Devicescape is adding deeper levels of intelligence to its curated virtual network of more than 20 million hotspots. The WiFi operator announced a new suite of services Thursday that it says will help carriers make more of their offload networks.
Devicescape Software Inc. has built up its network of WiFi hotspots in retail outlets, coffee shops, and venues throughout the world that it connects users to through an app that scans for the best connection. It then partners with network operators, offering them access to its aggregated network and giving them -- as well as the retailers -- ways to monetize the access points they have in place. (See Top 10 Carrier WiFi Movers & Shakers.)
CMO David Nowicki says the goal of the new services is to move operators away from thinking of cellular versus WiFi to thinking of simple connectivity, regardless of the network, by making both equally as valuable. The new platform has three pillars: access, engagement, and insight.
Devicescape's Adaptive Network Selection service, built around operator policies and consumer preferences, selects the best network based on the current conditions and the user's pricing plan. Nowicki says most operators are now looking for ways to drive more traffic to WiFi, which is a change from their typical second-choice approach. (See Devicescape Targets 100M Hotspots By 2017.)
Devicescape's main WiFi play is in amenity hotspots, indoor access points provided by retail outlets and businesses. These companies often want to interact with the customers, target them with marketing and promotions, conduct surveys, and create a community feel around their store. Devicescape is enabling this with Popwifi, which it has been trialing in the US for the past year. In the trials, he says, owners are seeing an 8% click-through rate, in which 8% of their customers are engaging with their messaging. (See The Changing Face of 'Amenity WiFi' .)
Nowicki says the service, now commercial, will be in millions of venues and on millions of handsets by the end of the year. "That's a big step for us to move from thousands to tens of thousands to millions in terms of how many people have access to the software and how many venues have it on there," he says.
This is where things get interesting for carriers looking to make more of their WiFi offload networks. Devicescape will provide detailed user analytics on what consumers are doing on WiFi, where they are connecting, and how the network is performing.
"We give them insights into what the users are doing and give them an actual big-data feed, which allows them to understand where people are connecting and look at patterns and watch things over days and months," Nowicki says, adding that this is what they do on cellular already, but haven't had the ability over WiFi.
Nowicki says the entire suite of services is already in use by a Tier 1 operator, which the company will be announcing next week. And both will be showing off the services this month at Mobile World Congress. (See Mobile World Congress: Our Key Players.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading