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Posts Tagged ‘mifi

Today’s reflection has two parts. The first is a technical one about mifi devices offered by Changi Recommends. The other is about the level of service of that chain store.

The Philippines has been an annual “mecca” for me since 2013 thanks to speaking engagements. In 2015, I decided to try a travel router (mifi) for a short engagement.

This year I did the same, but received a different device and had a different experience.

Mifi device.

Last year, I had a device that I could switch on and it would connect to a local SIM-based data service. It was intuitive to use. Switch on when I needed Internet access, switch off when I did not.

This year I had one in which I had to activate a data plan every 24 hours. It also took a long time to start up, and in between restarts, reset its SSID from the one printed on a sticker on its side.

Last year’s device was fully-charged as promised when I first switched it on. This year’s device was only half-charged even though the counter staff said it was fully-charged. Perhaps he had a positive outlook: Half-full could be rounded up.

The more recent experience was unnerving and a step backwards.

The chain store at our airport calls itself Changi Recommends. I cannot recommend the product or the service given how local telcos are stepping up their game and how it is getting easier every year to get a local prepaid SIMs from kiosks while overseas.
 

 
Each time I return from the Philippines, I get a rude reminder how lacking our service standards are.

When I returned from my trip, I decided to buy a Pokémon plush toy as I had a receipt that offered me a discount.

I followed the instructions on the receipt and approached a Changi Recommends counter only to be told, “No stock, go to the other counter in this terminal.”

I walked to the other counter and was told, “You need to go to the counter in Terminal 3.”

So I trotted over to that terminal only to be told at that counter, “Collect downstairs”. Where? “Downstairs!”

I had ask a weary-looking person at an information counter exactly where this downstairs collection point was before I finally found it.

The things we live with if we do not know how much better the service could be. The things we put up with when we do.

Even if the counter staff are not as warm or polite as the average Filipino seems to be, could they not communicate better and let all counters deliver the same message?

If they do not, the chain should change their name to Wild Goose Chase or Changi Not Recommended.

When Singapore rolled out its first Wireless@SG initiative to provide free wifi to the masses, it was described by someone I know as very secure. It was so secure that very few people could actually log in.

wireless-workshop

When I facilitate my workshops at various institutes, I rely on my own Wireless@Workshops thanks to my mifi device.

The device not only helps me access Google Edu Apps and Edmodo, it also helps me present wirelessly in two ways.

As I no longer own a remote presenter, I use an app, Unified Remote (UR), to control my computer or flip Google Slides with my iPhone.

I can also run the presentation off my iPhone or iPad and showcase apps with the help of AirServer. I wirelessly mirror my mobile screen onto my computer which is connected to a projector.

The AirServer and UR server applications run in the background on my MacBook Air and communicate with my handheld devices over my mifi wireless network.

This allows me to walk among the participants instead of being rooted to one spot. Even though those parts of the workshop are presentation-centric, this sends yet another subtle message that you can do things a bit differently to connect with people.


I have invested in an LTE travel router, the Huawei E5372.

I have written before that BYOD is often about BYOC. This device not only helps me when I travel, it also helps me with my consulting work.

With a mifi device, I do not have to depend on others. I can create my own ad hoc wireless network, dictate my own policy of use, and get the job done. This could mean conducting wireless presentations, feeding five to ten learning stations, or getting something done at any time and any place I can find a 3G or LTE signal.

No mess, no fuss, no muss. A plus: I model for others how they can do the same thing cheaply and sustainably.

It is an investment that pays off when you consider what you get back in terms of peace of mind and a reputation for great work!


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