SMRT MSA Deep Dive

The MEXIA Mobile Signal Analytics (MSA) embedded on our SMRT Sensor is the only system on the market to truly offer Curb-to-Gate analytics. This means from the time a device enters the airport until it departs on an plane, MEXIA ensures that we provide accurate reporting on passenger footpath, dwell times in specific zones, destination based shopping/eating patterns and more. There is simply no other system on the market that can provide this level of analytics with the accuracy, consistency and reliability that MEXIA can.

From a competitive standpoint, other systems use point-to-point measurements to attempt to provide this level of reporting. It is simply not possible that these systems can achieve this level of accuracy and detail due to the technology being used and the absolute lack of control over every aspect required.

Mobile location analytics can be a confusing technology to understand. In addition, the over-promotion/under-delivering of the use of existing WiFi AP’s adds to the levels of confusion.

For clarity, it is important to note that MEXIA’s SMRT MSA does not require any action from the device such as downloading a mobile App or connecting to a WiFi system. Why is this important?

  1.  Analytics based on mobile App usage will only provide data on at best 5% of the passengers within the airport. The rate of downloads of airport mobile Apps is exceedingly low  and not increasing due to a perceived lack of value by passengers.
  2.  The percentage of PAX that will connect to WiFi can reach 10-15% in some cases. The issue with using this for analytics is that the most common time in which people to connect to the WiFI is when they are static and in one area (F&B, Gates, central waiting area). It is in these instances that the penetration rates will grow, but the analytical value of this data is limited as they are not moving throughout the airport- so the Curb-to-Gate reporting needed to improve the PAX experience is not provided.

MEXIA’s SMRT MSA ensures that we absolutely report on complete Curb-to-Gate movements of PAX based on a device simply having WiFi turned on. We have proven and demonstrated that we report on 65-75% of PAX in installations around the world.

Fact: Mobile signal analytics is done via the collection of anonymous Wi-Fi or Bluetooth ‘pings’ as they search for a connection to a device or an access point. These ‘pings’ are sent from devices at varying rates of frequency that range from 45 seconds to 5 minutes.


When an access point (AP) ‘hears’ a ‘ping’ it can register this data that it ‘collects’ in the air and use this data, when combined with the data from the next ‘ping’, to determine a general location and direction of travel of the device (being carried by a person). The core issue with this is that general access points were not designed for this functionality and do not have the appropriate antennas or any software for doing this. Yes, it works in general, but it does not work well. Think of it as a car. It has reverse and it goes in reverse, but it was not designed to drive long distances and at high speeds in reverse. It is a function the car can do, at a basic level for doing basic things. This may be disputed by others within the mobile signal analytics arena, but the people who really know, agree. One of those is Google.

Items that are out of the control of companies that promote this type of analytic and reporting are the antennas used in AP’s

Presence Analytics VS Positioning Analytics

In Presence Analytics, existing AP’s can be used for mobile signal analytics that can be used to generally provide data such as whether a device was in an area- but not for how long since. If using any point-to-point system, it will not know anything until it ‘hears’ another ping and if another AP is passed by before a ping is sent out, the data collected is virtually worthless. Even though this data is of no use, unfortunately it is used by others to try and determine things like wait times, store dwells, pass-by versus walk-in traffic, etc. There is no actionable data and the accuracy range of 25-50 meters (75-150 feet) does not provide the type of results that can drive real time Queue time staffing, check-out counter openings or additional staffing requirements. Essentially, this data can only be used to let you know that a device was in the general vicinity, but you do not know if the person walked by, came in, dwelled in a store or department or if the signal obtained was an errant one.

We call this “Presence” analytics. It can work in certain very general circumstances, but it has many gaps.


Essentially, MEXIA has engineered our MSA to replicate what outdoor satellites do in terms of locating devices and providing X, Y, Z coordinates on a consistent and reliable basis.

We can this “Positioning” analytics. It is the true and accurate way to Understand patterns and behaviours of consumers in your location, in the same way that you would do this on your websites.

Mexia has specific and proprietary software and algorithms so that this issue does not affect the data we collect or the accuracy of this data. We are more than happy to speak to this and demonstrate this proven method with potential clients. This allows us to report on items such as visitor frequency and true dwell time due to our military background engineering. We have had extremely knowledgeable and experienced tech-experts call us out on this, and each time we have proven our methods not only work, but are truly industry-leading.

If you are using or looking at a system that cannot answer this question or if they ‘ignore it’, then please contact us so we can answer your questions. Don’t make a decision to invest in something that has fundamental flaws in it.

We take personal privacy more than just seriously. Mexia was a founding member of industry companies to work with the Future of Privacy Forum in Washington, DC on the Code of Conduct for the industry. Based on this and our practices that go beyond the Code of Conduct, our President, Glenn Tinley has been invited to speak on FTC panels, privacy forums, and at conferences for the wireless industry (CTIA). In addition, because our SMRT Sensor HUB is installed in locations around the world, we have been vetted by government and privacy managers in multiple countries. Truly MEXIA is not only an industry leader for business, but also a privacy leader for consumers.

Simple facts about privacy:

  1. We do not use the data we collect to in anyway connect this to an individual. We only report on aggregated data, not individual devices.
  2. We hash all MAC addresses to an encryption level known as SHA-2 which is the same level of encryption that financial institutions use to transmit credit card and other financial data from across the internet.
  3. We do not share any data between clients. This means that we do not build a profile of a device (person) across locations, unless our client has multiple locations and this reporting on multi-store visits is part of what they are seeking.
  4. We do not rent, sell, borrow, trade, barter or lend our data to any other third party. We are not in the business of profiting from selling device location data. We are in the business of helping our clients improve the passenger and consumer experience and Understand what is happening when people are there so they can make this smoother, better and at some point more personal (using other technologies and Platforms- that coincidentally are included with the SMRT HUB.