"SkiStar bought Netgraph Connect for its simplicity - got customer insight in the bargain"
Quick to get started
When SkiStar invested in Netgraph’s guest network solution, the main goal was to simplify management. Over time, Skistar has discovered that Netgraph Connect is a valuable source of customer data and serves as a unifying link between multiple services.
If you’re a ski fan, you’ll probably recognize the name SkiStar. The company’s activities include Skipass, accommodation and other things related to skiing trips to places like Åre, Vemdalen, Sälen, etc., also in Norway. Since at least the turn of the century, this has meant increasing customer demand for internet access in ski resorts.
For SkiStar, this meant a lot of problems, until 2014 when it took a comprehensive approach to internet access, or guest network as it is called.
Skistar had several different guest network solutions and in some places no solutions at all. It was expensive, complex and complicated for both Skistar and skiers.
Skistar had some acute problems with guest networks. Perhaps worst of all, from a business perspective, was the lack of access to the data generated by guests’ internet use and the inability to coordinate internet access with other services.
Control of the data was held by many different external actors, to which Skistar had no access.
Practical use of data
The solution for SkiStar was to use Netgraph Connect to manage guest networks. In fact, SkiStar became Netgraph’s first customer. Today, SkiStar uses the data obtained from the use of Netgraph to, for example, keep track of how many people are in different places, such as warming huts. Such information can be used for capacity planning and in some cases also for planning ancillary services.
The aspect of accessing data from guests’ internet usage was not something that was thought of before 2014, that realization has grown over the time that Netgraph Connect has been used.
One tip for companies and organizations that have not taken a comprehensive approach to guest networks is to think about the data aspect. Certainly the immediate benefit of an effective guest network solution is to simplify, reduce costs and provide better internet access for customers. But there are more things to take advantage of.
Another major benefit that may not be obvious is that the guest network solution can serve as a gateway to a wide range of services. Onboarding, as it is called in modern Swedish.
Skistar has services for weather information, digital keys to accommodation, buying ski passes, and more. The different offers, including guest networks, can be accessed via a single user account and login. This makes it easy for Skistar to provide the various services via their app, the SkiStar app.
Another advantage is that Skistar will know where visitors are logging in from, both geographically and from which other services they may be coming.
The purchase of Netgraph provides a unified approach to GDPR requirements and other user privacy issues.
Skistar can easily and legally determine whether a customer is processable. A customer can indicate their preferences for different types of services and information in one place.
Netgraph Connect is now available in all SkiStar’s destinations, ranging from warming huts and valley stations to hotels and holiday villages. There are well over 1,000 access points and more are being added as needed. The solution is used not only for ski guests, but also for SkiStar’s conference operations. For example, specific configurations can be defined for entire conference groups. Visitors to the company’s offices can also access the internet via Netgraph.
But ski tourists account for the lion’s share. There are about one million user accounts in total and on a typical day during the season there can be 10,000 users online at the same time. A convenient solution is that a conference participant who stays on after a conference to ski privately can use the same account in both cases.
Quick to get started
The implementation of Netgraph 2014 for Skistar went very smoothly, about one week. At SkiStar, Netgraph Connect has been integrated directly with the Cisco routers the company uses. How this has happened is not something that SkiStar has had to worry about. Netgraph can also be used without direct integration with Cisco routers.
With regard to the integration of various services with Netgraph at SkiStar, for example to organize joint login, it has been possible to use its existing APIs (programming interfaces). It has been possible to reuse existing customer registers without problems.
Operations have been very stable. Netgraph does most of it because it is a cloud service. Skistar’s own efforts in terms of administration extend to entering addresses for different devices, such as smart TVs, checking usage statistics and the like.