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On New Year’s Eve, Latino rapper Pitbull gave a televised concert in Miami. Raleigh/Durham-based SignalShare built a Wi-Fi network and offered a custom fan portal for the smartphones of the 45,000+ concert goers.
Today, the company announced that it is buying Incubite, the software developer that created the HTML5-based Web portal first used that night, called Live-Fi nGage. The Mountain View, Califor.-based developer had created a cross-platform, browser-based messaging app called Chorus.im. Deal terms were not disclosed.
One of the first companies to network for large event crowds, SignalShare discovered the issues involved when it first started to work at these events in 2009.
“The Wi-Fi wasn’t capable of handling the density of mobile devices,” CTO and cofounder Joe Costanzo told VentureBeat. So the company builds its own Wi-Fi network for the venues.
Then there was the fact that it was difficult getting attendees to download the event’s mobile app.
“People were defaulting into their native social apps,” he said, talking to their friends through, say, Facebook or Twitter.
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“We looked for a partner” to help address the app downloading issue, he told us, “and came across Incubite.”
SignalShare’s resulting browser-based platform, now called Live-Fi nGage, shows the event’s custom page as soon as users log into the free Wi-Fi. It allows them to optionally enter email addresses and phone numbers, which is later made available to the musician/sports team and event sponsor. The platform also offers anonymous, aggregated data on user behavior.
Users can text others, access their usual social networks like Facebook or Twitter, or talk one-on-one with public safety personnel within nGage.
The event can also offer event-related news, photos, social posts, e-merchandise, crowd-based voting, and targeted promotions such as for the concession stand.
Costanzo said his company’s competitors include AT&T and Verizon, which also build networks inside venues, but he added that SignalShare sometimes “partners with them.” He noted that a company called Aloompa offers event-based apps, but it also has to get people to download them.
“We are uniquely at the crossroads of high density Wi-Fi [combined] with data analytics and social media,” he said.
The offices of both Incubite and SignalShare will remain in their current areas.
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