Canary Wharf Group, Virgin Media and Cisco announce commercial deployment of OpenRoaming for new residents of the Canary Wharf estate

Canary Wharf Group (CWG), owner of one the largest business centres in Europe, together with Cisco and Virgin Media, have announced what they describe as the first European commercial deployment of OpenRoaming for residents on the Canary Wharf estate.

Combining the convenience of mobile roaming with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, OpenRoaming allows devices to connect securely and automatically to Wi-Fi networks and roam seamlessly from one hotspot to another without the need for the user to log in. The joint initiative will also provide up to four times faster wireless speeds by deploying Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points, along with sophisticated location-based analytics to allow its clients to build unique services for their customers. 

At a time when almost all organisations are considering new ways of operating their business, OpenRoaming will enable seamless and highly secured onboarding to Wi-Fi and dramatically improve efficiencies for the more than 20,000 businesses, entrepreneurs, independent retailers, bars, cafes, workspaces, and even the school that will be based in Wood Wharf.

OpenRoaming aims to provide the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to residents of CWG’s first build to rent building from Vertus at 10 George Street, and homeowners at 10 Park Drive, CWG’s first for sale residential property, both at Wood Wharf. Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf’s new district, is a five million sq. ft mixed-use development of over 3,000 new homes, including two million sq. ft of world-class commercial space.

With OpenRoaming, residents can take their secure and trusted Wi-Fi connection with them when they walk out of their front door, through the apartment buildings, across the Canary Wharf estate and even into the Tube station. This seamless connectivity will become more prevalent in the future and will help provide highly secured Wi-Fi connectivity on the move.

As a new normal begins, the ability to connect securely and automatically across retail, residential and guest corporate environments has never been more important for those working and living in the area, as well as those visiting for work and leisure.

In Canary Wharf, Virgin Media has recently expanded its gigabit capable network, connecting more than 1,000 homes over the past year. This is part of a wider plan to connect more than 4,000 homes in the area and provide connectivity to public spaces. New residents can also benefit from a pre-installation service which allows them to be connected the same day they move into their apartments on the Canary Wharf estate.

“In today’s environment connectivity is akin to a critical utility. Our commercial, retail and residential customers are demanding access to world-class digital infrastructure and next-generation connectivity,” said Shobi Khan, Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group. “Canary Wharf Group is committed to creating an estate-wide environment in which businesses can thrive. The rollout of Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming is a vital part of our continuously evolving user experience for residents and visitors. We’re delighted to work with Cisco and Virgin Media to deliver this.”

Jeanie York, Virgin Media’s Chief Technology and Information Officer, added: “Now more than ever people are relying on our services to help stay connected to loved ones, for work, to keep informed and stay entertained. By providing a seamless and highly secure Wi-Fi platform, users can take their Wi-Fi connection with them on the go, bringing them closer to the things and people that matter most. Network innovations like this give us a taste of the future of connectivity and are delivering real benefits for consumers.”

CWG will also help landlords and tenants to understand how their real estate is being used, with data analytics to drive efficiency in workspace design using Cisco DNA Spaces. This solution enables over-the-top use cases such as location-based services, end user engagement and wayfinding to enable individuals to find the meeting room or retail store they are looking for.  

“This year, for many UK businesses, what was once deemed ‘the future of work’ became a reality almost overnight. As businesses now accelerate to a digitized and automated future, OpenRoaming and Wi-Fi 6 will play a critical role in that journey. In the next normal, strengthened digital infrastructure and robust cybersecurity are fundamental to recovery and growth. They provide the foundations for businesses to benefit in the digital economy,” said David Meads, Chief Executive, Cisco UK and Ireland. “We are proud to be partnering with Canary Wharf Group and Virgin Media to develop the future vision for this iconic site and to enable next-generation experiences for Canary Wharf’s customers, residents and shoppers.”

WBA OpenRoaming is a Wireless Broadband Alliance federation that includes trusted identity providers, allowing users to join any network that is part of the federation. It enables the network to securely auto-authenticate end user devices by using established identity providers, such as the user’s service provider or device manufacturer. Proven as a concept for the first time in February 2019, with attendees from around the world at MWC Barcelona, the network technology has now been tested in some of the most challenging environments – including Orkney, one of the remotest parts of the UK. The deployment of OpenRoaming at Canary Wharf follows the completion of a successful commercial trial. 

OpenRoaming is now backed by a global Wi-Fi federation of WBA members, including: Airmesh, Airties, Aprecomm, American Tower, Aptilo, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom Inc, Cisco, Cityroam, Comcast, Commscope, Deutsche Telekom, Eduroam, Eleven Software, GlobalReachTechnology, Google, Hub One, Hughes Systique Corp, Intel Corporation, IT&E, m3connect, Nomosphere, Orange, Purple Wifi, Samsung, Single Digits, Sun Global, Veniam, Virgin Media, WiFiCoin and Zephyrtel.

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