Interview about smart tourism with NINJA WiFi

The Center Smart Tourism is constantly reminding all tourism enterprises and DMOs of the importance of providing tourists with high-speed Internet. If tourists do not have a stable Internet, then no online services and smart tourism are available to them. One of the ways to provide tourists with the Internet during their trip is the service of renting Wi-Fi routers. In many countries there are companies providing similar services for tourists. Representatives of such a company, NINJA WiFi, from Japan kindly agreed to answer our questions about how this company contributes to the development of smart tourism.

Question 1. What is the innovation of your technology? What makes it unique?

NINJA WiFi: NINJA WiFi is one of the leading players in the Wi-Fi rental sector in Japan. This service is important to provide an Internet connection for overseas visitors, as there are few free Wi-Fi locations in Japan. Moreover, it provides a secure connection so that personal data such as bank details will not be leaked, which can occur when you use a free Wi-Fi location. It is unique because you can make an advance reservation and pick up your router as soon as you arrive in Japan, then return it just before you leave if you choose airport counters. Also, one Wi-Fi router can be shared by up to 5 devices.

Question 2. What is the path of evolution of your technology?

NINJA WiFi: Currently, only 4G Wi-Fi is available, but as 5G networks feature lower latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth compared to 4G, we are planning to evolve into 5G in the future.

Question 3. How does your technology help usual tourists? How does it work?

NINJA WiFi: First, our network can be used anywhere in Japan, from the center of Tokyo to a countryside village filled with nature. For example, if you book a tour, you can use the Wi-Fi connection to check the reservation status, contact the tour staff, and the use a map app to find the meeting spot, all while on the go.

You could also use the Wi-Fi connection to download a translation app, so you can read your lunch menu, and converse with people whom you don’t share a common language with.

Question 4. What do tourists say about your technology? How would you evaluate their opinion?

NINJA WiFi: A lot of our customers say it’s a must have and that they would be happy to refer us to their friends or family. The reason is that it is simple to order and use our service with no hidden fees. We also have English-speaking staff and customer support is available not only via email or phone, but also on our Facebook account. We are hoping to expand this to more SNS platforms in the future.

We are very grateful for our customers’ support and would like to thank them all for renting our Wi-Fi routers every time they come to Japan. We hope they will continue to have a good opinion of our service.

Question 5. Does your technology contribute towards achievement of SDGs and ecological improvement? If so, could you explain how?

NINJA WiFi: Our service plays a vital role in achieving SDGs and ecological improvement since our rental devices can be used as many times as needed. This reduces electronic trash as each Wi-Fi user does not need to purchase their own device.

Internet access also helps users find their own way to their accommodations, tourist attractions and more, reducing unnecessary pollution from taxis that take you to the wrong place.

Question 6. How does your technology interact with other touristic organizations, such as DMO, hotels, guides, transport? What benefits of collaboration does it give them, or could give them in the future?

NINJA WiFi: Our service is being introduced by many information centers and hotel concierges to tourists. This helps tourists find mobile Wi-Fi if they realized they needed it after they had already arrived in Japan, and tourists can sign up as soon as they are told about us. In addition to often giving their visitors a discount, they can also help tourists make a reservation if there is language barrier and can answer some of the tourists’ questions. Some locations can even help customers with same-day pick-ups.

Question 7. Could you provide examples of real-life applications of your technology? A link supporting any example would be great.

NINJA WiFi: Users can look for local shops using a map app, keep in contact with worried friends and family who weren’t able to come with them, and can warn them of incoming natural disasters (such as earthquakes) in time for the user to get to a safe spot..

Question 8. How do you convince potential users that your technology is necessary and useful?

NINJA WiFi: We can provide users with the convenience of being constantly connected to the internet in areas where there is no other connection, which helps them from getting lost. Many people are constantly on their phones, so with our routers they can continue life as usual and check their SNS accounts, and research locations they want to visit. Also, Wi-Fi is a necessity if they had a health scare and had to go to a hospital, where Wi-Fi is rare.

Also, a major benefit of mobile Wi-Fi routers is the ability to connect multiple devices to a single router, so couples, friends, and families travelling together can all share the connection.

Question 9. Do you think that your technology contributes towards development of smart tourism? If yes, please explain how.

NINJA WiFi: A mobile Wi-Fi router can be used to promote tourism by providing data wherever tourists visit and helping them find places to visit. This means users will not be limited to just major tourist attractions but can allow them to travel to more local destinations, which they otherwise may not have gone to.

Question 10. What do you think of the concept of smart tourism, tourism of the future and the role of your enterprise in this future?

NINJA WiFi: Smart tourism is part of the future of the tourism industry and will grow as technology develops. As time passes, the Internet is becoming more and more of a necessity in everyday life, so more and more tourists will want fast and safe Internet connections while traveling. Thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, people have started to understand just how important it is to be connected to each other, and people traveling overseas are especially likely to want to stay connected with family and friends back home, which can only be accomplished with the Internet.

The interview was conducted by Dmitry Tin, founder of the Center Smart Tourism.

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