Purple CEO on public Wi-Fi solutions

Purple’s CEO Gavin Wheeldon talks to PCR about the Wi-Fi company’s motivations and solutions.

Tell us a bit about Purple

We provide an overlay solution on top of existing Wi-Fi networks. We get the devices on-board whether it’s social or a short form. The really interesting bit is the real-time and historic analytics we drive from these networks. 

Everything you’d expect from a website we can deliver in a physical space. We deploy our Wi-Fi solutions in 73 countries. Wherever there is a public space, chances are that you’ll find our Wi-Fi.

What type of resellers does the company partner with? 

We typically partner with the same type of resellers that would sell Cisco, Ruckus and Aruba, so they are already selling Wi-Fi equipment. Ideally, they are also selling connectivity then bringing our platform on top.

Because of the analytical end of what we do, we also have some non-traditional resellers like marketing agencies. These agencies have got a chief marketing officer (CMO), who is taking our solutions, reselling them to their customers and partnering with one of the IT partners to ensure we have a multiple routes to market.

One of the challenges we have is that some traditional IT resellers do not tend to have any CMO relationships. 

We also do business with very small local resellers who sell our services to local bars and restaurants right the way to Verizon. You’ve also got your big system integrators like CDW – it’s a real broad cross section. 

It has been about finding partners that are interested in the evolution of understanding solution selling, line of business and talking about outcomes. 

What solutions can be built around Purple’s API?

I’ll give you two examples where our partners have done some really interesting things. 

One partner based in eastern Europe has taken the real-time API, looked at who is in the venue – which are typically bars and restaurants that we cater to – and created a music stream based on the demographics of the people who are in the venue at any given time. 

Another example is one of our other partners linking into digital displays. Again, looking at the type of individual who is near a digital display, and then changing content based on the proximity of either specific people, or demographic groups. 

Is that based on an algorithm? 

It is, yes. If more than 60 per cent of people in a venue are under the age of 24 then it recommends switching to certain songs. Because people log in with Facebook, we also have all of their likes. This means specific tracks are played for a targeted group of people based on their likes.

How many firms have taken Purple’s Wi-Fi solution and built around it?

I think we have about 85 or 90 white label solutions around the world; companies that have gone out and built their brand around our solution.

Can you tell us what Purple’s Internet of Things (IoT) strategy is?

For us, if you take physical spaces, there has never been any data about what goes on inside of them. Wi-Fi provides a great base layer for that intelligence. If you walk into a venue, your device starts looking for your Wi-Fi network by default, and it pings away in the background looking for that. Purple picks that up, and we say “there’s a device here (based on the MAC address) and we know it’s a Samsung or an Apple device.” We know nothing else about you, other than there is a device here. 

You can then start adding in IoT devices, heat, humidity – whatever it might be at the basic end and gauge how these factors impact the external environment. We then measure the impact these factors have. We can link pretty much any data source into our portal.

Purple website – purple.ai

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