Hinckley town centre has recently joined the growing number of towns who wish to give their residents access to free WiFi. The solution in Hinckley was provided by Rod Rayner of Intalect. The installation is a mixture of Mikrotik and Ubiquiti hardware using Purple WiFi as the guest WiFi with social login.

There’s something for everyone in Hinckley

Hinckley is the second largest town in Leicestershire following Loughborough. The thriving market town has cafes and fine restaurants for dining out, craft shops, large department stores, high end fashion boutiques and a popular award winning traditional market.

A town that embraces new technology

Hinckley was the first town in Leicestershire to embrace a town centre mobile application for residents and visitors. The investment in the application means they need a good internet and WiFi provision. Hinckley Town Partnership hope that the new free WiFi will enhance the online experience when out and about in the area. The system will undergo a soft launch at the start of November covering Regent St, Station Rd, Castle St and the bandstand in the park. Following a successful trial, it will officially be launched ready for the Tin Hat Fair and Christmas lights switch on the 20th November.

How did Intalect make it possible?

Hinckley Town Partnership’s goal was to provide visitors with unrestricted internet connection around all major parts of town. In conjunction with this goal, they wanted to be able to use the system to deliver real-time messages and updates to users, as well as gather statistical information on the types of people who visit Hinckley.

What were the challenges of installing the WiFi solution?

This solution was specifically designed for Hinckley town centre. The distance from the first access point at the top of Castle Street to the furthest in Regent Street is just over 1.2km and the area between needs to have a continuous wireless signal as well as covering other major parts of the town. Physically cabling to each point wasn’t an option and due to the distance, repeating a wireless signal would not work. The solution was to mount Ubiquiti hardware to various lamp posts which provided the power. A wireless LAN around all the town was then established to which the AP’s connected to, with the traffic being sent back to a managed internet connection.

Why Intalect?

Jonathan White, Hinckley Town Partnership, said “Intalect were chosen as they are local and could meet all our requirements as a single supplier. Initially we had met with various potential suppliers but no one could provide everything that was needed as a single source. The project was looking like it wasn’t going to happen due to the costs involved and not being able to meet all our targets. However, when Intalect got in touch they not only provided a solution encompassing everything the town needed but all under budget as well. It was a win-win situation. “

Why Purple WiFi?

To fulfil the rest of the project requirements, Intalect recommended that the town should use Purple WiFi, a product that Intalect sell to their customers under the name ‘Elephant WiFi’.

The town’s requirement for guest WiFi, content filtering, e-shot and social media marketing for all local businesses could be easily met by Purple WiFi. The solution comes with many benefits such as gathering statistical information on the type of people that visit the town and demographics such as age, gender and repeat visitors. An understanding of this demographical data enables continued promotion of the town in the way Hinckley Town Partnership intend. At present there are footfall counters on the main section of the town, but these can only provide limited information on how many people visit, whereas Purple WiFi will give them much more accurate footfall information. The hope is to use this information as well as the data gathered from Purple WiFi to further promote Hinckley.

How will visitors will benefit from Purple WiFi?

Jonathan White tells us: ‘We will be using the system to deliver e-shots and SMS messages to visitors promoting activities within Hinckley. People can opt in or out at any time. We will also be utilising the Social Media section of the portal to further help promote our Facebook and Twitter pages and get people talking. In addition to promoting Hinckley as a whole, local businesses will also be using the system to help promote themselves and encourage visitors to make return visits.’