SAN JOSE, CA — New from VenDynamics is a program that allows vending operators to install pay-for-use Wi-Fi “hot spots” in locations that have high-speed Internet connections. The company notes that retailers ranging from Starbucks to McDonald’s have enjoyed substantial success by offering customers access to the Internet over a high-speed wireless connection.
The VenDynamics program includes the ZuluComm wireless router, which plugs into the location’s Internet connection, and a Web-based service that permits the operator with a ZuluComm account to charge for access and to manage the ZuluComm routers in the field.
In use, the operator arranges with the location to connect the router. Once installed, it will identify itself as an access point to a “Wi-Fi”-compliant device (usually a patron’s laptop computer) and offer service to the patron at an attractive price. VenDynamics reports good results with $6 per hour, which compares very favorably to the $10 per hour charged by Starbucks. If the patron accepts the offer, payment is made through PayPal. The proceeds are deposited monthly at the operator’s direction, and can be transferred electronically or by check.
“Installing the ZuluComm box can take as little as five minutes, depending on the location,” said VenDynamics president Carl Morcate. “Your experience after the first one or two locations will help you speed up the install process.” The system ships with cable, power adapter and router, he added. “It basically is plug and play.”
The router has a coverage radius of 200 to 400 ft., and anyone within range sees the signal. If the patron is in a place that offers Internet access at a higher price, said Morcate, he or she will have every reason to choose the operator’s ZuluComm service instead.