public library bookshelf

WhoFi Library Edition Makes PLS Reporting Easy

The Public Library Survey report is due in the coming months. Your WhoFi Library Edition makes it simple to report accurate WiFi usage data. The accurate data provides accurate insights into your library's community impact. The Library Edition provides a consistent collecting and reporting standard across state public libraries to better understand how patrons are using their locations. This data provides insights to guide decisions for things like strategic planning, day to day operations, advocacy communications, and programming enhancements. Accurate reporting makes a difference in the impact your library can have in your community. We know that public libraries have always been a community pillar, and continue to provide services when the community needs it most. With the data and insights from your WhoFi dashboard, your library can show accurate numbers to showcase your role in community support.

 

“The information available through the reports is great. I’m so glad the state purchased this for us. Now the board can see how the library is benefiting the community. We’re really able to show our worth.” Ashton Public Library, Tim Christianson

Here’s what you need to know about reporting WiFi sessions using the WhoFi Library Edition.

Quick Guide: 

You will find the total WiFi sessions for the year in cell H24 on the December Monthly Trend Summary. This is the number that should be reported on the PLS.

In-depth Guide:

For detailed and visual instructions, click here. 

Happy reporting!


Public Libraries Continue To Serve Communities While Closed to The Public

The ALA executive board recommends closing public libraries to the public. This message comes as many cities enforce closings for public places to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. This public health crisis further illuminates the digital divide and the need for equal access to information. While our library customers are closing their physical location to protect the health of patrons and the entire community, many are choosing to make WiFi access available 24/7. WhoFi fully supports this and we encourage all of our library partners to establish this as best practice. 

Public libraries are doing great work to promote digital inclusion and can continue to do so by maintaining public WiFi service. Libraries are key partners in empowering members of our community to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

You can communicate to your service population that WiFi will still be available through email and social media. We know many patrons either lack access entirely or have limited access, so create signage to place on windows and doors that provide WiFi access information. Work with local governments to get the message to the community. Patrons can access WiFi while remaining in their car at any time of day while being in compliance with the CDC social distancing recommendations. Continue to run your WhoFi analytics software so your library can gather insights into patron WiFi usage during closings. The data gathered during this time will be beneficial for advocacy efforts in the future. 

Providing internet connection, especially during a public health crisis, is a critical utility. Equal access to information helps our community as a whole, and in today’s digital age we all depend on it. Yet 19 million Americans lack access to broadband internet, according to FCC reports. Other reports show 33 million Americans lack access. A Pew Research study found that internet access and adoption are tied to demographic variables such as age, education level, household income, and community type. Higher education is tied to increased access and use of the internet. People who live in rural areas are less likely to have internet access than their urban counterparts. 

People who use library WiFi as their primary source of internet rely on it for personal and professional reasons including: 

  • Access or apply for benefits
  • Get information from or about local government
  • Do schoolwork or research for school
  • Access social media
  • Get health or medical information
  • Look for or apply for a job
  • Attend an online class, meeting, or webinar
  • Find legal or consumer rights information
  • Stay in touch with friends or family
  • Read or send email
  • Research and buy a product
  • Use online banking services or pay bills
  • Create or post original media
  • Look for answers to computer problems
  • Arrange transportation
  • Research a new skill
  • Learning language (programs or watching videos)

We are committed to serving our public library partners during these uncertain times. We will all be working remotely for the coming weeks, and will still be available by phone or email should you have any questions or needs.

 

Ideas to help patrons use library free WiFi

  • If possible, place the wireless access points closer to the exterior windows to extend the reach of the WiFi signal.
  • Make signs to place in windows from the interior of the library with a message about accessing the WiFi network and password.
  • Make sings to place in windows with social distancing guidelines while accessing WiFi. These can include:
    • Remain in your car while using your device to access WiFi
    • Library staff can use tape or chalk to create 'access stations' where patrons can safely stand outside the library while accessing WiFi. New reports show that COVID-19 can travel more than 15 feet in a closed environment with air-conditioning. The CDC guidelines state persons should maintain a 6-foot distance. Make sure your markings allow enough distance between each access station. Post information about the guidelines and purpose of the access station on windows.

How Libraries Help Remote Workers

Your public library offers so much value to your community. Everything from children’s programming, language learning, print, audio and digital books, and that’s just the beginning. And what about considering the public library as a workspace for remote workers? Libraries could serve the remote working community by promoting their space as such. 

A recent report shows that remote work has surged 400% in the last ten years. Work flexibility is becoming an expectation for the Millennial workforce. According to Forbes, more than one-third of workers in the U.S. are part of the gig economy, which includes freelancers and contractors. Some cities are even using financial incentives to attract remote workers to their communities. 

