Streaming: Make it fast and available now

Jan 13, 2020

Accom Management Guide Spring 2019

Streaming. Everyone’s doing it. Loads of it. Anywhere and at any time
of the day. It has to be fast and available now!

Nearly every free to air TV channel has an On Demand service. Foxtel can be streamed. Netflix, Stan, Kayo, You Tube. The list goes on.
There are people and businesses that have their own online YouTube channels. Streaming is here to stay and growing exponentially.

I think that most of you would be aware of how passionate New Zealanders are in regards to Rugby Union. This year, rights for the Rugby World Cup were bought by a NZ telecommunications company which live streamed the tournament on a special website for a one-off fee to users. Only the All Blacks games, semi-final and final were being played free to air on a television platform. There are 40,000 households in rural and remote areas that didn’t have access to all the World Cup broadcasts as they were unable to stream the games due to slow internet speeds. They were NOT happy!
My point being, it is all fine and dandy to say to people to “go forth and stream”, but you need to provide them with the engine to drive it and the company above did not.

Providing a great guest wifi system with unlimited data is an excellent start, but no one likes it when their Netflix buffers or the internet drops out from too many people being online at the same time and the connection not coping. It can be extraordinarily frustrating to guests and will gain you bad reviews very quickly.

The engine I am referring to is your internet connection and it needs to be fast and reliable and able to cope during busy periods such as school holidays when usage peaks, particularly between 5pm -9pm. Not to mention rainy days when usage is at a peak throughout the day. Netflix can be a great distraction for kids trapped inside while on holidays.

People want to go on holidays and have the ability to do what they do at home, at your complex. We’ve had a two bedroom unit at a resort with 15 devices connected at the same time in one unit! Let’s say there were four people staying. Four mobile phones connected, a couple of tablets, laptops, a gaming device, a Chromecast, a Google assistant, a smart watch, the possibilities are endless to what was in that unit. I’ve even had someone connect their Thermomix! Yes, even Thermomix’s need a holiday!
None of these devices would have reliably connected and stayed connected without the resort having the amount of bandwidth required to drive all this usage. That was one unit in a 40-unit complex!
One 100/40 NBN connection (if you can get close to that speed) would not be able to manage at this site.
They consulted with us in regards to the recommended number of connections required to run their guest wifi efficiently and we advised accordingly. There is no point putting a Vespa engine in a Ferrari.
The guests are happy. The resort managers are happy. It’s a win/win.

That leads on to a very important point. Your guest wifi backbone must have the functionality to utilise multiple NBN connections with the ability of adding more as the demand for bandwidth increases. Which it will and quickly. The backbone must also have the ability to throttle the bandwidth speeds to units as you still need to share around the bandwidth you get. The faster connection or more connections you have, the faster speeds you can provide your guests.
If you have access to a fibre connection at your site or can afford a fibre connection (they’re not cheap, but they are fast!) you will have a Ferrari engine to drive your guest wifi.

Some key points for guests being able to bring their own content and devices and use them at your site on your guest wifi:
• You need an in-room guest wifi system – where every unit has its own wireless modem or access point to connect to. Good strong signal.
• You need a guest wifi system that allows for an “at home” experience, whereby every unit has its own secure network. Guests log in once with a device and you are online – just as you would be at home. This allows for the easy and secure connectivity of all devices the guests brings. They don’t have to go through a login screen.
• You need a fast and reliable internet connection or connections – you may need multiple NBN connections or a fibre connection depending on your complex’s size and you need to offer unlimited data to your guests.

This leads me to casting. Casting gives guests the ability to cast their own content from their own subscriptions and device to your smart TV and stream them. Or they can plug in their Google Chromecast, Apple TV or gaming device and stream it on the unit’s TV.
Casting is one of the top three sought-after features a guest wants and is a core feature that must be included in your guest wifi system.
Important: For guests to be able to cast, you must ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate the devices on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to that unit’s TV. You do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto a guest’s TV in a different unit!

Guests want to bring their own streaming subscriptions; they don’t want to have to enter their account details on your TV.
More current smart TV’s have built-in casting ability, so no need to purchase external casting devices.

Give them great wifi signal and fast internet and you will have very happy guests.

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