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Smart City: the 2.0 city requires Wi-Fi

As city and smartcities are turning more connected to optimize their management and services, they have reached a point where they just cannot do without Wi-Fi. This technology has become commonplace as the enabler of tomorrow’s smart cities. For these local authorities, the digitization trend, that includes the provisioning of Wi-Fi services, has triggered two key issues: improving their attractiveness and brand image, and, on the other hand, getting back ownership over their data.


Wi-Fi, to improve the attractiveness of cities

Cities and their local government face stiff competition to attract investors and tourists. And there is a major business stake to that. They have to revamp their image and communications, as well as their service offering. Place Marketing has become the path to meet such goals.

With a fresh and sound visual identity, a consistent content strategy deployed across social media and actions carried out to broadcast appropriate messages trough powerful channels (mailing, Facebook, paper magazine, etc.), cities improve their visibility and media coverage and, as a result, develop their brand notoriety to attract travelers.

In such cases, communications strategies and the availability of a free Wi-Fi service are not seen as costs, but rather as ROI drivers and key differentiation factors. Besides being a connectivity service, Wi-Fi is turning itself into a true communication channel.

Wi-Fi: the path to earning back ownership over data

Cities have invested to provide free Wi-Fi service across public venues. This is actually the first-hand way to regain ownership over user data. To execute digital strategies that will contribute to their attractiveness, cities must develop their connectivity offering.

The authentication captive portal to free Wi-Fi provides a privileged access to user data, which stand as the new oil fueling the design of new municipal services and offerings, and the key to an improved user experience based on service personalization.  Digitization helps provide interfaces in the language of each user, as well as companion tools that guide travelers throughout a city. Eventually, cities are encouraging consumer’s commitment to a place that is perceived as attractive, and which will contribute to loyalty.


For cities, the digital challenge is essential to tackle the fierce competition to attract tourists. In this context, earning back ownership on data has become a crucial issue. To tackle it, municipalities have every interest in leveraging a data-driven proximity marketing strategy which positions Wi-Fi as a ROI driver, and no longer as a cost center. By upgrading Wi-Fi from a commodity to a value-driven service, it becomes possible to trigger the virtuous circle of the attractiveness, the visibility and popularity.
As some municipalities have started to adopt digital strategies, they are reaping the initial benefits of such an approach. And they still have a long way to go to seize all  opportunities offered by data analytics.