WiFi SPARK has been providing guest access WiFi and more for over 15 years. Working closely with the NHS, local governments, large public spaces and retail centres, the SPARK® solution has revolutionised what companies can offer their visitors. It was back in 2003 however, that the company began working with its first marina port site and first customer altogether, Marina Developments Ltd (MDL), based in Southampton. Since then, MDL has only grown and one member of the WiFi SPARK team has been there every step of the way.
Oliver Malkin, one of WiFi SPARK’s Product Managers, saw the inception of the WiFi SPARK solution across all MDL’s UK marinas when he began his WiFi SPARK journey. The original installation provided MDL Berth Holders free WiFi from the comfort of their boat. Accessible through a completely customisable and branded portal, berth holders and visitors would sign in with their account details as provided by MDL. This ensured only those who docked at the marina and visitors would be able to access it free of charge. There was also a pay-to-use service for anyone else requiring the use of the solution.
The solution elevated the experience MDL were able to offer their berth holders, as after authentication they could navigate to the MDL website, read about key marina events and information, or contact one of the MDL team.
WiFi SPARK continues to innovate and encourages their clients to innovate along with them. Whilst there was no need for any enormous changes at MDL, WiFi SPARK was able to elevate their User Experience going in to 2021, ready for MDL to welcome their members back as COVID restrictions began to be lifted.
Just as he had done as a new addition to WiFi SPARK, in early 2021 Oliver Malkin began upgrading the MDL package in collaboration with MDL and Acteol.
Redesigning and updating the User Experience, Oliver and his team introduced a Single Sign On (SSO) addition to the portal. A feature that dominates in the transport sector, SSO is effectively used in WiFi SPARK applications in the UK rail industry to make for a Continuously Connected Passenger Journey across stations and trains.
In MDL’s use case, users are greeted with the branded User Experience upon connecting to the WiFi. From here, the user is asked to enter their MDL credentials. WiFi SPARK’s SSO functionality verifies account details of the user against MDL’s centrally managed database of users. This database includes both visitors to the marina and berth holders. The database is used to control access to a number of services provided by MDL which now includes the WiFi service. Berth holders and visitors only need to enter their credentials once on each device. Each account can support up to five concurrent devices on the WiFi as well ensuring that they are swiftly onboarded when they next return. Previously, members would have had to sign in each day. This single sign on technology not only creates an ease of access for MDL members, but encourages a longer dwell time and presents a more experiential WiFi experience that aligns with the premium offerings of the rest of the business.
Non MDL members or users that simply haven’t got their account details to hand, can also benefit from a temporary session of 30 minutes per day.
For MDL, WiFi SPARK has added immense value to what is often considered an end user benefit only provision: WiFi. From the solution, MDL can have data fed back to their CRM where information is articulated on matters such as how often members visit and when their session begins and ends, allowing them to better understand the movements of the marina in real time.
Oliver Malkin has been a part of the MDL/WiFi SPARK journey from the beginning and notes that it has been a “pleasure to work on this project,” adding value to the WiFi for “one of the largest marina operating companies in Europe” and their customers.
The idea for WiFi SPARK came when CEO Matt O’Donovan questioned how he could implement a product suite that could provide an entirely managed WiFi solution to the marina in Torquay where he kept his boat. O’Donovan needed a reliable WiFi connection, saw an opportunity and a company was born. It is because of this that nurturing relationships and encouraging innovation in marinas is so important for WiFi SPARK, and although its work with MDL does not display the breadth of the WiFi SPARK product suite, it remains a perfect fit for MDL’s needs and the needs of their members.
If you would like to see how you can get more out of your WiFi with WiFi SPARK, visit our website today.