identify the location and personal information about nearby app users.

For business, like a mall for example, we could see how this application would be a great accompaniment to Hitachi Kokusai Electronic’s surveillance technology. It’s a rather cheap installation and cost. For $250 per month per site, $25 per month per node, and a one time fee of $60 per node, Navizon I.T. S. can be set up just about anywhere, whether discretely on a wall or a pole.

Looking into the future, we predict that, as technology like I.T.S. advances, every movement and action that we make in a public setting will inevitably be tracked and recorded. To some of us, that’s a relief and is a deterrent in itself for potential criminal activities. Yet, with similar companies including AirPatrol, Skyhook and even Euclid, there’s something unnerving about the feeling that someone is watching us, which tends to send chills down our spines.

Check out their video demo and explanation of their Navizon I.T.S (beginning at 1:40) below. You can also check out their hour-by-hour analytics of people walking by the Navizon offices in Miami Beach, and let us know your thoughts on their system below.