An Introduction To Our New Blog “Connected Spaces”

The Evolution of Digital Marketing

The last twenty years have seen a remarkable change in Digital Marketing. At the outset of this new channel, the approach from marketers was fairly rudimentary and rooted in the historical ways we measured media, buying reach and impressions.

As digital marketing evolved, the promise of the channel soon presented itself – the ability to measure and optimize marketing investments. The initial metrics were basic; impressions, clicks, and (gasp) CTR. As simplistic as that seems today, at the time it established a baseline from which marketers and agencies could evaluate campaign data in real-time, ending the “set it and forget it” era of marketing.

Those seem like simple times. Over the years it would be an understatement to say the landscape has evolved. The Ad Tech ecosystem presents a complicated assortment of software providers from which businesses must strategically amalgamate to meet their business objectives.

Location Intelligence
Radio waves spreading out from a mobile phone in a shopping mall with matrix style data layered on top.

The common denominator in most of this digital transformation is that the technology and expertise have all been built to communicate, measure, and optimize an online asset; a website, blog, social media channels, or other business-owned media channels.

Given the available technology over the years that has made perfect sense. Media consumption habits have shifted, and time spent on digital platforms has exponentially increased. E-Commerce has exploded with most consumers feeling comfortable making an online purchase.

If you own a website the amount of data that flows through readily available analytics software is staggering, providing detailed information on site traffic, user demographics, conversion rates, user traffic flow, and much more.

As a career digital marketer who left the corporate world to start an agency, I was resigned to the fact this type of granular data would only be applicable to the online world. Fast forward a few years and I was serendipitously introduced to my business partner, Dino Cicala. A fellow entrepreneur, Dino had deep expertise in technology and was very prescient about the future of location-based marketing. He understood the amount of data flowing through locations via Wi-Fi systems, beacons, and mobile devices and together we quickly realized that we were on the cusp of another transformational change in the digital marketing landscape, location-based marketing.

There are a few broad trends driving the aforementioned transformation in location marketing:

  • Saturation of smartphones in the consumer market
  • Customers desire to ALWAYS be connected
  • Experiences driving a resurgence in physical spaces
  • Ubiquitous deployment of public Wi-Fi networks
  • Next-generation Wi-Fi and Bluetooth infrastructures ability to capture a large amount of mobile device data
  • Software that brings online campaign management and measurement to physical spaces
  • The convergence of these trends is driving huge growth in location-based marketing. The technology is now available to measure and optimize many of the same performance metrics that were a short while ago only reserved to the online world.

Ask yourselves the following questions:

  • Am I able to see the number of people who visited my website, frequency of use, and how long they stayed?
  • Does my business know the demographics and interests of the people who come to my website?
  • Do you have a mechanism to collect opt-in-mail and social media data from my website?
  • Can you send targeted messages to people on your website with special events and offers?
  • Can I measure visitor flow within my site?
  • Do I have a way to reach people with targeted messaging after they have left my website (retargeting)?

I imagine most people taking the time to read this article would answer yes to all of the above. In fact, those questions only scratch the surface and are now table stakes for effective marketers. Now ask yourself is the same true of your physical location, and if no, why?

Spatial Code was founded under the passionate belief that physical spaces can and will transform into dynamic digital environments. Our goal is to help our customers transition through the process and help them glean business intelligence from their spaces which lead to tangible increases in bottom-line revenue.

We started this blog to share our insights and updates on the location-marketing space. We invite you to like us on social media to get our latest updates.

5 Tips To Better Wireless Planning

Imagine not being able to check-in with your e-commerce business or not being able to send out a time sensitive email because the Wi-Fi connection is bad. Bad wireless planning is one of the great frustrations of the modern workplace. You’ve been there. Everyone is so dependent on unlimited access to the internet that any disruption can instantly sour our moods. Every business needs strong, reliable Wi-Fi, and any Wi-Fi network can be improved with this wi-fi network design guide.

MAKE GOALS

Creating Wi-Fi networks is not as easy as one may think. Effective networking is the result of clear planning, but planning can only be effective after your business’ goals are set. Any network needs to have expectations for traffic, security and physical dimensions. After you know what the network needs to do and what problem it is solving, you can design it effectively.

PLAN FOR PERFORMANCE

Setting goals is extremely important, but so is having a product that performs flawlessly. First and foremost, one should measure signal strengths of Wi-Fi and background noise. This will allow you to identify weak spots and allow you to improve the signal where necessary.

Devices can cause background noise which will make it difficult for Wi-Fi devices to interact with each other. Cordless phones, video transmitter, audio devices and even bluetooth devices emit signals that Wi-Fi isn’t able to demodulate. A simple spectrum analysis will help you visualize, identify and locate the source of noise.

