Curated Spot Check: Warsaw, Poland

Posted on July 22, 2013

Devicescape’s Curated Spot Check team recently visited Poland to conduct an on-the-ground assessment of amenity Wi-Fi in historic Warsaw. With nearly  40 million people, Poland is one of the European Union’s biggest countries and a great beacon for Eastern Europe. The team assessed Wi-Fi availability, attitudes, and quality throughout the city—from global restaurant chains to local businesses and tourist locations such as the Old Town Square. Here are some of the highlights: Both indoor and outdoor hotspots are in abundance. Tens of thousands of hotspots were verified across a small sub-section of the city center. Amenity Wi-Fi is a well-established component of the city’s modern business infrastructure—both password-based and the more consumer-friendly, password-free variety—at  large multinational brands, smaller independent retailers, hotels, and at cultural locations. Public and private outdoor hotspots are fast emerging. For example, in recent years, Warsaw’s city government blanketed the city center with Wi-Fi, including the popular Royal Route, which begins at Warsaw’s Castle Square, runs south down the stately Krakowskie Przedmieście, and continues through the swanky Nowy Świat area. The Wi-Fi system is highlighted by “hotspot” street signs. Many of the city center businesses seem to rely on using this system, even though the signal quality…

Taking Curation to the Streets

Posted on July 17, 2013

In our curation of the world’s largest virtual network of Wi-Fi hotspots, we constantly refine Devicescape’s machine-learning algorithms to ensure that they perform optimally not only in the aggregate but also at the local city and street level. The ultimate form of local curation is what we call a “Curated Spot Check.” The Curated Spot Check process includes our QA team doing an on-the-ground assessment of the local Wi-Fi environment, and our marketing team conducting primary market research to evaluate the local views of venue owners and end-users. The Devicescape team compiles their research and fuses the local learnings back into our Curator Service for service providers and PopWiFi proximity marketing offering for venue owners. As we observe different cities around the world, we see two constants: an abundance of smartphones and a plethora of Wi-Fi networks. IDC reports that manufacturers will ship 918 million smartphones this year, which will account for 50% of all mobile phone shipments worldwide. As smartphone penetration continues to gather pace in global markets, more and more local residents, business travellers, and tourists will want to stay connected wherever they are―and often that means seeking out low-cost Wi-Fi. Venue owners increasingly deploy Wi-Fi in public…

HetNets: The Case For Amenity Wi-Fi

Posted on June 18, 2013

Everybody using a smartphone knows that as more and more people are added to the networks, and more and more applications come online, each with increasing bandwidth demands, the performance they individually see from the mobile network drops. My own personal experience here in the SF bay area has shown that LTE has dropped from a consistent 25-30 Mbps when I first got an LTE handset, to around 15 Mbps today. The spectrum available for these networks is limited, so adding more people into a given geographic area means less for each user. Solutions The industry is talking about a number of solutions to this issue, and it is very likely that there will not be just one solution, but rather that a combination of different approaches will be needed. The most commonly talked about options are: Additional Spectrum – There is continued pressure on governments to make more RF spectrum available for mobile operators to license. Small Cells – The addition of capacity within the area of a macro cell to either improve performance at the edges of the macro coverage, or to ease pain points, such as in train stations or shopping malls where the user density increases….

Flash Wireless Selects Devicescape's Wi-Fi Offload Service

Posted on January 23, 2013

Upstart MVNO, Flash Wireless has selected Devicescape’s Wi-Fi offload service to complement its growing network.  Flash subscribers will be able to automatically access Devicescape’s Curated Virtual Network of over 12 million hotspots while maintaining a quality connection and keeping data costs down. You can read more details of the partnership between Flash Wireless and Devicescape in the official press announcement HERE.  

The Influence of Retail Wi-Fi During the Holidays

Posted on December 20, 2012

With the holidays on the horizon, shopping and retail traffic is predictably on the rise and is expected to continue, at least through the new year.  This is a time when retailers large and small entice shoppers by offering incentives to get them in the doors and making purchases.  Here in the United States, the shopping frenzy typically begins after the Thanksgiving holiday, or what Americans refer to as “Black Friday.”  Elsewhere around the world, the holiday buying rush begins around the same time.  The influx of traffic gives retailers a valuable opportunity to reach their consumers, not just through traditional in-store means such as signage and other gimmicks, but through the use of technology, and more specifically, in-store Wi-Fi. Devicescape, through its Curated Virtual Network, is able to monitor millions of public hotspots around the world, including these amenity-based retail hotspots.  In fact, last year we wrote a couple blog posts about the impact of Wi-Fi at selected retailers around the holiday shopping season. Take a look at our posts on the topic, one written by myself and the other penned by Devicescape Chief Technology Officer John Gordon: What Black Friday means to the Wi-Fi world Black Friday: The…

