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HP unveils creepy app that stalks people as they shop

App enables retailers to send targeted adverts to customers

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Hewlett Packard has unveiled a new mobile app that retailers can use to stalk people as they shop in order to send them targeted adverts and promotions. 

The iOS app, dubbed SmartShopper and unveiled at the Interop conference in Las Vegas today, has the ability to send location-based smartphone offers to customer’s iPhones in real time.

It is being promoted by Meg Whitman’s HP as a way for retailers to monetise their networks and a way to build “tighter relationships with their customers”.

Dominic Wilde, a VP within HP’s networking division, told Techworld in California last week: “It has very accurate location capabilities so that we can identify a device down to 2m, which is 60 percent better than anything else on the market today. In best case, even down to 1m.”

HP said it has been in discussions with a number of retailers that are interested in using the app but it was unable to specify who they are. 

Wilde said the application could also be used by museums looking to push paid-for audio and video content to visitor’s devices as they navigate their way round an exhibition. 

SmartShopper is underpinned by HP’s Location Aware software defined network (SDN) application, also unveiled today, which is powered by technology developed at HP Labs, the company’s central research arm.  

HP said the Location Aware application is designed to help businesses transform their wireless LAN infrastructure into revenue-generating vehicles.

HP isn't the only company looking to track people with location-based technologies. Last August, a company called Renew was asked to stop using its sophisticated recycling bins to track people in London's Square Mile by the City of London Corporation. 


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