UNDERSTANDING WHAT SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO IS

We’re sure you’re familiar with what poor Wi-Fi signal is like. Apps, websites and emails take forever to load. This is a result of low signal-to-noise ratio. Similar to people having conversations, Wi-Fi devices need a sufficient amount of signal strength to overpower the background noise.

Similar to poor Wi-Fi connections not being able to connect to the internet, low signal-to-low- ratio means there is not enough strength from the signal to overcome the background noise. Wi-Fi devices require a strong signal strength in order to overpower the background noise. Ideally, you want a high Signal-to-Noise ratio.

However, there are numerous ways to achieve a higher Signal-to-Noise ratio. One quick fix is to improve the locations of Wi-Fi routers and access points. Another fix is to increase the transmit power on Wi-Fi devices.

Understanding What Signal-to-Noise Ratio Is

We’re sure you’re familiar with what poor Wi-Fi signal is like. Apps, websites and emails take forever to load. This is a result of low signal-to-noise ratio. Similar to people having conversations, Wi-Fi devices need a sufficient amount of signal strength to overpower the background noise.

Similar to poor Wi-Fi connections not being able to connect to the internet, low signal-to-low- ratio means there is not enough strength from the signal to overcome the background noise. Wi-Fi devices require a strong signal strength in order to overpower the background noise. Ideally, you want a high Signal-to-Noise ratio.

However, there are numerous ways to achieve a higher Signal-to-Noise ratio. One quick fix is to improve the locations of Wi-Fi routers and access points. Another fix is to increase the transmit power on Wi-Fi devices.

Conducting a Site Survey

We just talked the talk, but can we walk the walk? You bet! Here’s a breakdown of what our survey process looks like.

  1. Gather blueprints and/or floorplans
  2. Determine where Access Points can be located. Consider power and cabling capability
  3. Use a survey tool such as Ekahau to run a predictive analysis
  4. Run a second survey post-deployment to measure actual R/F
  5. Adjust AP placement as necessary

Position Antennas for Maximum Coverage

One of the essential components of point to point wireless network design is antenna placement. In a physical sense, a network layout floor plan is the map for each component’s position. There are a few things to keep in mind when discussing antenna placements. The first is antenna directionality. Standard Wi-Fi antennas are omnidirectional, but you can get semi-directional and directional antennas. The shape of the area you’re servicing determines which is best for your layout.

Even with omnidirectional antennas, the strong signal is mostly two-dimensional. Antennas broadcast perpendicular to their length. The most common tip in the business is to array antennas perpendicular to each other in order to maximize your wireless network coverage area.

The other major factor is range. As a ballpark, you can expect any given antenna to have a range diameter of 100 feet, but higher gain antennas can change range dramatically. Ultimately, you need to know the expected range of each antenna and account for expected signal loss (going through walls, ceilings, etc.). That will enable you to create a wireless network diagram that provides a strong signal everywhere you need it.

Dual Band Networking

Perhaps the most vital aspect of your network design is anticipating traffic. High traffic requires more channels and more switching to prevent interference and slowdowns, and one of the most cost-effective way to increase traffic support is with dual-band networking. There are two approaches. You can simply offer both bands to all users and allow the increased number of channels to mitigate stress, or you can devote each band to a specific purpose. For many businesses, it’s sensible to put internal traffic on one band and limit guest traffic to the other.

With so many components of Wi-Fi design, it’s easy to see why sticking to the basics is so important. Here’s a quick recap of those points:

  • Start by making goals.
  • Planning around your goals is largely an exercise in managing a budget.
  • Antenna position is the key to preventing dead zones.
  • The weakest component of your network should do the least amount of work.
  • Traffic is stressful for equipment. Adding a second band can help.

These principles can help anyone design a better network, but if you really want the best, you need an expert eye. By signing up for a free consultation, a Spatial Code Wi-Fi integrator will walk you through the in-depth process, creating a Wi-Fi network based upon your unique business needs. To learn more about Spatial Code’s service, click here. To sign up for a free consultation, click here.

How a Wi-Fi Wireless Network Is Profitable

The world is wireless. Wi-Fi networks generate productivity and revenue, improving an organization’s operational efficiency and providing advanced analytics. There are numerous ways a wireless network can positively impact any business, regardless of industry. Here’s what you need to know about monetizing your Wi-Fi network.

DRIVING OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY THROUGH ASSET TRACKING

On the most basic level, connection is the biggest benefit WiFi provides consumers. Asset tracking expands that connection to fully maximize a network’s value through sensors and self-reporting. It can be used not only to reduce product loss, but also to make high-value assets within an organization more efficient. Using Real-Time local applications to locate valuable assets ultimately saves an organization time, money and resources.

