Wi-Fi: a new, powerful communication channel for public venues
At a time when the electronic “0s” and “1s” have taken over, by storm, the very heartbeat of society, any new technological innovation represents a significant source of additional value. As Wi-Fi is undergoing its own transformation, it stands as a digital transformation media for users, brands and public venues. Mass marketing no longer holds the reins, but is surely and steadily being replaced by targeted, well executed and attention-capturing campaigns. Data capture and processing through Wi-Fi makes it a key tool with which to bind a proximity relationship focused on the consumer. Thus, it is now high time to promote offerings that are in tune with actual needs and which can capitalize on proximity from a relationship and geographical standpoints.
Wi-Fi: a 2.0 attractiveness tool
Today, the affordability of hotspots has rendered the once-scarce facility into becoming quite commonplace across public venues. This new communication channel is a treasure chest for anyone operating such venues, be it a museum, a stadium or even a city. As users connect to a captive portal through social login and gain access to the Wi-Fi service, public venues can, in the background, collect relevant data to provide their audience with personalized services. Yet, because mobile 4G access has also turned pervasive today, venues must make Wi-Fi access the preferred mode of connection. And this is achieved only if Wi-Fi can provide valued and value-added services, other than the traditional, mundane online access.
Wi-Fi can, therefore, deliver an experience that 4G does not offer, based, for example, on videos and slow motion replays of a sport event in a stadium, or an animated content during a concert. The whole idea is to attract the user by delivering appropriate content, using Wi-Fi as a means to influence his journey. In such case, Wi-Fi becomes an integral channel which, from a technical standpoint, delivers a siloed environment.
Today, for events such as a conference in a trade show, organizers often use email as the media to connect with participants. Meanwhile, if email is available on smartphones, it does not represent the best way to grab the attention of users. Wi-Fi provides an alternate, sound possibility: the user simply needs to be online for organizers to push through consistent information. With Wi-Fi, the user’s smartphone becomes a personal assistant delivering notifications that are more attractive.
Wi-Fi can be leveraged as a communication tool for the masses by museums, stadiums, festival organizers, smart cities and even airports. Because Wi-Fi can provide location-based services, as well as heat maps and geofencing services, crowd movement can be managed, and premium services, such as a line-breaker, can be provided to those willing to avoid endless queues.
Entertainment venues face their own specific issues. They need to capture an audience to attend events with paid admission, even though attending such events may be free through TV for sports events or live streaming for concerts. By offering a unique and immersive experience, Wi-Fi is a way to legitimate the entry fee.
This is a powerful digital media because the Wi-Fi infrastructure already exists. In France, for example, there are more that 23 million hotspots in existence as of 2017-end, according to Ipass . The numbers are quite stratospheric in any country, yet insufficiently leveraged: many public venues do not provide value-added service based on Wi-Fi, and those services, in turn, remain relatively unreachable to consumers.
Entertainment venues have everything to gain from communicating via the Wi-Fi experience they can offer. Making such services more affordable will only help improve these types of services: as more users hookup online, the more data is collected, and the venues generate value from the personalized services that they offer. An improved knowledge of an audience is a great way to create value from the network, but it all starts with giving the user a very good reason to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
Public venues have started delivering a Wi-Fi service because their counterparts did so. Today, the tables have turned: Wi-Fi is pervasive and considered to be no more than a commodity. Yet, services delivered through Wi-Fi can be seen as key assets. It is, therefore, even more critical to make Wi-Fi part of a global digital strategy, and to track related performances so as to adapt to changes and tackle new upcoming challenges.