According to The Nikkei Asian Review, ad agency Dentsu and others will collect and analyse information on foreign visitors and their movements in Japan via smartphone, aiming to sell the resulting intelligence to businesses and municipalities.
Data will be obtained through a Navitime Japan smartphone app that offers foreigners GPS-based navigation as well as information on sightseeing spots and public transportation routes. A calendar-organizer app from fellow Tokyo startup Jorte will also be used. Data will cover nationality, gender, where visitors stay in Japan, and what locations they visit via what routes.
Navitime's app logs user locations hourly. This will let the new service provide data on the number of visitors in a particular area at a given time, with hour-by-hour changes. The service will also be able to show routes popular among foreigners for moving between two locations, such as Tokyo and the popular tourist destination of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Jorte's app has a push function for targeting handsets that meet particular criteria. A store in Tokyo's Shibuya district could distribute Chinese-language digital coupons exclusively to Chinese nationals nearby, for example.
The service is slated to launch in early August and will likely cost roughly 3 million yen (US$29,750) for a basic package providing such data as foreign visitors' demographics and movements. More detailed analysis and data will cost extra.
The partners also include Blogwatcher, a Tokyo startup that specializes in marketing solutions using data on individuals' internet histories.
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