Wood Green, The Animals Charity have recently installed a new, hard working WiFi system.  The solution was rolled out across two locations, Wood Green London, and Godmanchester in the UK. Godmanchester is spread across 52 acres of beautiful countryside and multiple buildings, with WiFi access throughout.  The installation was completed by KTS Computers Ltd using 23 Meraki access points.

About Wood Green Animal Charity

Wood Green is one of the leading animal welfare organisations in the UK who find thousands of new homes for a wide variety of animals, with a vision of creating a world of well cared for pets.

An interesting installation

Wood Green is always busy, whichever site you happen to be working on. There are the delightful Wood Green staff, public visitors and of course the animals, all over a large area. So installation of the Meraki equipment had to be scheduled in between other items.

Ken Seymour, owner of KTS Computers Ltd, said  ‘We are used to being asked to install systems in a ‘live’ environment, because most businesses don’t want to stop work while we upgrade or install new equipment and systems, but working around meowing cats was perhaps over and above our normal ‘hazards’! This made for an interesting installation.’

Challenges along the way

One challenge was ensuring that the team there understood what the solution was going to give them. Ken and his team spent a lot of time with the very tech savvy Andy Brown, Information & Communications Technology Manager at Wood Green.  Once Andy understood, he presented it to the rest of the decision makers. It was great to have a champion on board who took the time to fully understand the benefits of the system.

Due to the size of site, there are fibre links between buildings.  When KTS Computers Ltd came to install the Meraki access points in the cats and also the dogs building, the fibre had been eaten by rats, and so the work couldn’t be finished in the time frame initially expected.  The venue had to arrange for the fibre to be replaced before KTS could continue, so the whole installation took a lot longer than anticipated. This just meant re-organising other jobs. Wood Green of course were very understanding of this particular hold up.

Why Purple WiFi?

For Wood Green there were the obvious benefits of Purple WiFi; the guest WiFi solution, content filtering, and presence analytics were all seen as something that would benefit the venues greatly.  KTS Computers Ltd are new to Purple but had heard a lot about the benefits.  As this was their first installation of the product, KTS relied heavily upon Richard Jackson, their account manager at Purple WiFi. Ken says: ‘Richard helped us every step of the way, from giving the client the relevant information to ensuring we had correctly specified the equipment and software, even to the point of discussing directly with the client the benefits of the system. This could have been a major problem on such a complex install, but Richard was always there to help.’

Marketing is essential for charities to survive

Making sure the solution matched the venue’s needs involved time getting to understand Wood Green’s requirements.  As Wood Green is a charitable organisation, it was especially important that the WiFi provided tangible ROI.  One particular reason for going down this route is due to funding changes.  Charities need to rely more heavily on many smaller donation amounts, rather than one large amount.  Charities therefore feel competition for donations too, hence marketing has become an essential ingredient for charities to be able to survive.

The system that KTS Computers Ltd needed to install would therefore have to provide insights on who has visited Wood Green and even which area they visited, so that the marketing can be targeted.  This ensures that the dog lovers are targeted about donation to dog welfare and cat lovers about donations to cats.  The marketing team know if the visitor called in at cats only, or dogs only or small animals, or just went to the canteen where they may have bought a sandwich. But of course, if they visit the site and don’t go to the canteen, the marketing team can let them know one exists for their next visit, and even offer them a free coffee.

The final result

Wood Green did have a WiFi system in place, however there were many problems with it.  It had relied on a ticketing system but nowadays customers are no longer willing to pay for WiFi; those who did were not leaving any details. There was no way of knowing what sites customers were visiting, leaving a worrying lack of monitoring or control. Finally, it was clearly a wasted marketing opportunity. The new installation therefore has had a massive impact.

The statistics in the Purple Portal tell us that in the last four months alone, there have been well over 1000 logins, almost 70% via social media. Analysis of who is logging on reveals that there are more women seemingly visiting the charity as 58% of the logins are by women. Facebook is the most popular way to login.

Ken commented: ‘No other solution would have been this flexible and given this value at such cost effective pricing, in fact, we struggled to find another solution that would ideally match the charity’s requirements better’.