A new ad scheme is in the air. Brazil-based Wi-Fi provider Vex Corporation expanded into Canada this week, with plans to set up connections across the country.
Vex already operates in 35 countries in Europe and South America, cutting deals with such clients as McDonald's. The company establishes Wi-Fi connections through an advertising-based model: advertisers looking to connect with a certain demographic fund the connections for "hotspot" providers like coffee shops or airports, in exchange for online ads and in-store branding at the "hotspot." Meanwhile, venues cash in on attracting customers with free Internet access.
Vex has already made a deal with the Hamilton Tiger Cats to set up free Wi-Fi at their stadium, making it one of the first in North America to do so.
"This is something you can't get away with charging for any more," said Asif Khan, country manager of Vex Canada.
It's an ambitious plan, launching an ad-based business in the midst of a contraction, but Mr. Khan says the move to digital and multibase ad platforms means the company can take advantage of the revenue that is out there. "We see this shift happening. As smart phones become more prevalent, we see Wi-Fi in the grocery store, in the hockey rink, the gas stations."