Covington Wi-Fi makes the cover

COVINGTON, Ky. - Many readers of Fortune magazine will soon learn this about Covington: It’s a “hotspot.”


Because it’ll say those words, next to a picture of Covington’s skyline, right on Fortune’s cover.
Sort of.
Cincinnati Bell has purchased an “informational cover wrap” touting its partnership with the non-profit Renaissance Covington in bringing a unique public Wi-Fi network to much of Covington’s Central Business District.
As the name implies, a cover wrap is a separate cover on top of the magazine designed to mimic Fortune’s typical look but featuring instead a paid ad for a company or an initiative. Counting the inside of the cover, the back cover and the inside of the back, that’s four pages of advertising for Bell and Covington.
“We’re absolutely grateful for this publicity, and it’s just another vehicle through which the word is getting out about all the great things happening in Covington,” said Katie Meyer, executive director of Renaissance Covington, or RCov.
Meyer’s picture and the work of Renaissance Covington - a nonprofit that works to bring vitality to downtown - is featured on the inside cover of the wrap.
The wrap will adorn a thousand or so copies of the October issue of Fortune, which typically is mailed out in late September, Cincinnati Bell officials said.
“This is a great audience for us to reach, because people who read Fortune tend to be action- and results-oriented decision-makers,” said Covington Economic Development Director Tom West. “The downtown Wi-Fi project is one more way that Covington is embracing innovation and Smart City initiatives to leverage the dynamic energy in downtown to attract and retain both small and large businesses.”

To see all four pages of Cincinnati Bell's cover wrap, click HERE.
RCov and Cincinnati Bell launched the network on June 8 with the Light Up Covington block party.
The network does three things: 
  • Provides wireless connections in public areas like sidewalks and outdoor tables in the Renaissance District, which is an area roughly bounded by 2nd Street, 10thStreet, Madison Avenue, and Scott Boulevard.
  • Uses a captive portal to provide wayfinding information for visitors, such as names and locations of restaurants, bars, shops, and activities.
  • Collects information about visitors’ habits and shares that data with participating downtown businesses. 
Data includes things like the number of people who are connected to the downtown Wi-Fi at any particular time, how long they stay connected, the day and time of week they connect, and whether they’re first-time visitors, Meyer said.
That can help businesses make data-driven decisions like how late to stay open and what days to close, she said.
The data is revealing. For example, between June 8 and Aug. 14: 
  • 167,642 separate people who had their Wi-Fi enabled visited downtown, altogether making 904,467 visits. 
  • 766 of those visitors created a user name and password to access the captive portal. 
  • At any given time on a weekend, between 1,000 and 2,000 visitors are Wi-Fi enabled through the network. 
  • The hours around lunchtime on Fridays see the most traffic. Sundays see significantly less traffic than any other day of the week. 
Eventually, Meyer said, the organization hopes to be able to track foot traffic to see how people are walking and moving about downtown.
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