BETTER WI-FI Part 2: Seamless Authentication via Passpoint

Mar 13, 2014 11:44:35 PM

In Part 1 of this series we discussed the next wave in Wi-Fi and mobility, called Passpoint. As we mentioned, Passpoint’s release will be broken into 2 phases for the purpose of feasibility and practicality; let’s take a look at those 2 phases.

Phase 1: Seamless Authentication

While Phase 1 is in effect now, cellular carriers and Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) providers have been slow to embrace the technology and take advantage of the services. Another factor impeding adoption is that not all devices are compatible with the new technology.

Phase 1 offers the availability of new, updated devices which use a SIM card or other stored credentials to authenticate access into a network. Apple and Google’s newer mobile operating systems support this type of authentication, but it is up to the WLAN provider to receive and verify that credential against the cellular carrier or another remote authentication database.

The benefits of Passpoint Phase 1 include:

  • Enhanced User Experience: Wi-Fi and cellular networks will work together to provide a better mobile experience for end users.
  • More Accurate Location-Based Services: hotel networks recognize guests and hoteliers can provide services tailored to an individual or their location.
  • Marketing Opportunities: Businesses will have an open line of communication with automated push notifications and targeted advertising.
  • Measurable Business Intelligence: Mobile analytics will be more accessible for improving in-house operations, including employee and guest communications.

Phase 2: Registered Authentication

The second phase of the Passpoint release moves the technology beyond authentication of known users on pre-arranged networks to add capabilities for new account creation and operator management of roaming networks and broader device support. This phase will help the user register and authenticate to access the hotel Wi-Fi network through their mobile device.

The benefits of Passpoint Phase 2 include:

  • Simple Group Subscriptions: businesses can offer authentication to guests through memberships with cloud-based companies, like Amazon, Apple, or Google.
  • Targeted Services: different amenities and notifications can be pushed to specific groups, such as a loyalty members vs. guests who are not loyalty members.
  • Personalized Experience: allocated bandwidth and specific services can be delivered based on a user preferences and/or loyalty status.
  • Secure Mobile Payments: with added authentication and encryption, mobile payments will be more secure and user-friendly.
  • Broad Reach for Generic Alerts: urgent messages or emergency alerts can be easily delivered to everyone on a network; i.e. instructions and steps toward safety.

In recent years, we have seen Wi-Fi morph from an amenity into a commodity, on par with hot water and door locks. With Passpoint, it has the potential to morph into a whole new line of communication between hotels and guests.

What ideas do you have for taking advantage of Passpoint at your property?

To read more about Passpoint and updating your network, see these resources: