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Public WiFi – What’s all the fuss about?

You may have heard a lot of talk in the media recently about Public WiFi – it’s taking off at a serious rate of knots across the globe! It is becoming common place for cities, councils and regional organisations to┬álaunch their own Public WiFi networks, providing free or cheap access to fast internet.

But what is Public WiFi all about really? And how can it benefit you?

The answer is – in many different and equally valuable ways!

For starters (and most obviously), it provides access to the internet for locals and tourists alike – so they don’t have to use their precious mobile data. Whether the service is free, comes at a cost, or a combination of both – tourists in particular are desperate to get access to WiFi so that they don’t have to use expensive roaming data.

Secondly, once users are connected to the Public WiFi, this presents an opportunity to provide them with all sorts of information. Using clever technology, users can be routed through a portal that contains a number of advertisements about the local business in the area they are visiting. They could also have ads on normal webpages they browse to replaced with more relevant ads from local businesses. This useful information can heavily influence the buying decisions of tourists in particular, and can mean the difference between them deciding to stay somewhere for a length of time – or move on because they haven’t found anything of interest there!

The next step beyond traditional advertising is to make that advertising more targeted. Imagine if you were walking past an ice-creamery on a warm day, and all of a sudden you receive an SMS on your phone: ‘Ice cream special: show this message to get a double scoop at the price of a single!’

How is that possible you may ask?! Well, using a combination of user registration (when signing up for Public WiFi) and Location Based Services – it is possible to track the location of a mobile and send targeted messages to it based on its location. Product specials, local events and much more.

Isn’t that just going to irritate people? Well, for locals perhaps – but locals don’t tend to use Public WiFi networks anywhere near as much as tourists do. And tourists actually want to receive this sort of information! They’re looking for advice on what/where/how to spend their time and money! By providing them with Public WiFi access and then overlaying targeted and useful advertising, tourists are likely to spend more, and spend more time in the local area – a massive win for the local economy!

So if your local city or region is looking at implementing a Public WiFi network, get behind it – the benefits for all are significant!


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