In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Internet Cafes were big business. Although there is no longer the need for physical terminals so that people can check their email or surf the web the growing number of portable internet enabled devices ranging from smartphones phablets and tablets to notebooks and ultrabooks mean that there is an exponential demand for high-speed internet access in public spaces. Rather than having ‘Internet Cafes’ we have cafes that come with plug sockets and WiFi.
Whilst big chains have been able to profit from providing these services free of charge provided people, at least, spend a small amount of money on a cup of coffee the choice of power points is often limited by who else is there and the internet access is often very slow. Suitable only for light web browsing and using email services.
We were approached recently by a small startup company who wanted to offer a slightly different service. They would open a cafe with internet access, and plug sockets. However, this would differ from the conventional offerings because as well as the free to use the internet they would also offer a high-speed connection for a premium. They would also have dedicated ‘connection points’ offering ethernet sockets as well as multiple plug sockets.
The theory behind this was that more and more people were working flexible hours many of them freelancers and self-employed individuals who wanted a ‘workspace’ that was different to their home office but which did not come with the overheads of renting private office space.
They wanted the service to be flexible, without regular customers having to pay every time, but they also wanted to keep the premium internet access locked down to those who had paid. This was where NetLicensing was able to help. We suggested that rather than using WPA security for the high-speed internet they used MAC filtering. Where the customers devices were automatically granted access to the high-speed internet, providing that the unique MAC address of their device was registered to an active ‘subscription’.
What they were then able to do was use NetLicensing subscription management to track the payments and active subscriptions of their premium customers. This enabled them to offer different subscription levels; daily, weekly, monthly and annual. Keeping a record of all the active subscriptions and making accurate predictions for profits from that specific arm of the business. It was through the use of this data that they were then able to develop the business model and go on to open more locations and provide a unique and very affordable service to thousands of people.
All with the help of NetLicensing!