MiFi… WiFi for me.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Flickr, Higher Education, Lifecasting, Marketing, Photos, Recruitment, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Web, YouTube | Posted on 06-03-2009


If you haven’t heard yet about the awesomeness of the MiFi and how it’s going to change the way you think about media, allow me to explain.

The MiFi (available through Verizon and Sprint) calls itself the ‘intelligent mobile hotspot’.

Thinner and shorter than an iPhone, and as simple to use as pressing an on/off button, the MiFi is essentially a router in your pocket.  You’re able to connect up to 5 devices to it and use the signal.  On Verizon, I typically am on a 3G network and have averaged a 2.0mpbs download speed.  I rarely notice a lag in page loads.

At last check, the price of the MiFi was $99 with a $50 rebate. A $40/month subscription gets you a measly 250mb of data.  Upgrade to the $60/month package and get 5GB of data.

So how does this affect my job?

Two words: Streamlined Media.

With a MiFi, you have internet whereever you go, for whatever device you need (as long as Verizon really is everywhere they say they are!) To explain streamlined media and how you can take advantage of it, let me offer a few examples.

1) Event Photos live to the web

Go pick up an Eye Fi 4GB Explore Video SD Card for $99 and put it in your camera.  The Eye Fi allows you to upload photos as soon as you hit a pre-registered wi-fi network.  With the MiFi, you no longer need to wait to get back to the office to send photos. Do it on the fly, right from the event!!

Here’s what you can do with the Eye Fi:

1) Set the card to instantly upload photos to Flickr with a tag for the event.  We’ll pretend it’s Commencement. So we set up the Eye Fi to upload each photo taken to Flickr with the tag commencement2009.

2) Set up a page on your .edu website that will show all of the photos taken.  Link to it from your social web efforts, the home page, the commencement page, the live video streaming page, and more.

3) Put some simple code on it that will pull in photos from Flickr. (Put your username where the red is.  Find it here.) Use the API to create something like:

<iframe align="center" src="http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/
frameBorder="0" width="750" scrolling="no" height="750"></iframe>

4) Go wild!  Take photos and they’ll automatically be put on your .edu website.  No need to get back to a computer and get them uploaded, have someone resizing images and putting them on the web.  Streamlined.

2) Live Video anywhere on campus

If you haven’t realized that it’s time to get serious about video, wake up.  Video is becoming increasingly important and with the MiFi you can provide it.  Whether it’s using the same steps above to do YouTube videos on the fly or have a uStream feed from anywhere you have a signal.

And remember this that I talked about last January?? Next week, it will be 2 years to the day since I put together the plan for it at Butler.  With the MiFi, it just became that much easier. And yes, it’s coming to a campus near you very soon.

3) Campus Tour Enhancement!

This one comes from Adam Epstein at WPI (@epsteada on Twitter, blogs at http://epsteada.com/), and some discussion we had while I was at NEACAC last week. (If you want to see the slidecast of my presentation, it’s over here.) Adam talked about the possibilities of photos during the campus tour, and when the students arrive back to the Admissions office…. BOOM!  They’re already on the screen as they walk back in.  For a tech-savvy campus like WPI, that’s pretty cool stuff to show off.

So what can you think of?

There are probably 101 other ways to use this new technology, what do you have in mind? Where are we going from here as we get one step closer to an internet chip in our skin? :)   Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and next time you’re at a conference, look for the BlueFuego connection.  And if you need an internet fix, come find me for the password. :)


Comments posted (12)


was very excited about being able to share a connection when traveling and at conferences. happens all the time.

But I didn’t connect it with wifi vide SD cards . . . that gets crazy in a hurry.

Thanks Brad, very very cool.

Careful now with points #1 & 2. Pulled from the VZW TOS:

Data Plans and Features: Prohibited Uses. You may not use our Data Plans and Features for illegal purposes or purposes that infringe upon others’ intellectual property rights, or in a manner that interferes with other users’ service, interferes with the network’s ability to fairly allocate capacity among users, or that otherwise degrades service quality for other users. Examples of prohibited usage include: (i) server devices or host computer applications, including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine–to–machine connections, [...trimmed...] By way of example only, you may not use a Data Plan or Feature for web broadcasting, or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices.

I’m sure they won’t notice it if you do it once a month or whatever, but if you do it on a consistent basis, I’m sure they’ll notice the long streaming connections.

Good points. With only 5gb transfer, I wouldn’t assume people would do it for every event on campus, but a great point to those who would consider it. A typical event with even a 2gb SD card several times a month would quickly add up, and before you know it the .05/mb fee kicks in. Beware!

I remember that early hype for the MiFi talked about it having an SD slot built in for additional “wireless” storage, and even an embedded processor + linux to run apps. Did that hit the production model?

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i always watch streaming videos online, they are sort of my past time.’-:

video streaming is very needed on sites that do videoblogging and sites like youtube.-~.

video streaming is very popular nowadays because everyone have a broadband internet’,’

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