For example, in a large hospital environment, a massive amount of people and energy are dedicated to tracking and finding the right equipment. Asset tracking completely omits this wasteful process. It gives staff access to an easily accessible visual map of all the organization’s assets, expediting the search process and allowing them to focus their time on their primary responsibilities — like patient care.

Asset tracking also allows high-value assets to self-automate tedious tasks like inventory management. Moreover, it can minimize maintenance and downtime through self-reporting. All of this streamlines an organization’s operations, reduces administrative overhead and improves bottom line savings.

PRESENCE ANALYTICS PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO GUESTS AND THEIR BEHAVIORS WITHIN YOUR LOCATION

A public Wi-Fi business model often relies on analytics to glean key behavioral insights. Presence analytics can be used to display where visitors are within a large venue, identifying potential bottlenecks and points of continued interest. This is apart from valuable logistics and productivity information a business can collect internally.

If you’re familiar with Google Analytics, then you know it’s a tool marketers cannot live without. It provides detailed insight (analytics) to how people interact with a website. The data provided by Google Analytics allows people to answer frequently asked questions like “Where do my visitors live?”, “What websites send traffic to my website?“ and “Which pages on my website are the most popular?“.

The same principle can be applied to having your own Wi-Fi Network. Leverage Location Analytics can provide similar valuable insights for your physical location, allowing you to optimize your space. You would be able to answer questions like “How many people are in my venue?”, “What’s my dwell time?”, “What does the foot traffic pattern look like?” In large venues, presence analytics can be used to improve traffic within the location, as well as to capitalize upon and support the locations that generate the most traffic. Stadiums, malls, private communities and other large event spaces are able to leverage presence analytics for better revenue generation and smoother overall operation.

SUPERCHARGE MARKETING EFFORTS THROUGH CUSTOMER DATA COLLECTION AND LOCATION-BASED CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT

Data collection is helpful for optimizing operational efficiency, but it also can be used as a marketing tool. Wi-Fi allows your customers the opportunity to interact effortlessly with your business, as they are more likely to engage with relevant and useful communications. Further, information can be collected on the feature that customers use and when they use them — making it easier to refine and curate the services your organization provides. In a retail environment, this could be used to personalize a consumer’s shopping experience, send surveys or request for reviews.

Wi-Fi marketing makes it possible to send real-time messages directly to customers who are already in your area. For example, retail shops can give customers information about products they’re interested in or even guide them to an item or section of the store. Businesses can let customers know about special events, deals or even how to get to a particular booth within a venue. Walmart recently utilized location-based marketing strategies during their 2018 Black Friday efforts. By encouraging customers to download their app and easily find the quickest route to the best sales, they also boosted revenue and customer engagement.

The value of this lies in timing; immediately directing customers to a point of interest nearby, or asking them to write a quick review online as they leave, makes them more inclined to engage with your venue or brand. These things serve as a reminder for the customer, encourage them to have a positive experience and share it, and in turn this bolster your marketing efforts.

OFFERING WI-FI AS AN AMENITY OR A UTILITY

Many customers have come to expect the availability of Wi-Fi. From hotels to Senior Living Facilities, Wi-Fi is often a revenue generator. Depending on your business, Wi-Fi can be considered either an amenity or utility.

A location that offers free Wi-Fi provides immense value to people. According to Comcast, Wi-Fi is the most effective amenity in making customers feel welcome Wi-Fi can make your location stand out amongst competitors. With the proliferation of devices, streaming content, and personal IoT devices, offering reliable and high speed has become more challenging than ever and requires careful planning and design.

By offering Wi-Fi as a utility, property owners will be able to outfit the property and then can typically recoup the cost of their initial Wi-Fi investment in under two years. Wi-Fi can then become a profit center that provides recurring revenue for the property. The business aspect of the project can be adjusted for both conventional and affordable housing properties. By running a full program analysis we can help determine the right fit for your property.

For all businesses, a Wi-Fi business model isn’t just desirable — it’s necessary. A strong Wi-Fi network benefits renters, managers and owners alike with a fast and constant connection, operational support and increased ROI. The quality of Wi-Fi often plays a role in how satisfied customers are, building loyalty for your business.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Businesses can improve operational efficiency by tracking valuable assets within a location.
  • Businesses can gain insight to customer behavior and habits through data collection, and utilize that information to improve operations and supercharge marketing campaigns.
  • Businesses can distinguish themselves from competition by offering Wi-Fi as a utility business model

All of the above options can improve upon or develop ROI through a Wi-Fi hotspot business model. By choosing to monetize your Wi-Fi, your business can make itself more attractive to customers, provide greater value, and strengthen your operational efficiencies. For more information about effectively building out your Wi-Fi for a higher ROI, schedule a Wi-Fi consult/demo today!