By Dennis Jones
Gary Griffiths gives first public presentation of iPass SmartConnect analytics
Recently, our CEO, Gary Griffiths, delivered a keynote address to a group of industry specialists at the Smart Mobility Summit in the tech hub of San Jose. The session was devoted to smart cities and citizen engagement. And Griffiths used the forum to demonstrate how iPass could be a prominent player in the urban development movement to integrate multiple information and communication technology solutions to manage cities. More than ever, municipalities like San Jose, which is in the midst of a population explosion, are looking to data-driven solutions to meet the needs of citizens as well as to reduce costs, while still maintaining, if not increasing, the quality of public services. Cities are finding that the only way to govern “smartly” is to leverage technology to facilitate large-scale deployments of resources and services.
Hence, the appeal of technologies like iPass SmartConnect. iPass SmartConnect uses advanced analytics to identify and rate access points based on factors such as signal strength, speed, bandwidth availability, and connection success rate. iPass SmartConnect invisibly and securely chooses the best hotspot for a user’s needs.
We recently announced that iPass SmartConnect had created the first real-time picture of global Wi-Fi locations and performance. And Griffiths discussed how this global map, in fact, offered analytics on the city and community levels as well, analytics that showed detailed coverage patterns, invaluable to any city planning a public Wi-Fi deployment.
Griffiths used the example of Singapore. The island city-state, a pioneer in public Wi-Fi, first rolled out a free Wi-Fi service, Wireless@SG, back in 2006. But Singapore suffers its own connectivity problems, acute to both public and commercial actors. Spectrum is over-saturated due to high population density and Singapore’s close proximity to neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia, whose spectrum bands are used for analog TV.
Griffiths presented an aggregate map of Wi-Fi locations in Singapore, furnished by iPass SmartConnect. The map displayed both hotspots in the iPass network as well as those not yet part of the iPass network. The latter includes high-quality, free Wi-Fi hotspots, which iPass SmartConnect could organically curate into the iPass network. This process alone would lead to a tripling of the iPass footprint in Singapore. iPass SmartConnect also gives iPass visibility into unaffiliated commercial hotspots, which iPass could also add to the network via commercial agreements.
From a smart cities perspective, iPass SmartConnect provides a detailed picture of Wi-Fi connectivity success, which means iPass understands where and why connectivity failure happens. Again, I can’t underscore enough how important this insight is for any city planning public Wi-Fi deployments.
This first public discussion of iPass SmartConnect analytics naturally inspired many questions from the audience of Wi-Fi specialists. One attendee queried whether Griffiths saw any convergence between iPass SmartConnect technology and cellular technology. And Griffiths responded in the affirmative. iPass’ own heritage is in connection management, which means a deep commitment to connecting users by means of the best technology available. That is the core of Wi-Fi first, but not Wi-Fi only.
Griffiths’ talk inspired questions about the potential market for iPass SmartConnect data; audience members were also keen to learn when data would be available and what pricing models iPass would adopt. Griffiths promised that pricing would be coming soon.