Your customers’ privacy is a priority for your business. It’s likely that another priority is delivering an excellent customer experience. In an age of mobile-first design, multi-channel communications and hyper-personalization, how can we ensure we are delivering on both priorities without compromising the other? About half of your smartphone-carrying customers will have noticed some privacy changes on their iPhones when Apple released the iOS 14 update. Some of these changes, like MAC address randomization, aren’t actually that noticeable to consumers, but they can impact customer experience design. Fortunately protecting user privacy and delivering fluid, frictionless customer experiences don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

What is MAC address randomization?

A MAC address is a device identification number that uniquely identifies a device on a network. A device’s MAC address used to remain constant throughout the lifespan of the device, no matter which Wi-Fi network it was connected to. Now, iOS14 and MacOS Big Sur randomize MAC addresses for each unique Wi-Fi network.

How are Local Measure customer Wi-Fi portals affected?

The good news is that there is little effect on your customer journeys. For a customer arriving at a hotel lobby or retail store for the first time – nothing changes. The customer is unknown to the business and when they attempt to join the customer Wi-Fi network they will be asked to sign on with their email address. 

But what about return customers? An important point to remember is that a randomized MAC address will remain the same for a given SSID (network). That means that as a customer’s device attempts to re-join a network, they will not need to re-enter their details. If you have multiple locations with different wireless SSID names then customers would be asked to re-authenticate if they visit another location for the first time. You can avoid this scenario and have customers be automatically authenticated when they visit one of your other locations for the first time by making all of your location SSID names the same.

What about customer profiles and analytics?

One of the major benefits to having Local Measure Wi-Fi is that customer profiles are linked to unique email addresses. Therefore, providing that a customer signs into your Wi-Fi using the same log-in details, you will still be able to utilize customer information to identify, understand, engage with and tailor experiences for customers in the same way as you have done prior to the changes. Businesses who use Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi can read about how location analytics have changed and things they can do to minimize impact.

It has become clear that in order to create experiences that customers want, technology providers must first ensure customers are able to control what information is shared about them. By allowing for customer-control and transparency, businesses can build customer trust and begin to nurture genuine relationships.