Heads Up, Phones Down!

A Look Behind the Scenes of Public Space Wi-Fi

Tim Allen

It’s been a little while since my last article, giving me some time to think about our “constantly connected world” and the interesting changes new technologies have brought to our daily lives (not to mention affecting my own behavior, possibly to my detriment).

As an example, I enjoy going to sporting events with my family. But in recent years, they’ve become annoyed at my interest in public space Wi-Fi coverage. They find me evaluating coverage and responsiveness while we’re supposed to be enjoying a night out at the game. I’m that guy facing away from the event, looking at Access Point (AP) placement and antenna positioning. This is probably not the best activity to indulge in at spectator sports, especially ones that have the potential for balls and pucks to fly into the stands. I agree with my loved ones – the behavior probably needs to be curtailed.

But where my family and friends see an annoying (and possible dangerous) behavior, I see incredible technology at work. I’m amazed at the potential analytical data that can be captured by Wi-Fi to measure fan experience and behaviors. It takes connectivity to a new level, with valuable services that can be provided to employees and customers. And it’s not just at the arena, either! This is a growing trend that supports traditional business needs – including retail, financial, and healthcare organizations. Look around when you’re out and about in a public space. I’m sure you’ll start noticing networking infrastructure everywhere.

Fortunately, my fascination with networking and its impact on our behavior has some upsides – most notably at work. At Connection, we’re not just discussing stadium Wi-Fi with our customers. We’re having conversations with all types of clients who are looking at building new Wi-Fi experience for their employees, visitors, or customers – and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make a successful Wi-Fi solution happen. There are design conversations that have to address a wide variety of issues in addition to the core requirements of the users who actually need connectivity. This often requires some extra conversations to chat with the user teams and get their input to ensure there is fuller understanding by the clients IT organization. So the next time you get a strong Wi-Fi signal in a public space, take a minute and think about all the conversations that made it possible. Just be sure to keep an eye out for flying pucks.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our TD Garden Case Study. It has a lot of good insight into everything that goes into building all types of wireless solutions. And, of course, tell us about your projects – we want to hear from you!