WiFi Everywhere

News that Toronto Hydro is planning to blanket the city with wireless Internet access — installing WiFi gear on hydro poles and traffic lights — got me wondering what that means to digital signage network operators.

If the network player needs a static IP address, basically a fixed numeric address on the Internet, then it probably doesn’t mean a whole bunch. But if the way a network player operates is with dynamic connections, essentially pulling down instructions and media files, then it gets interesting.  

One of the biggest hassles in getting a signage network going is arranging connectivity. Even in modern, thriving cities like greater Toronto, there are yawning black holes in DSL and cable modem coverage. Your location is either too far from a DSL hub, or the cableco doesn’t want to spend the bucks to trench their way across a parking lot to get to your site. So you end up pricing out satellite, or looking at things like GPRS or 3G cell phone wireless.

If, all of a sudden, connectivity was ubiquitous, and fast, at least three weeks and countless labour screw-ups would be removed from the process. And networked digital signage could suddenly be portable.

That said, WiFi is complicated, finicky stuff, and there are things to be worked out like logins and security, not to mention whether Toronto Hydro or operators in other cities want these kinds of networks as clients.  

Still, having been through the grief of arranging dozens of DSL accounts around a wide area, the idea of broadband already being available, at a decent price, is awfully attractive.  

Explore posts in the same categories: Opinion

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