The nature of work is changing. 

Tools like online project management systems, virtual meetings, and cloud-based systems make online team collaboration easy and effective. In the absence of the office culture, workers have started to migrate to remote working spaces to combat loneliness and create connections. Whether part of a team or a freelancer, remote workers are making use of co-working spaces for everyday office use and meeting spaces. 

Libraries have a unique opportunity to provide even more value to the remote working community by promoting their library as a remote working space.

Co-working spaces are cropping up in cities across the U.S. Libraries could promote their space as a value-added benefit that’s already included in citizens’ taxes. And they already have the amenities remote workers are seeking, such as: 

  • Free WiFi
  • A quiet place to work
  • Private meeting rooms for phone or web calls
  • Plenty of space to meet as a group
  • Office amenities like printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Water fountains
  • Charging outlets

And, a great atmosphere to focus on work. Libraries are available in any city, which opens up options for remote workers who like to travel. You can even bring your favorite coffee to sip on while you work. Public libraries are well-positioned to help the remote workforce. 

Libraries are using WiFi analytics to improve patron experiences and prove the value of public libraries as a co-working space. 

WiFi analytics is an easy-to-use technology that works for a single location or multi-location libraries. Our Library Edition allows you to see large scale trends while maintaining user privacy by encrypting their personal information before it even arrives on our cloud system. Librarians can make data-driven decisions using the insights and reports provided through our software.

Libraries can use this software to look for trends that would indicate patrons are using their space for work, like staying logged on for multiple hours at a time. Seeing these trends on your WiFi analytics dashboard could help you develop services, equipment, or programs geared toward this group. Offering freelancing programs or seminars with business speakers, presentation equipment rental, or more private conference rooms can help make your library a great place to work remotely. 

The rise in remote work certainly offers many benefits and the flexibility the modern workforce expects. In the absence of office culture, co-working spaces are becoming more popular. This workplace trend appears to be a mainstay, and public libraries can promote themselves as an option for remote working spaces. Learn how WiFi analytics help you serve the remote workers in your community. Schedule a demo today. 


public library bookshelf

WiFi analytics relieves the burden of data tracking for public libraries

Public libraries provide a safe space for communities to come together. They serve communities in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods. They provide cultural and economic value. And now, many libraries are becoming community hubs. Libraries and public spaces can use WiFi analytics to help tell their story, reinforce their value, and better serve their community.

Using WiFi analytics is the best way to harness technology to build strong communities, and it’s easier to do than you may think. 

There is no barrier to entry.

From your initial demo all the way through your partnership with us, your WhoFi team will guide you every step of the way. Starting a new program or integrating new technology may feel like a barrier toward reaching your goals. 

We know that getting over this barrier is a deterrent, which is why we removed the barrier completely.

The WhoFi software works with the technology you already have which makes it easy to integrate into your current public library WiFi system. What’s even better is that it can be installed by just about anyone-no IT background required. 

You can start now. 

Learn more

If you’re curious to learn more about how our WiFi analytics software works and get answers to your questions, the first step is to schedule a demo. You'll get an in-depth look at what WiFi analytics can do for your space.

Get connected

Once you decide to partner with us, your customer advocate will reach out to schedule a meeting to get acquainted and review the next steps with you. Our set up process is refreshingly simple, and your customer advocate will lead you through each step. 

How does set up work? 

Since you can use our WiFi analytics service with the hardware you already have, the set-up process is simple. We’ll discuss this easy process with you on a set-up call and send written instructions for easy reference.  If you need extra help we’ll be here to troubleshoot with you.

All setup and ready to go

When you activate your account the software will collect data and store it in your user account. Your customer advocate will familiarize you with the dashboard and provide login details. You can access your account and view your dashboard at any time, which makes it easy to grab data when you need it, without waiting for reports to be sent to you.  

Sit back, relax and gather insights (while respecting user privacy, of course)

Our customers really appreciate how easy the whole process is. The initial set up process is straightforward and easy with minimal hands-on time. Our software quietly works in the background, collecting insights, while you focus on improving the lives of those you serve. 

Benefits of using WhoFi analytics

Dedicated customer advocates

Every WhoFi user has a customer advocate who answers questions, troubleshoots problems or interprets reports and makes suggestions. When you call or email us for support, you’ll reach one of our customer advocates who are knowledgeable and skilled in technology and customer service. Having a dedicated support person helps with ease of implementation and management for any technology or service. No call centers with rotating staff, no inexperienced service members, just a real person who knows the technology in and out and solves problems like a pro. 

