Wifi win: a JLR success

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Wifi is an essential tool of the modern motoring journalist and my frustrations with hotels’ profiteering here are well documented. 

Solution? The sort of excellent advance thinking demonstrated by Jaguar Land Rover on the recent LR Freelander 2/Jaguar XJ AWD launch in Canada.

I received the wifi access code at the hotel in Montreal, and I didn’t think too much of it. All good press offices and manufacturers understand the need for wifi on events these days: I was immediately online and tweeting in the lift on the way up to my room. Brilliant.

Naturally, it was multi-device, too, and it seemed robust enough to deal with the demands of us all filing copy, checking Facebook, posting news stories, tweeting, Skyping home and wiring images back to base (the latter is something that hotel wifi usually falls over on: cue shared moans from us over the launch breakfast).

It only clicked the next day, once we were on the road and visiting the first coffee stop. Any wifi? Why, certainly, sir (despite us randomly being in the middle of a maple forest, greeted by Father Christmas. Yes, really). OK, the router itself needed to be turned off and on again for us all to click in, but once this techie solution had been deployed, the tweets could flow and the emails could be checked once again.

Two stages of genius here: one, having wifi at all, and two, it using the same password as back in the hotel. Impressive.

YES, THE PR TEAM HAD BOUGHT SATELLITE INTERNET TO THE CANADIAN WILDERNESS

It was the same at the lunch stop: same code, same fast-access network. Only this time, I spotted how – in the car park were the two giant satellites powering it all. Yes, the PR team had bought satellite internet to the Canadian wilderness. Total respect, JLR: we need it, you need it, you made sure we all had it.

This theme would continue at every stop we had throughout the two-day event. It enabled every stop to be productive and we could maximise the fact that when we were driving, the office back in the UK was working and wanting things from us, which could be provided. Every journalist I spoke to said what a godsend it was – and how many hundreds of pounds it was saving us through having wifi rather than relying on 3G.

This will have taken thought: installing satellite internet at every coffee stop, and ensuring the access details were the same, isn’t the work of a moment. Nobody’s done it before, in my experience – I’ve never been able to draft a blog post from the middle of wilderness before – so full credit to JLR for doing it.

Here’s hoping such a thing can become a staple of future product launches: it will make everyone’s lives easier, and make the event itself much more productive.

Not to mention all the tweets and Facebook updates that will ensue: after all, if there’s a hashtag at an event, you can bet we’ll be using it…

+ The growth of JLR

+ Launch Diary: 2013 Land Rover Freelander 2

+ Launch Pad: the four-wheel drive Jaguars

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