Customer expectations for unfettered and ubiquitous mobile access continues to grow, especially in public places. And while a purpose-built enterprise campus Wi-Fi network for business productivity is a given, smartphone and tablet users expect to have pervasive mobile access in public venues as well, regardless of the space whether it is in a theatre, convention center or stadium.
How is Venue Connectivity Different?
Gartner defines public “venue” wireless connectivity as cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity for large defined public areas outside the four walls of the enterprise. This includes hot spots or any public-access connectivity where the user’s intended connectivity is via the Internet, including:
- Sports Stadiums and Arenas
- Theaters and Auditoriums
- Convention Centers,
- Hotel Rooms and Business Centers,
- Transportation Hubs and Vehicles
- Metropolitan and Municipal Areas
- Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
While some connectivity vendors and solutions are similar to those of the indoor enterprise, the market requirements, types of users and business outcome decision criteria for venues are very different. In the Market Guide for Public Venue Wireless Connectivity, Gartner concludes that organizations that try to lump these two decisions together often fall short in public venues, traffic usage patterns can be the opposite of those experienced in the typical enterprise. There may be more upstream traffic to the Internet (for example, for social media updates) than downstream to the client devices.
Gartner recommends that network planners analyze requirements for the differing constituencies and vendor capabilities before implementing a public venue wireless communications solution, or they risk wasting money and not meeting users’ needs.
Critical Elements for IT Decision Makers
The Market Guide for Public Venue Wireless Connectivity provides critical elements for IT decision makers to consider when evaluating and eventually deciding upon wireless connectivity solution for their specific venue, including:
- Outlines the three options for providing supplemental connectivity in public venues.
- Discusses several important design considerations, in addition to the radio technology.
- Provides a review of 10 representative vendors to provide more understanding of the market and its offerings.
- Summarizes Gartner’s key findings from their market research
- Lists market recommendations for evaluating a public venue wireless solution.
Two Key Drivers Impacting Public Venue Wireless Connectivity
According to Gartner, there are two key drivers affecting the public venue wireless connectivity market – the connectivity of the user and analytics about the user. Many organizations are jockeying for a position to provide strong, secure connectivity and access to mobile applications as a service; this incentivizes customer usage and enables organizations with an improved understanding into mobile engagement patterns, as well as the ability to promote unique content or loyalty programs. Access to user analytics provides organizations with business intelligence to support and enhance strategic digital initiatives as well.
Extreme Networks is in the Market Guide based on the success of our public venue Wi-Fi portfolio, which is deployed in nine National Football League (NFL) stadiums, a number of college stadiums and arenas, as well as other public venues. Our portfolio includes our ExtremeWireless, with newly announced Wave 2 access points (link t0 Press Release) and ExtremeAnalytics (formerly known as Purview) for application optimization.
According to Gartner, “Extreme should be considered globally for all public venue opportunities in which Wi-Fi will be the primary mode of public venue communication.”
If you are considering offering wireless communications in your public venue, we recommend reading Gartner’s Market Guide for Public Venue Wireless Connectivity first. When done right, pubic venue Wi-Fi can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty while opening up avenues for incremental revenue opportunities by leveraging user applications and analytics.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.