Bridging the Digital Divide with WiFi

Every day the Internet helps millions of businesses, and organizations succeed, shares billions of ideas and creative works with audiences around the world, and empowers people to make decisions or begin journeys that can change their lives. Think about it: this article has the potential to reach hundreds upon thousands of people in seconds the moment we click the ‘”Publish” button. All thanks to the social and professional reach that is attainable from the Internet and world wide web. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access the Internet on a regular basis. Millions of Americans struggle daily to find a reliable or consistent source of Internet access. This situation is commonly known as the digital divide.

Language barriers, income levels, and regional location are all factors in the creation of digital divides. It’s important to know what causes a digital divide, and equally important to know how we can work to bridge those divides. We cannot fix the past, but we are capable of working together to make a greater, more connected future with equal access to the Internet for all.

What Is the Digital Divide?

The best way to describe the term is an uneven distribution and/or use of technologies that provide access to the Internet among certain groups. These groups can be defined (and are usually) based on social, economic, or geographical status. For example, in America  people who are considered to be middle-class or higher are more likely to have consistent access to the Internet than those who are living within the poverty line.

The higher a person’s income is the more likely they can afford the technology and services that give them access to the Internet i.e., smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and cellular providers. People who live near or below the poverty line have increased difficulty purchasing all, if any, of these type of tech or services for accessing the Internet which creates uneven distribution.

The Consequences of a Digital Divide

The Internet is an integral tool for many businesses, organizations and institutions. So it’s no surprise those who are on the deprived of consistent internet access are experiencing difficulties within their day to day lives.

Education: According to a Pew Research Center report, about one-in-five teens are unable to efficiently complete their homework due to the absence of Internet access in certain homes. As more and more schools add a digital aspect to their curriculum, it can leave kids who are on the negative end of the digital divide feeling left out and at an academic disadvantage to their peers. Even worse, it leaves many children feeling like they can’t even try to complete certain projects. Disillusioned with their education, these kids are at risk of leaving the public education entirely.

Employment: Another Pew Research Center study shows the majority of today’s job seekers do so online. Those who struggle to find adequate Internet access are at a tremendous disadvantage to those who can surf the web with ease. Candidates who lack consistent internet access most likely also lack crucial online skills to land certain jobs.

Economy: Consistent Internet is practically necessary for any business to thrive in today’s economy. Some of the most effective B2B or B2C strategies today are completed via the web. Small, old-fashioned businesses that are caught up in the digital divide due to their lack of internet access risk losing their clientele to competitors who are internet savvy. Even worse, these small companies could be risking their entire business.

Finding a Solution with Smart WiFi

It’s good to talk about a digital divide that is still evident in many areas in our country. Bringing certain matters to light allows for changes and action to take place. That is exactly what one local business is doing for it’s community in St. Petersburg, Florida.

In October of 2018, we began working with The EDGE District, a downtown district in St. Petersburg, on a plan to create a district-wide WiFi network. The EDGE WiFi network will provide seamless WiFi connectivity as residents and visitors move through the vibrant downtown district, as well as promote and connect local businesses. The EDGE, which is part of Main Street America, benefits by promoting district businesses and through its access to analytical data of its residents and visitors.

WiFi guests are easily authenticated to the web with the help of our  Marketing4WiFi platform. WiFi users gain access by providing some type of social account such as an email or social profile i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. This gives the people of St. Pete a great resource to utilize free WiFi while giving EDGE District businesses a great resource to market back and re-engage with guests.

Our CEO Todd Myers was eager to help The EDGE District start this program.Todd has studied extensively on the topic of digital divide and knows how it not only negatively affects individuals, but its possible impact on business owners.

Todd saw the opportunity to solve two challenges  at once by helping The EDGE District create their WiFi program. The initiative has two primary objectives

    • Close the digital divide for residents of St. Petersburg who lack adequate internet access by creating a free resource within the city.
    • Help  local businesses grow and thrive by including them in a WiFi marketing solution.

Read more on GoZone WiFi’s work in Smart Cities

If you’d like to learn more about how WiFi can help you grow your business and support your community without sacrificing your backend security, we invite you to download a free copy of our guide for business owners, Turn Up Revenue & Engagement with Guest WiFi.

