Local wireless service provider Skyrove today announced that it is spinning off a new company – Viento. Viento is a services company that will provide analytics and hyper-local services to hospitality and retail customers. This spin-off will allow the new company to specialise in this emerging sector, while enabling Skyrove to focus on its core operations of prepaid internet access and branded hotspots.
Using a software layer that can be implemented on many networks, Viento provides insights to businesses about consumer behaviour. Viento uses hardware and software from partner companies to provide services such as personalised digital marketing and advertising. For example, consumers can receive individualised coupons and offers on their smartphones when they walk into a favourite shop if the retailer is using a solution from Viento.
Says Viento CEO Ellie Hagopian: “Wi-Fi is a communications medium that can do a lot more than just provide internet access. More and more people carry their smartphones with them everywhere they go, and with the right tools, businesses and consumers can understand and communicate with each other better. Done right, this enables authentic communication; done wrong, it’s smartphone spam.”
Because this is an issue that is intimately tied in with consumer privacy, and because this is not at all well understood from a mobile phone point of view, Viento will be launching a consumer education campaign highlighting the privacy and security considerations involved in these types of services.
Says Hagopian: “The sort of tracking and profiling that is done online can also be done in the real world. It’s an ethically sensitive area, and if you betray your consumers’ trust just once you will never get it back. Consumers must understand if their movement or buying behaviour is being tracked, why it’s being tracked, and they must be able to control the entire process: up to and including full opt-out.”
The campaign will include information based on worldwide best practices, and detail how South African businesses can apply the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act into personalised marketing.
The company will be based in Johannesburg and Cape Town and provide services country-wide.
Ross van der Pas, former technical manager at Skyrove, and more recently co-founder at IT managed solutions company JuiceIT, will be taking over as Skyrove CEO. Van der Pas makes his return to Skyrove with great excitement and expectation: “I believe Skyrove is an innovative company, staffed by a dedicated and talented team. I am looking forward to growing with the company and seeing Skyrove become the leading Wi-Fi provider in Southern Africa. ”