Single Digits and OpenWiFi advance connectivity and support for Ronald McDonald House Charities

Oct. 31, 2023
The network service deployment is an example of harnessing PropTech for good.
By Joe Martin / Single Digits

While a life without Wi-Fi and a smartphone is inconceivable for many consumers, the reality of access to tech is much more complex.

For example, there are only 5.19 billion internet users, translating to around 64% of the global population. That means more than 35% of people without adequate internet connection.

Sadly, lack of internet connectivity causes real problems for those who experience it. Without access to robust Wi-Fi, we lose out on connections to not only friends and family but potential business ventures, too.

US businesses alone, for example, take part in around 11 million video conferences per day. In an increasingly digital world, being ‘off-grid’ can worsen inequality and reduce opportunity.

According to a study, the social benefits of internet connectivity include greater frequency of contact with neighbors, better access to financial support, and greater use of social amenities.

Levels of loneliness go down when people in deprived areas can access the internet, too.

So, what happened when managed network provider Single Digits, Wi-Fi technology OpenWiFi, and their software (NetExperience) and hardware (Edgecore) worked with Ronald McDonald House Charities to provide comfort and support to families of sick and injured children? The results were revolutionary.

But before we explore this case study in detail, let’s look at PropTech and improving internet connectivity — the how-to and the benefits.

What is PropTech?

PropTech is short for property technology, but that definition has a broad spectrum of tech. The real estate industry uses plenty of property technology to make buying, selling, and managing homes easier. However, PropTech’s reach goes much beyond managing property inventories.

Intelligent building systems, for example, come under the banner of PropTech, allowing homes and other spaces to use technology to make the lives of their residents easier. You’ll likely have heard of doors that can be opened by an app or connected IoT technology where one action sparks an automated response.

This is an example of intelligent building technology.

Internet connectivity is a type of PropTech, too.

While many consumers only think of Wi-Fi in the context of using it in their homes for streaming, internet connectivity can be a lifeline for some. In spaces such as assisted living centers, for example, Wi-Fi allows residents to keep in touch with friends and family, providing much-needed social interaction.

In large residential buildings, loss of connection is a common issue, especially when multiple people attempt to connect to the internet simultaneously. In university accommodation, where connectivity is crucial to academic success, maintaining a good Wi-Fi connection is paramount.

So why does PropTech matter so much?

Given that our homes are where we spend the majority of our time, technology advancements in property can have the most significant impact on well-being and prospects.

For private property owners that sell or rent out parts of their property - whether it’s a hotel or student accommodation site - having world-class connectivity throughout the site provides a better experience for all residents and even increases the value of the space.

With an increasing number of people working remotely for at least a portion of the working week, having an internet connection that doesn’t drop is critical to maintaining professional success.

For many families, a robust internet connection is the best way to make changes in their lives. It provides them with a link to the outside world for better financial success and social relationships.

Innovations in Internet Connectivity

The future of PropTech and internet connectivity in buildings is looking bright.

Companies like Single Digits are paving the way for a new type of connectivity, one that delivers the fastest Wi-Fi speeds on all devices, no matter where users are on the property. A Wi-Fi network should follow you wherever you go without having to cut off that all-important Zoom call halfway through.

Security is essential, too. With cybercrime rising, improving access to secure networks that others can’t join without permission is vital to protecting every user’s data.

Luckily, the most innovative Wi-Fi system providers ensure that all connections are secure, with encryption methods meaning users’ data is untouchable.

Likewise, access portals and Wi-Fi authentication are on the up, allowing network managers to customize the experience for each user and adapt access rules for individuals.

PropTech for Good

In an example of how this technology can be used for more than just profit, Single Digits and Open WiFi worked together with RHMC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) to deploy an OpenWiFi network on site.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities organization provides housing and resources to families of sick and injured children during their time of need.

The open-source WiFi technology, OpenWiFi and its community members, Access Point manufacturer Edgecore and cloud controller company NetExperience partnered with Single Digits to offer families seamless internet connectivity throughout their stay, allowing them to stay in touch with loved ones and access vital information.

The project leveraged community-driven OpenWiFi architecture with Single Digits’ managed services through The Connected Life Platform™, resulting in a hub of connectivity that allowed families of sick children to stay connected with the outside world while benefiting from the resources provided by RMCH.

In the spirit of using technology for food, Single Digits, OpenWiFi, NetExperience, and Edgecore all partnered on a fundraiser in which every like, comment, repost, or share on LinkedIn prompts the companies to donate.

The funds raised can fill a pantry with snacks in the RMHC of Greater Charlotte’s Ronald McDonald Family Room.

The industry’s future looks promising!

As well as PropTech being a powerful force through which companies can enjoy greater profits and private residents can stay connected, innovations in innovative building technology allow charitable organizations to provide comfortable and connected housing to families in need. That’s technology for good!

These intelligent connectivity services will set a new standard of community living with customized networks that can power infallible internet access for a whole building while achieving true IoT capability.

Joe Martin is the Vice President of Product Management for Single Digits.

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