Well maybe not deep-fried or on a stick – but WiFi us coming to the Minnesota State Fair this year! According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, DragNFly, an Eden Prairie-based company will be providing free WiFi near the Grandstand this year…
“We can definitely provide DragNFly with exposure to a wide audience, almost 1.8 million people over the 12-day run of the fair,” said Renee Pearson, the fair’s deputy general manager for entertainment and marketing.
A small but growing number of fair visitors request Wi-Fi each year, Pearson said. In the past, the fair provided only vendors with Wi-Fi service, but last year it quietly offered free public Wi-Fi around its information booths.
“This is the first year we’re publicizing that Wi-Fi’s available,” Pearson said.
Johnson’s marketing pitch to clients is simple: Not only does providing free Wi-Fi satisfy consumers, it also can be a marketing tool. He provides clients with monthly statistics about how many people use the Wi-Fi, how long they are connected and how much data they download or upload. The report also tells clients what device consumers are using to access the Internet, such as an iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry phone, e-reader or PC.
The report to clients doesn’t try to identify users or what they downloaded.
Years ago I used to work at the Fair at the Wonders of Technology building at the MRNet booth. We brought computers with Internet connections to the building and introduced people to the Internet. While it wasn’t new to everyone I suspect at least half of the people who visited us (around 1995) had not seen the Internet before. It was a great opportunity to whet some appetites and talk to communities about how to get connected all over the state. Bearing that in mind, my only wish with this deal was that it also came with a kiosk where people could check out WiFi on various devices – again to whet some appetites or help parents understand what their kids are doing and to introduce the advantages to different sectors, segments and geographies in the state.