April 23, 2014: Purple WiFi, the cloud-based Social WiFi software company will be working with North, one of the UK’s leading Managed Services Providers, and Ruckus Wireless, the global WiFi technology pioneer, to deliver a secure and legal Social WiFi solution for City of York Council.
The fully supported service will be free for users 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be of such high quality that it will be able to support streaming services such as BBC iPlayer.
City of York Council will for the first time be able to gain access to helpful data from the network, such as footfall and how public spaces in the centre are being used.
Businesses will also be able to subscribe to the service to enable them to gain further insight into their customer base. They will be able to target real time discounts and special offers to customers.
The city attracts 7 million visitors per year, 2 million of whom are of Chinese origin. Therefore, multi-lingual WiFi was an essential part of the installation, which comes as part of Purple WiFi’s offering.
Due to the historic nature of City of York, the wireless solution needs to conform to English Heritage guidelines and be as unobtrusive as possible. This means each site will require a significant amount of careful planning to ensure that Access Points are best placed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing whilst capable of delivering a strong and resilient WiFi service.
The City of York WiFi contract was awarded in view of North’s experience, reliability and performance, working with a Ruckus Wireless Solution. The network will include over 150 Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points (APs) to provide a high-quality WiFi experience throughout the city.
Purple WiFi was selected for its expertise in Social WiFi, advanced analytics packages and accessible approach, which will encourage the people of York and its visitors to get online easily and safely. Purple WiFi’s cloud-based Social WiFi offering also allows the city to engage directly via social media platforms and use Purple WiFi’s Purple Portal to gather data and improve commercial opportunities for local businesses, including advertising and sponsorship.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO, Purple WiFi comments: “Purple WiFi is delighted to be part of City of York’s WiFi offering, along with our trusted partners North and Ruckus Wireless. We are currently experiencing an explosion in interest for city-wide WiFi implementations. WiFi is clearly an essential part of any city’s journey to becoming a ‘Smart City’. As we see the Internet of Things really begin to take off, the demand for ubiquitous city-wide WiFi is only going to increase, with cities planning everything from how to engage the high street, to directing people in WiFi enabled cars to the nearest available parking spot. Purple WiFi will help the City of York to drive engagement and offer flexible and timely updates to residents and tourists alike.”
Roy Grant, the City of York Council’s Head of ICT said: “This unique combination of city centre and strategic transport free WiFi is a huge step forward in our ambitious digital plan to be one of the best connected cities in Europe by 2015.
“Having access to free WiFi is essential for a thriving business community in today’s marketplace and the high quality network will be incredibly useful for both residents and visitors to York.
“The network will also prove an invaluable resource in supporting the council’s work to further understand and monitor how the city centre is used in order for us to maximise this and support the city to prosper and grow.”
Mark Lowe, Strategic Relationship Director, North explained “We are delighted to be working on this exciting opportunity, we have a proven ability in wireless solutions and the way in which we work closely with our partners, Ruckus and Purple WiFi we will be offering a quality and easy to use WiFi service. Local businesses will also be able to benefit from commercial opportunities advertising and sponsoring the WiFi service – a chance to target the 7 million visitors to York each year.”
The scheme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as part of York’s status as one of 22 SuperConnected Cities.