New high-tech shopping tool unveiled in Edmonton

EDMONTON – A new feature at Southgate Centre is connecting shoppers with coupons, contests, and more through a single tap of their smartphone.

The technology is called NFC, or Near Field Communications, and can be found at the digital directory, right as customers enter the mall.

The steps are simple:

Following them takes shoppers to a mobile landing page.

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“From here, they’re able to enter contests and get exclusive coupons to retailers, see Christmas news and what’s going on in the mall,” explained Visio Media’s Nicolette Leonardis.

She says the technology has been around for at least a decade, but it’s the first time it’s being used this way in Edmonton.

“We just want to make shopping easier and just give that added value for people who are coming to the mall.”

Since Apple products don’t have NFC capability, a QR code has been added to the kiosks to allow iPhone users to scan it and still access the same coupons and contests.

When it comes to privacy concerns, Leonardis said Visio Media doesn’t capture any personal information from smartphones; it only notes the date, time, and type of device that was used.

While security consultant Brad Haines isn’t too concerned about this NFC use, he warns consumers to only tap their phone to codes or sources they trust, especially as this technology becomes more prevalent.

He compares it to taking candy from a stranger.

“Clicking on a link to a website that you don’t know where it’s taking you, or what it’s going to do until you get there…it’s a buyer beware situation.”

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With files from Julie Matthews, Global News

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