Your customer service advocate will schedule followup training calls to discuss and review your data in-depth. We’ll also send you your statistics monthly along with helpful training material. We monitor your activity and notify you asap if there’s an issue so we can troubleshoot it. 

Easy Data Reporting

Each user views all aggregated data in an easy to read dashboard. The dashboards provide easy to understand insights without technical jargon. You can compare date ranges, see trends, see increases or decreases in visitors by various date ranges and so much more.

The reports convert the data collected into insights so you can decide how best to improve your community space. 

One of the reports available is called Average Usage that shows the most popular times patrons use the public libraries' WiFi. This kind of report helps each location plan staffing, program types and timing, ideal network maintenance and more. Being able to see how many people access WiFi, at what times and for how long allows each space to ensure there are enough staff and bandwidth to accommodate that need. The reports give accurate insight into the use of public libraries' WiFi. This helps boards make data-driven decisions to invest in better WiFi or extended programming.

We respect user privacy and we’ll keep you in compliance with the CCPA.

Looking at data on a massive scale is what gives spaces the best insight into visitor behaviors and patterns.  WhoFi allows you to see large scale trends while maintaining visitor privacy by using a one-way encryption method. Every time someone uses your public libraries' WiFi, the reports will show their frequency of use and how long they stayed, but maintain user privacy. Being able to see big-picture trends while maintaining patron privacy has been a game-changer for libraries. 

WhoFi is pioneering the big data privacy movement with our anonymous location analytics technology that allows companies to see trends while maintaining consumer trust and privacy. Our analytics solution provides a detailed analysis of physical spaces and foot traffic. This insight means businesses can make data-driven decisions while maintaining customer anonymity. 

Your partner in building strong communities

Creating strong communities takes a community effort. WhoFi helps public spaces like libraries share the story of their community value. We know the services provided have a strong community impact and enhance the quality of life for all citizens. With our easy to use WiFi analytics software, public spaces can use data to support continual growth and improvements. Are you ready to learn more about how WiFi analytics can help your library or public space? Schedule a demo. 


community center visitors

Using WiFi Analytics To Improve Patron Experiences

The best way to improve your space for your patrons is to analyze the actions of those who frequent your space. Actions speak louder than words, and in the case of creating a thriving public venue, this is absolutely true. People will let you know if you’re meeting their needs by showing up, or not. Make sure your space is answering the call. Use WiFi analytics to understand what your patrons want so you can improve their experience and your space. 

WiFi analytics is an easy-to-use technology that works for any type of space large or small, public or private. If you want to know more about the people coming to your space, WiFi analytics provides the answers you seek while being non-intrusive and respecting privacy. After a simple software download, your system will be ready to gather a wealth of information you can use to determine the best path forward. 

Easy Data Reporting.

Our Library Edition allows you to see large scale trends while maintaining the privacy of each individual by using a one-way encryption method. Each time the visitor accesses your WiFi the reports will show their frequency of use, dwell time and patterns, but not the individual identity of the user. Being able to see big-picture trends while maintaining patron privacy has been a game-changer for libraries. 

One of the reports available as a WhoFi user is called Average Usage, which was designed to provide public libraries a quick view of the most popular times patrons are connecting to their locations’ WiFi. This kind of report helps each location plan staffing, program types and timing, ideal network maintenance and more. Being able to see how many people access WiFi, at what times and for how long allows each space to ensure there’s enough bandwidth to accommodate that need. The reports give accurate insight into the use of public WiFi and help boards make data-driven decisions to invest in better WiFi or extended programming. 

Interpreting Data, Making Change.

Are you noticing that some users access WiFi with a laptop and stay logged in for 3-5 hours at a time? This could indicate that they’re using the space as a place to work. Remote work is becoming more common and people like to get out of the house and into coffee shops, libraries or other public spaces to change the scenery, spur creativity, or just connect with other like-minded individuals. Seeing this trend on your WiFi analytics dashboard could help you develop services, equipment, or programs geared toward this group. Offering freelancing programs or seminars with business speakers, presentation equipment rental, or more private conference rooms can help make your library a great place to work remotely. 

If you’re a multi-location business or library, using the Trend Summary report can help you compare locations to get a birds-eye view of the trends affecting your space. Gain insights into peak days and hours, new vs. return visitors, visitor dwell time and even popular areas inside larger spaces. This gives you the confidence to make decisions about how your space is used, could or should be used, appropriate staffing needs, marketing improvements, and resource planning. 