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Smart WiFi Suite Enterprise Feature Matrix

  • Enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure
    Scaleable platforms on the Amazon AWS cloud provides carrier-grade uptime.
  • Multi-Location Data Views
    An aggregated view of your data giving you visibility to all of your locations or drill-down to specific locations.
  • User Access Control
    Allows your administrator to control and limit access, features and data visibility among users.
  • Advanced Captive Portal Engine
    A complete toolset to design and build dynamic captive portals, guest flows and custom privacy controls. Includes our Touchless Menu features.
  • Guest Forms, Vouchers and Payments
    Collect guest data, surveys, on-line or offline payments and offer different access levels.
  • Customized login methods
    Choose how guests are able to access your network including social login, emails and SMS login, advertisements or a combination.
  • Data Export
    Full guest profile export to CSV allowing you to use collected data in third party systems.
  • Detailed Location Data Analytics
    Analyse detailed information about your locations like busy days, busy times and location comparisons.
  • Demographics and Device Information
    Make informed decisions based on detailed demographics and perform location comparisons.
  • Data Sync to other systems/API
    Save time populating other systems as guest profile data can be sent to external systems on timed intervals.
  • Triggered Campaigns
    Engage with your guests without the manual work by creating personalized email, SMS or Twitter campaigns.
  • Coupons and Loyalty
    Increase spend and promote repeat visits by creating incentives for guests or their friends to come back.
  • Import external data
    Bring in contact data from other systems to consolidate your marketing efforts into a single comprehensive platform.
  • Contact segmenting and lists
    Build contact groups to send personalized messages to your guests based on automatic segmentation and your own critera.
  • Scheduled Campaigns
    Communicate with your contacts to drive awareness through email, SMS or Twitter.
  • Traffic Counts and Statistics
    Monitor your venue and events with real-time and recorded traffic counts and patterning.
  • Heatmapping and Traffic Flows
    Visualize crowd density and how people flow in, out and through your venue to see where people congegrate.
  • Alerting and Reporting
    Create automated alerts to help control crowds or to monitor abnormal trends.
  • Intelligent Landing Page Builder
    Simple to create pages that support multiple campaign types and can easily be modified and re-purposed for other venues or events.
  • Campaign Management Tools
    Offer your advertisers options to suit their advertising needs such as A/B testing, ad weights, flexible scheduling and more.
  • Reporting and Attribution
    Analyse detailed information about the campaigns and creatives to get the best campaign targeting.

  • Access

  • Insights

  • Automation

  • Contacts

  • Presence

  • Advertising

You should receive a text shortly with a link to view a sample Guest Flow.

Take a look at the sample we just sent you, and feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more.

Custom Splash Page Builder

A custom splash page helps give a captive portal the branded look it needs to stand out from the crowd and give guests the peace of mind they’re accessing the network associated with the venue they’re visiting.

WiFi Payments and Vouchers

Offer premium guest WiFi access and promote WiFi upgrades with comprehensive payment and voucher modules. Payments can be used to offer guests varying speeds of WiFi access, while vouchers are great for venues that want to utilize a captive portal that also requires a voucher code for WiFi access.
WiFi payments and vouchers

Guest Plans

Venues can now offer multiple levels of guest WiFi access with our Guest Plan feature. Guest Plans are defined by specific upload and download speeds and session time limits. Brick-and-mortar businesses can offer guest WiFi access and promote WiFi upgrades with our new payment and voucher modules.

Versatile Form Builder

Create and display custom guest surveys on any splash page of your guest flow. Collect feedback and gather additional data points to create smarter marketing.

Enhanced Guest Flow

Guest flow gives venues complete control over the guest WiFi experience. Guest flows help keep a visually pleasing captive portal experience by preventing clutter of multiple marketing assets. Keep it simple, or turn your WiFi into a digital billboard.
WiFi splash page with survey social login

Integrated Ad Spaces

Ad Space Integrations is a powerful feature for venues who want to promote products, deals and specials, online shopping, loyalty programs and other signups, or third-party advertisers all on a pre-authenticated Splash Page.

Increase impressions and clicks for advertising opportunities by showcasing AdSpaces before requiring a guest to connect to WiFi.

Have an app that needs more downloads? The URL redirect function will navigate guests to the app store specific to their device as soon as they click on the advertisement/call-to-action button.

No more will guests have to wait to connect to WiFi to reach interactive ads. Ad Space Integrations takes Ads4WiFi smart advertising tools and places it our smart marketing environment powered by Marketing4WiFi.

Hotspot Scheduler

Determine the specific days and times that WiFi is available to guests. Hotspot Scheduler offers smarter WiFi control by allowing venues to run their guest WiFi during business hours.