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Rules for free public Wi-Fi

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For many, free public Wi-Fi access has become more of a necessity than a luxury. But, in order for it to benefit the user it has to be deployed correctly. ANDRE BEZUIDENHOUT offers eight best practices for setting up public Wi-Fi.

As the rollout of Wi-Fi in public spaces increases, so too does the necessity to deploy it correctly. Whether it be a Wi-Fi network in an airport, restaurant, mall or even in a taxi, if implemented correctly, it can provide invaluable insights of one’s customers and also the opportunity to deliver targeted and relevant advertising.

Here are Ctrlroom’s eight best practice facts for Wi-Fi in a public space:

– There are four broad requirements for the deployment of a Wi-Fi network: technology, design, management and support, and reporting/analytics. It needs to be an end-to-end solution.

– The operational cost of Wi-Fi network deployments is costly therefore budget needs to be allocated for the enablement, support and security of the network.

– It is important to identify viable revenue streams, such as targeted advertising to cover the cost of setting up a public Wi-Fi network.

– User interface needs to be simplified and easy to use. If a user finds it complicated and unintuitive to register or login to the network, he/she will not use it.

– Consumer awareness and marketing are pivotal to the success of a public Wi-Fi network. The users need to know it is available and what it entails.

– Public Wi-Fi needs to offer value and enrich the user experience. Offering ten megabytes, for example, is not going to allow the user to do much, nor will it provide any interesting insights of his/her browsing trends.

– Free Wi-Fi needs to be free – not free by a technical definition.

– It needs to meet the business’s objective. Ultimately, the business needs to decide what it wants to gain from a Wi-Fi network before deployment.

* Andre Bezuidenhout is the CEO of Ctrlroom

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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