Your patrons will notice that you’re attuned to their needs and they’ll show you their gratitude by continuing to visit. Small changes like improved staff during peak hours can mean prompt service, questions answered sooner, program materials restocked or spaces kept tidy. These details all contribute to the overall experience that your patrons want. 

With WiFi analytics, it’s possible to listen to, understand and see more about the people who visit your location without constantly hammering them for personal information and data. 

When you know more about the people visiting your space and how they interact with you, you can better serve them. Then, when you meet their needs, word of mouth will spread that your space is good and you will continue to grow. 

Want to know more about how WiFi analytics can benefit your location? Schedule a demo and we’ll show you! 

 


people gathering

WhoFi Publishes A Book About WiFi Analytics

WhoFi co-founder, John Kerber, recently published a book about WiFi analytics and how advanced technology can create stronger communities. The book, titled WiFi Analytics; Track, Improve, Grow, discusses how to help real-world spaces engage with visitors to create sustainable growth. 

It’s written for everyone from library managers to IT professionals. WhoFi provides the insight you need to better serve your communities. By publishing this book, we hope to help more people understand the value of community spaces and how to use data to showcase this. In a time when every industry and individual rushes to go digital, clarity and connection happen in the real world.

“The value in WiFi analytics is to help real-world communities and spaces not become digital, but to retain and enhance their unique qualities. At the same time, to stay relevant our industry needs to help the physical spaces and communities stay top of mind when their members are spending time in the digital world.” –John Kerber, WhoFi co-founder, and author 

The book covers topics such as which industries use WiFi analytics and what hardware, software or service you need to get started. The format is easy for even non-techy people to understand. The reader will learn more about the specific technologies that work together to improve public venues and communities, such as social WiFi, foot traffic, guest WiFi, WiFi marketing and presence analytics. 

WhoFi is pioneering the technology used by public spaces and businesses to provide valuable insight into the community they serve. WhoFi offers companies and governments the opportunity to make better, data-influenced decisions while respecting the privacy of its’ WiFi users. All WhoFi reports and statistics provided respect citizen privacy, and are generated without requiring or storing their personally-identifying information.

WiFi Analytics; Track, Improve, Grow is currently available on Amazon Kindle


How To Improve Community Spaces In 2020

Communities thrive on interaction. A pleasant and well-designed public space or gathering place has the power to bring people together, which builds stronger communities through connection. When people are connected-every individual, parent, child, and family feel supported. These thriving communities take intentional effort and thoughtful planning. Voters, city planners, businesses and managers of public spaces work together to bring the vision to life. 

Many of these improvements require hands-on work, from the construction of the space to programming for the patrons. How can community leaders and public space managers monitor the effectiveness of this planning? 

While bringing people together in real-life forms connections like no online interaction can, access to information via the internet is something your space sees as important. That’s why your space offers free WiFi and that investment in the community you serve demonstrates your commitment to its’ growth and prosperity. You want to improve their experience and community space. So how can you track large-scale trends of real-life visitors who use your space? 

WiFi analytics is a simple solution to improving your community space in 2020.

Businesses with websites can easily see how website visitors are interacting with them, and tailor the customer experience to consumer habits and preferences, but this only works for the online world. Until recently there hasn’t been a way to get this level of information for real-world visitors. But now, WiFi analytics offers a solution to get in-depth data that’s easy to understand.

WiFi analytics provides answers to these common questions:

  • Are you reaching the people you intend to reach? 
  • Is there an extra level of communication you can offer to increase attendance?
  • Is there a particular group that is frequenting your space that would benefit from a program or information? 
  • What time of day are people visiting most? 
  • Should you adjust your programming calendar and timing?
  • How can you attract more remote workers to your space? 

Being able to see how your visitors are using your space, frequency of their visits, if their visit coordinates with a program, and if overall visitor numbers increasing will give you valuable insight into the performance of your space and programming. Big picture data can be gleaned from this technology while maintaining user privacy.

So What Is WiFi Analytics?

Put simply, WiFi analytics is like the Google analytics of the physical world. This technology enables you to use the information available through your existing wireless network to learn more about your visitors and how to best serve your community. With software downloaded to your existing hardware, you can:

  • Monitor devices connected to your WiFi
  • Track visitor count and dwell time
  • Count recurring vs. new visits
  • Learn more about visitor demographics

All of this valuable insight can be gained while maintaining visitor privacy by using a one-way encryption method. This allows your business to see large scale trends of visitor behavior and patterns without compromising trust or identities. The WhoFi analytics solution provides a detailed analysis of physical spaces so community spaces and businesses can make data-driven decisions while maintaining visitor anonymity.

