When Spectrum Interactive, the supplier of public access internet kiosks to the UK travel and hospitality industries successfully acquired several competitive ISPs, they realised that they needed to standardise their existing back-end systems to create a single platform which would not only ensure the stability of their WiFi offering, but also increase their product offering, support future growth and ultimately reduce costs. They approached Apitlo Networks, a global leading supplier of wireless service management platforms, for a solution.
With more than 1,800 kiosks, desks and over 1,000 WiFi hotspots in major UK hotel chains including Premium Inn, Travelodge and Radisson Edwardian, as well as over 25 UK airports, running four different service management systems, it meant that Spectrum Interactive faced additional challenges. With different technological and maintenance requirements, not only was the system expensive to run, it also hampered the company’s flexibility and prevented it from offering their customers new, adaptable features – a necessity in this dynamic environment.
“For Spectrum, envisioning a sustainable growth strategy with a network pieced together from four separate wireless platforms was extremely difficult,” said Daniel Gray, Head of Marketing, Spectrum Interactive.
Spectrum’s existing hardware partner Colubris introduced the company to Aptilo Networks and their product, the Aptilo Service Management Platform™ which offered the perfect solution.
By providing one unified platform, the solution enabled Spectrum to consolidate and manage its WiFi access across the UK and importantly provide service control. Sitting at the edge of the network infrastructure, the Aptilo Access Controller™ securely communicates with the Aptilo Service Management Platform and oversees access and service control and has been pivotal in assisting Spectrum develop and implement new services and an impressive set of benefits for the company’s hotel customers.
“Once we standardised our platform, expanding our network to include more sites and more facilities became a simple process. We had a much better understanding and control of the user experience and were able to offer site owners solutions tailored to their specific needs. Importantly, it has allowed us to take our business to the next level,” commented Gray.
The additional features that Spectrum can now offer include enhanced security for credit-card payments using 3D Secure, post paid accounts for returning customers and on-line statistic portals for venue owners. The increased flexibility means that new functionality can be added to the user experience, and new and ultra flexible commercial options can be offered to the site owners.
The Camponile Hotel in Northampton was one of the first to benefit from Spectrum’s investment. “The flexible package that we put together for the Camponile Northampton includes a front end questionnaire for guests; once answered, the guest is offered free internet access for an indefinite period during their stay – thus improving their user experience. And the hotel can capture customer data and track users, ” Gray commented.
Other future benefits include payment through premium SMS and the opportunity for hotel owners to have access to their own web based on-line voucher generator which can, for example produce WiFi vouchers for the hotel’s conference delegates, and full integration in to the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) enabling a smooth purchase process for the guest. All these features are enabled by Aptilo’s purpose built solution for the hospitality market.
A recent upgrade of Spectrum services at the Hyatt Birmingham, included a voucher generation option enabling the reception desk team to provide instantly produced WiFi voucher accounts tailored exactly to their guests requirements.
The new platform from Aptilo effectively handles data and voice service delivery across multiple devices which enables Spectrum’s site owners to create additional revenue-generating, value-added services as well as support future network scalability in a unified platform. The comprehensive WiFi service management platform encompasses authentication, authorization, accounting (AAA), portal management, service monitoring, security, statistics and customer care options.
By moving to one unified platform, maintenance and support costs have been significantly reduced and the team at Spectrum Interactive are able to concentrate on developing and offering new services to site owners and growing their core business.
“Aptilo’s Service Management Platform has suited our growing network perfectly. It was important that the system worked seamlessly with the wide variety of internet services we offer to the UK’s popular hotel chains but also adaptable enough to incorporate new features in this fast moving market,” concluded Gray.