Vividwireless goes social, open source to attract uni students

Drupal-based site to see relaunch, social networking features as service provider goes national

University students will form the target demographic of vividwireless’ push into the Sydney and Melbourne market as it ramps up the national rollout of its WiMAX network.

The service provider, a successor to Unwired and owned by Seven Group, initially launched in Perth in March this year, and has signalled plans to see a full national rollout within the next year.

The Sydney and Melbourne networks soft-launched in July, but with a relatively limited footprint based around the university campuses of Sydney University, University of New South Wales, Melbourne University and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). According to vividwireless’ online manager, Vaughn Gourlie, uni students will become the core target market in those cities until the service providers can boost its footprint.

“We saw an opportunity there in the second semester to launch over the universities, we’ve only got a small footprint of network in Sydney and Melbourne, and we felt it would best served over the Sydney and Melbourne unis,” Gourlie told Computerworld Australia. “As well as that, Unwired’s presence in Sydney and Melbourne has helped launch the vividwireless brand. That was the driving force behind it, but the networks will expand as time goes.”

The targeted marketing campaigns launched by vividwireless for uni students are expected to be accompanied by a website relaunch that will see tighter integration of social networking features such as forums, online comments as well as Facebook and Twitter fan pages.

“What I do understand is that we’re going to be ramping up on that and as we get more followers, we’re going to be hopefully using our followers to become test groups,” Gourlie said.

Like the Unwired site before it, vividwireless’ website has gone the open source route and is based entirely on the Drupal content management system; a second local win for the community after the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) also launched its Drupal site last week. The company charged with building the site, PreviousNext, has continued to work with the ABC in using Drupal to launch social networking initiatives as well as whole sites including the Hungry Beast, ABC Digital Radio and the forthcoming ABC Music site revamp.

PreviousNext’s managing partner, Owen Lansbury, found the vividwireless site required a lot more back-end work than the user interface itself; an 80:20 approximate ratio. This included “a few hundred” API calls back to the service provider’s ageing legacy systems inherited from Unwired, the RightNow cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system as well as the engin systems which run vividwireless’ VoIP offerings.

“VoIP was a massive change because they had a deal with engin and it was only signed as an agreement about three months before the actual site was supposed to launch and it more or less changed the scope of the project by about 30 per cent but didn’t actually change the launch date,” Lansbury said. “So it involved quite a lot of reprioritisation.”

“The biggest challenge was they needed to launch it so quickly, so we only had about four or five months to get the whole thing launched and ready for their product launch.”

As vividwireless continues its rollout to the next sites in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra, Gourlie said there would be future substantial changes to cope with increased customer demand.

“We’re looking at doing a redesign of the website, making sure our online shop is as simple and easy to navigate as possible. There’s a big difference having 5,000 customers to having 35,000 or 50,000 customers so to generate the conversions we need and to get the amount of traffic through the site, it needs to be simple, it needs to be user friendly, the IA needs to be right. We are working on it at the moment with Owen’s guys to improve the site, layout and usability.”

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Tags UnwiredWiMaxVividWireless

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