Step one foot on a college campus and you’ll see it. We’re not talking about the textbooks, or pajama-wearing public, or red Solo cups. We’re talking about the WiFi signal. These days WiFi on campus is as expected as electricity or running water. And that’s for good reason. With the influx of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops in educational environments, WiFi has never been in such high demand. Here are several reasons why wireless fidelity is synonymous with the modern college and university student experience.
WiFi Can Lead to Better Grades
You may be thinking, “Won’t students just play games or get distracted?” The truth is, having free access to the internet puts the world’s learning at a student’s fingertips. Educators can utilize interactive programs and create engaging learning content for their students. More and more libraries have strong digital content catalogs as well, and with free WiFi throughout campus, the library is everywhere. This opens up endless research possibilities. It can also connect students to peers around the world, offering new perspectives and feedback on complex projects.
Closer to home, students can use collaborative, cloud-based software that can be shared and accessed from any internet-enabled device. Without access to it, students with laptops and tablets would be utterly unable to work on assignments or access digital learning material. President Barack Obama has been quoted saying “in most American schools, teachers cannot use the cutting-edge software and programs…They literally don’t have the bandwidth.”
WiFi Increases Security On Campus
WiFi data paints a picture of how and when students move around campus. This data can help inform where cameras or lights should be installed and when security should be increased. If the WiFi network is accessed through social credentials, security alerts can be sent quickly to a huge population of students.
It is Good for Campus Events
Schools and universities host hundreds of events throughout the year, ranging from local farmers markets to national basketball games. If they’re happening on campus, those attendants will expect WiFi access.
Many marketing vendors require Wireless access to set up their shops and post on social media to update their followers. By offering a single, secure network, a university can generate revenue through WiFi sponsorship from vendors, and the vendors get the benefit of customer data and the opportunity to advertise to an engaged, somewhat captive audience. Universities and colleges can leverage the WiFi data to encourage new sponsorships and vendors.
Let Students Be the Stars
WiFi also facilitates students to create user-generated content (UGC) for schools. Authentic and entertaining UGC makes a big impact at colleges and universities because it highlights real campus life. Not only can UGC attract prospective students, but it also enriches the experience of current students and faculty and provides a valuable connection for parents and alumni. But without WiFi, all that great UGC has to wait until a student gets home to post, and that reduces the chance it will ever see the light of day.
In 2019, UGC will continue to be one of the most effective marketing tools for universities and schools. ComScore reports that brand engagement rises by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional and user-generated content.