New smarter Wi-Fi systems can give owners better returns on their investments by offering enhanced features to users and providing valuable information to operators.
When conference, events and entertainment venue Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) first opened its doors in 1984, the public internet was a decade away, and wireless communications on the mass scale the venue’s visitors now take for granted were science fantasy. The multi-purpose venue features four main auditoria, and has the largest licensed visitor capacity – 10,000 – of any venue on Britain’s south coast.
BIC has just undergone a major connectivity upgrade to both its wired and wireless communications infrastructure. The venue contracted WiFi SPARK to design, install and deploy the new networks with total WiFi (and wired) coverage throughout its 6,982 square metres of enclosed space.
With users as diverse as Olly Murs fans and party conference delegates, BIC’s WiFi network operations must meet the expectations of basic usage, but also enable value-added revenue opportunities in its own right. Bold would be the event venue that attempted to charge visitors for basic WiFi access, but smart WiFi now enables venues to recover some of that cost with value-added services based on WiFi innovations.
This means that while BIC clients such as exhibitors, concert organisers and broadcasters can use the free visitor wireless broadband access, if they require a dedicated connection there’s a charge. For this the SSID name is branded as the exhibitor, and the bandwidth is higher, to allow for more feature-rich connectivity.
Additional SSIDs for ticket scanners, point-of-sale systems and venue clients can be provisioned. Depending on the requirements of an event, different SSIDs are also available in different parts of the venue. Data collected from a User Experience Portal is fed into WiFi SPARK’s analytics platform so that the venue team can view graphs of anonymised network and device usage, such as new and returning visitors, plus additional insights to help them build and enhance their business intelligence.
“[This] information can be used to identify customer spikes,” says Cee Chan, IT manager at BH Live, BIC’s operator. “This can help maximise on venue peaks and troughs, which in turn helps [planning] for future events.”
CREDIT: E&T Magazine
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