Forest City Ratner taps Boingo for Wi-Fi services

Infotech Lead America: Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) has tied up with Boingo Wireless to provide Wi-Fi services at FCRC’s open-air lifestyle center.

Boingo’s Wi-Fi services will become available in fall 2012.

As per the agreement, Boingo will install, manage and operate free-to-consumer Wi-Fi in the common areas of Westchester’s Ridge Hill.

Boingo’s services will also include customer support and sponsorship sales. Shoppers will be able to access Boingo Wi-Fi on their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, allowing them to stay connected, share their shopping experience, make reservations at a center restaurant or book tickets at one of Ridge Hill’s entertainment venues.

Westchester’s Ridge Hill, FCRC’s 1.3 million square foot regional, mixed-use center, is set to attract more than 6 million visitors this year, with anchor tenants including Lord & Taylor, Whole Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI and Showcase Cinema De Lux. FCRC currently owns and operates 32 properties in the New York metropolitan area, including more than 20 retail locations, as well as office and residential real estate.

“We wanted to provide our shoppers with fast and reliable Wi-Fi services, and Boingo is a perfect fit, given its track record and experience in large-scale consumer venues,” said Katherine Welch, senior vice president of retail development for Forest City Ratner Companies.

“Boingo Wi-Fi will allow on-the-go customers to take full advantage of the relaxing environment and unique amenities at Ridge Hill, without missing a beat online,” said Joe DeStasio, business development manager for Boingo Wireless.

The Wi-Fi services will also provide additional opportunities for retailers to engage with customers via their mobile devices, which have an increasing importance at retail.

According to Deloitte Consulting, smartphones influence 5.1 percent of annual retail store sales, with mobile influence set to quadruple in the next four years. The study also found that smartphone users are 14 percent more likely to make a purchase in-store than non-smartphone users.

In addition to FCRC, Boingo operates wireless services at locations managed by five of the top shopping center developers in the nation, with partners including Westfield, Caruso Affiliated, Glimcher Realty Trust, Cafaro and Urban Retail.

With the addition of Westchester’s Ridge Hill to Boingo’s shopping and lifestyle center portfolio, the company now manages networks at more than 40 shopping destinations with collective annual foot traffic of more than 300 million people.

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