Survey shows people see benefits of location-tracking apps

A strong case has been made for why commercial real estate owners need to have strong wireless networks in their buildings—tenants today demand reliable coverage whether it’s to conduct business calls or stream conference videos, reserve as seat at a nearby restaurant or order food on their way home from work.

It turns out there’s another good reason for having strong wireless coverage—so mobile phone users can use location tracking aps effectively. At first glance, that might not seem like a highly motivating factor for having good coverage as a lot of people are not comfortable using apps that can monitor or collect their location data. However, business research website The Manifest recently conducted a survey of a little more than 700 people across the United States that use location tracking apps, and found there’s more of an appetite for such apps than one might think.

Among the survey’s findings, 37% of people enable location tracking on between six to eleven of their apps on their phone. Meanwhile, 57% of people are comfortable with apps that track their location, versus 15% who do not want apps knowing where they are according to The Manifest’s survey.

There are a number of reasons why more than half of the people surveyed are comfortable with location tracking apps. One of them is user experience—retail apps can use location-tracking technology to create personalized services for their customers. If a user lives close to, or happens to be near a store, an app will recommended they stop by the physical location. On the other hand, if the user does not live near the store, its app can recommend they shop online.

“There is particularly a good use for location tracking in retail and e-commerce sites,” Adam Fingerman, founder of mobile app design and development company ArcTouch told The Manifest. “They can use store locators tracking to serve a contextualized experience based on your proximity to a physical store.”

Convenience is another reason people are more OK with location tracking apps. In fact, they’re willing to exchange the potential risk these apps present for the efficiencies and personalized services the offer. The Manifest’s survey revealed 42% of people value the convenience location tracking apps provide. These conveniences include simplifying decisions—apps can filter relevant search results and prioritize the ones that are closest to the smartphone user; and storing information such as frequently used addresses and favorite stores. Additionally, location tracking apps help users find nearby businesses or events, deliver location-specific services and help facilitating communication between users.

Contrary to what some might believe, almost 30% of people surveyed believe location-tracking apps improve their safety. They like to use these apps so the can see where their friends and family are, especially when they’re in unfamiliar areas or out late at night. People can keep an eye where their children and elderly relatives are.

“I love location-tracking apps, particularly those that use geo-fences,” Eric Sims, owner of Robot Clearer Store, told The Manifest. “I used to have to walk through a somewhat unsavory area of town to get from the train to my office, and my wife worried about me. I started using an app that would send her a text each day when I made it to work safely.”

These results are not to say people are without privacy concerns, however. According to The Manifest’s survey, 15% of the people who said they aren’t comfortable with location tracking apps noted lack of privacy as their concern. Approximately a third of these users prefer complete privacy and 52% said they did not feel safe using location-tracking apps. Among their concerns is the fact that hackers could discover their exact locations—their children in particular. Additionally, men are more comfortable sharing their location compared to women; on dating apps 35% of men feel safe sharing their location on dating apps, while only 16% of women are comfortable doing so on the same apps.

However, location data’s security depends on the app that’s collecting it, according to The Manifest.

“It depends on how you’re coding the application,” Sudeep Srivastava, CEO of Appinventiv, a mobile app development company told The Manifest. “If you’re tracking the live location of the user and you’re not storing it securely, then it can be hacked.”

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