iPad Mini

Posted on October 23, 2012

Earlier today Apple announced its long expected entry in to the smaller tablet market. With an almost 8″ screen size, the screen space is larger than the obvious competition (Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices and Google’s Nexus 7), and that matters with a device primarily used for consuming media. But, it is also a fair bit more expensive than those other offerings, especially if you are thinking of springing for the dual radio Wi-Fi + 4G LTE version. Free Wi-Fi But wait, why would you pay an extra $130 for that cellular radio when free Wi-Fi is appearing everywhere? Don’t believe me? Look around. In the last 10 months we have seen free Wi-Fi come online at more and more venues. Early on, the trend setters outside of the cafe/restaurant space were Macy’s, Home Depot, Nordstom and Staples all showing strong usage on Black Friday last year. Now that list has grown to include Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Saks Fifth Ave, Pacific Sunwear, Kohls, Winn-Dixie, Krogers and Office Depot to name a few from the top of our daily connections list. Several of the large mall owners are also offering free Wi-Fi throughout their facility, allowing you to remain connected to…

U.S. Cellular Selects Devicescape’s WiFi Offload Services

Posted on September 13, 2012

It’s another win, not just for Devicescape and U.S. Cellular but for the industry and the operator’s subscriber base.  This partnership aims at improving the overall subscriber experience while complementing the current network of U.S. Cellular. Read more about the announcement HERE.

Everybody wins with WiFi

Posted on July 24, 2012

We at Devicescape encounter many questions about our solution and more specifically our Curated Virtual Network of public WiFi hotspots.  It’s understandable given the fact that WiFi offload is a relatively new solution for the wireless industry.  And from a consumer perspective, the understanding of WiFi is rather limited in scope.  Most people tend to think that WiFi is only available at work or in your home or in selected establishments like coffee shops and universities.  That is only the tip of the iceberg.  It’s everywhere. After attending many tradeshows and conferences related to WiFi and the telecom industry as well as participating in many media inquiries, I believe the most common question asked to Devicescape is, “How do you collect and assemble the WiFi in your network?”  And of course the follow up question is always along the lines of “Are you inappropriately using someone else’s WiFi connection?” Believe it or not, the second question is the easier one to answer and that is “No”.  We are not inappropriately using or stealing anybody’s WiFi.  All the WiFi in our CVN is public and free which by definition is meant for the public consumption.  Although we can identify tens of…

Curated Virtual Network

Posted on July 20, 2012

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about the way Devicescape's network is curated, and the types of location that are included. The venues that are part of Devicescape's curated virtual network are places like the cafés, bars, restaurants, hotels, libraries, hospitals, transit systems and retail establishments that installed free wifi for the benefit of their customers. Sitting at a bar, the person sitting next to me responds to the popup advising them of the availability of open wifi on their iPhone by connecting to the bar's network. Are they freeloading or leeching? Of course not! The bar owner installed the free wifi for their customers to use. My Android phone, running our software, was just one step ahead in that it automated that selection, getting me the best data connection it could find, rather than bugging me about it. They're not called smart phones for nothing. And at the same time, it checked the quality of the connection to make sure I got a good experience. As a consumer, I win by getting a faster, free connection to the Internet that doesn't eat into my cellular data allowance. The carrier that is paying us for the service wins by…

WiFi Offload: why the time is right for mobile network providers

Posted on May 23, 2012

4G has become a hot topic in 2012, particularly with the launching of several prominent 4G-compatible devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. However, Informa Telecoms & Media predict that 70% of mobile internet traffic is being carried by WiFi. Consequently, it has been suggested that massive investments in 4G networks should not be considered the be-all-and-end-all of the mobile data picture. As a leader in WiFi offloading, Devicescape believes that the two approaches must complement each other in order to provide the best service for consumers. The development of upcoming 4G networks has received heavy investment as 3G networks struggle to cope with the rapidly growing quantity of mobile data-traffic. This is through no fault of the network providers; it’s simply a constraint of physics, and an increase in adoption of smartphones. Smartphones are set to outnumber the human population this year, and a finite amount of bandwidth can only support a finite amount of data. Improving mobile networks is essential, but it is time to fully embrace the fact that they cannot operate alone. Users now expect immediate mobile internet access at will. For this to continue it is imperative that WiFi and carrier networks complement each other,…