If you want to improve your program’s reach, effectiveness, community outreach, create loyal customers, or enhance your space or business in general- WiFi analytics is your solution. 

The great thing about WhoFi WiFi analytics solution is that you already have the hardware you need to run this program. Our WiFi analytics solution works with your existing hardware and can be installed by just about anyone-no IT background required. Adding WiFi analytics is the easiest solution to make community improvements in 2020. Check out our full list of WhoFi compatible routers and access points. 

Take action today and schedule a demo to see how WhoFi WiFi analytics can help you improve your community space. 

 

 


Businesses Must Adapt To Consumer Rights To Privacy With New CCPA Law

In recent years, businesses have faced increased pressure to comply with customer privacy regulations as consumers demand ownership over their valuable personal online data. California became the first state to set statewide privacy regulations with The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that is set to be implemented on January 1, 2020. If your company hosts data from any California citizens — which likely applies to most U.S.-based companies — then you will have to comply.

California is likely the first state of many to implement these regulations, which comes on the heels of the GDPR, the European Union data privacy laws. The great debate of our time is how Big Data can provide useful services to you as a customer while maintaining the privacy of the individual. 

Consumers are aware that online data can be transformed into a precious commodity, and that it’s used without their consent. According to estimates in the Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment for the CCPA regulations, the CCPA will protect more than $12 billion worth of personal information that’s used for advertising purposes in California each year. This law empowers citizens — so they can decide how much, what and when to share their information or their children’s information. 

WhoFi Privacy

WhoFi offers companies and governments the opportunity to make better, data-influenced decisions while respecting the privacy of its’ WiFi users. All WhoFi reports and statistics provided respect citizen privacy, and are generated without requiring or storing their personally-identifying information. Since our software was originally developed to anonymize user information, our company —and customers by extension — are already in compliance with CCPA.  We give you the answers you need to improve customer service experience and community engagement without compromising the integrity of the relationships you’ve built. Our fundamental belief in consumer privacy rights is why we support this law. 

Here’s what you need to know about CCPA.

What is the CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was created to protect the privacy and data of consumers. The CCPA initiative requires businesses to tell consumers what data is being collected and for what purpose. And, most importantly, it gives consumers the right to opt-out and to sue companies if their personal data is breached.

The CCPA grants California consumers new data privacy rights that, we feel, should’ve been the standard originally.

  • The right to know what personal information is collected about them. 
  • The right to know how this personal information is used, shared or sold and to whom.
  • The right to delete personal information held by businesses and by extension, a business’s service provider. 
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of personal information. 
  • The right to equal price or service even when a consumer exercises their new privacy rights granted under CCPA.
  • Children under the age of 16 must have a parent or guardian consent. 

 To Whom Does CCPA Apply?

When it goes into effect in January 2020, businesses that meet one or more of the following thresholds must comply with the CCPA:  

  • Annual gross revenues of $25 million or more.
  • Buys, receives or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices.
  • Derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.
  • Most companies in the United States have customers in California and will likely be required to comply if they want to continue to receive information from their California customers.

What Do Companies Need To Do To Comply With CCPA?

If your business meets one or more of the thresholds above, you must prepare to be in compliance with this law. Even if your business doesn’t meet those, it would be wise to take steps to be in compliance to gain consumer confidence. 

  • Review and understand what personal information is collected by your business.
  • Understand how personal information is collected, used, or sold; to whom and for what purpose. 
  • Review internal policies and procedures regarding the collection of personal information and update internal and online privacy policies to comply.  
  • Prepare policies and procedures to implement when a customer requests access to, deletion of or information related to the sale or disclosure of their personal information.
  • Implement technological solutions that process requests by the customer to opt-out. 
  • Review contracts with all service providers to ensure they protect the personal information provided by your business. 

How Can Big Data And Privacy Coexist?

WhoFi believes that with full encryption for all consumer data collected, both the company and the consumer benefit. Looking at data on a massive scale is what gives companies the best insight into consumer behaviors and patterns, not consumer identities. By one-way encrypting the data from the first consumer interaction all the way to analysis, the company can’t easily tie back the data to an individual but can gain large scale trend insights they need. 

WhoFi is pioneering the big data privacy movement with our anonymous location analytics technology that allows companies to see trends while maintaining consumer trust and privacy. Our analytics solution provides a detailed analysis of physical spaces and foot traffic, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions while maintaining customer anonymity. 

Would you like to know more about how the WhoFi solution can benefit your company or government organization? Schedule a demo to see what our technology can do for you.