|Macy's at the Mall at University Town Center|
The company's chief technology officer Michael Osment shared in a column for research company Realcomm Conference Group that the Mall at UTC will be one of the company's "smart malls."
Shoppers will have touchscreen directories in the mall that give GPS-like directions on how to get to a store from your current location in the mall, Osment wrote:
"The value of this approach has already been demonstrated as we prepare to open the new Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla. A big advantage is the ability to postpone technology decisions until late in the development cycle. This allowed time to make a firm decision for the digital directory approach until the technology matured; we will be able to incorporate state of the art touchscreen directories with built in way-finding for shoppers rather than settling for what was available when the development began almost three years ago. Think of this as being like your GPS: you put in your destination and it shows you the route from your location on a map. Having the Smart Mall infrastructure already in the plans made postponement of the technology decision possible without adding risk to the overall project."
The mall, which opens Oct. 16, will also provide free basic Internet for tenants, free WiFi for customers and Taubman officials previously announced that they were working on a way for customers to call ahead or maybe even use an app to have their valet car ready before customers head to the exit.
Osment also added that Taubman is testing more ways to use location-based technology along with low energy Bluetooth, or Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth Smart, to add to the shopping experience.
Computer manufacturer Dell wrote about what Bluetooth LE could mean for retail in a post earlier this year, saying that the technology could alert shoppers of a sale on umbrellas if it's raining outside, or pull up your order or request as soon as you approach the store. Companies like American Eagle Outfitters and Macy's -- both which will be in the new mall -- are rolling out Bluetooth Smart beacons in stores, Dell's Nick Clunn added.
Whether shoppers will use and trust the technology and security remains to be seen.