WiFi in a franchised world

A franchise is the practice of leasing the right to use a firm’s successful business model and brand. When you are running a franchised business model, the key to success is consistency.

Whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or any other type of franchise, when I walk in, wherever I am in the country or the world I expect to get a consistent experience. I have bought into that brand and what it should deliver. The fact it is delivered by hundreds or thousands of different people and companies globally should be invisible.

This is not so for WiFi, but why?

WiFi isn’t easy.

In the home and mostly in offices, WiFi is a beautiful thing. You walk in, you’re connected and free from the evil clutches of the dreaded Ethernet cable.

Unfortunately that has never really translated well into the Public WiFi world. As our recent survey showed, the general public just don’t get it. 54% of people think that just because there is a free WiFi sticker they are automatically connected. Of those that did realise that they need to connect to the SSID, most didn’t realise that they then needed to open a browser and complete the process to get on the WiFi.

So, if I have connected to, registered and got online in a McDonalds in one country, would I be fair in assuming I can go into any McDonalds in the world and be automatically connected too? Probably!

Countries, cultures and law all affect WiFi

Unfortunately there has never been a good, global solution to giving people a consistent Public WiFi experience. In most countries you’ll find that some of the telcos, mobile operators or other service providers already have a solution. It’s typically restricted to a single or small group of countries, because they are bundling together the connectivity, equipment and maintenance along with the guest WiFi overlay. Their prime focus was never the guest WiFi overlay, hence the issue. Rolling the solution out across many countries is not particularly scalable. Throw in different legislation around the world concerning data protection, retention and preventing illegal activity online and you’ve got a minefield.

Culture is also another consideration that affects a unified solution for WiFi. In Europe people are perfectly used to (if somewhat frustrated with) filling out registration forms and verifying email addresses or cell numbers. In some parts of the world it wasn’t out of the ordinary to be asked for your Passport ID to get online, up until very recently. In contrast, people in the US expect to ‘click to connect’, there aren’t too many laws to worry about and therefore it’s all about being quick and convenient.

So this is what you get…

At best, you might get a consistent experience in a single country. You register with the WiFi provider and can expect to be connected in other venues of the same brand in the same country. At worst every franchisee in the country has chosen their own solution, meaning a completely inconsistent brand experience and a completely different registration process everywhere you go. Sound familiar?

Imagine a world with consistent WiFi

Imagine walking into any hotel in a chain and being instantly connected to the WiFi, no logon, no more forms and a consistent, ‘on brand’ experience. I know that every frequent traveller would rejoice, and at the same time question why on earth it hadn’t always been like this. And probably very quickly get used to this new luxury and then take it for granted. The best technology is invisible because most people don’t care about the complexity of what sits behind it, nor do they care about countries, cultures and laws.

It might seem like another utopia that would be nice to have but would be far too costly, complex or darn right impossible. And yet it is achievable and with considerable ease.

A truly global, consistent solution?

With a cloud based guest WiFi solution such as ours at Purple WiFi, you can have one single, unified, consistent overlay in every venue all around the world.

For you as a the ‘WiFi franchisor’ you get a consistent brand, centralized analytics and real time monitoring of every property across the globe. The franchisee gets exactly the same. They just get a restricted view of their own world, however big or small that is.

Regardless of whether you stick to one underlying technology, or allow franchises to choose their own, your end users will never know the difference. Which is what they want.

Then for me, as a frequent visitor of my hotel, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to check in because my phone’s already done it for me?

Read about how we are making WiFi consistent for Nisa Stores