Devicescape tries to make public wifi more operator-friendly

Wifi hotspot aggregator Devicescape has unveiled a new proximity marketing service that is designed to help operators generate revenues via public wifi.

Mobile operators have a mixed relationship with wifi. While anything that takes users off their mobile broadband network could be considered a threat, as mobile data allowances become more generous – trending towards unlimited – the opportunity to offload some of that traffic has distinct benefits.

Devicescape Engage seems designed to help MNOs achieve the best of both words by given them the opportunity to bring in some cash even when users have moved over to wifi. It’s all about location-based marketing, which has been spoken about for years but not yet implemented very effectively. Wifi, apparently, is an efficient way to identify when a user is in a given venue and thus serve up a bunch of location-based marketing to their phone.

“Our wifi network is the perfect complement to cellular as a platform for both revenue generation and connectivity,” said Devicescape CEO Dave Fraser. “In particular it provides a new depth of location awareness to operators for whom location monetization is already a priority. Most importantly, Devicescape Engage allows mobile operators to directly access their share of revenue generated from proximity advertising served to their customers.”

While this may be a handy revenue opportunity for operators, for end-users public wifi still has some work to do to improve the user experience. Subscribing to a bunch of hotspot networks often results in connectivity being frequently interrupted while your phone automatically switches from 4G to one, often with a significant pause in between and subsequent poor performance. Once this is resolved public wifi has the potential to take off as a more significant business opportunity.

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