A new system allowing supermarkets to track the movement of potential customers by tracing their mobile signals was launched this week.

The Smart Steps system, developed by Telefónica Dynamic Insights, gives users the ability to trace the movement of crowds of people in real time on Google Maps. While the system, now being trialled by six UK high-street retailers including supermarkets, does not allow the tracking of individuals, it does allow crowds to be analysed by age and sex.

“This is about understanding how your store is performing and tailoring things like promotions and staff allocation,” said said Steve Alder, Telefónica Dynamic Insights CEO.