Home to the nation’s priceless collection of historic portraits, the National Portrait Gallery opened in 1856, and is the oldest of its kind in the world. It welcomes in excess of 2m visitors annually through its doors.
The gallery wanted to explore ways Wi-Fi could improve both the visitor experience and the day-to-day work of its 176 staff. But their existing infrastructure could not cope with these increased demands.
After receiving a government grant, the National Portrait Gallery approached LAN3 to guide them through the process.
Situated on London’s Leicester Square, the Grade 1 listed National Portrait Gallery is a work of art in itself, which presents its own challenges. Many of the 60 installed access points had to be camouflaged to ensure they were sympathetic to the building’s design, with great care taken to not distract from the architecture and artwork.
Once installed, the Wi-Fi began to support the running of the building management system, which is used to control humidity, heat and light, ensuring all the precious pieces of artwork remain in prime condition for years to come.
The public Wi-Fi enables visitors to roam the gallery, and via Bluetooth receive information on each work of art, as part of enhancing the experience and educating the visitor, allowing visitors to interact with each portrait.
“We are collecting data on footfall and visitor origin. This is helpful to use when considering site layout for the gallery, shop and cafe.
"As a result of the data our shop has been relocated and revenue from this has increased."
Infrastructure Specialist, National Portrait Gallery
After installation, the difference was immediate.
Andrew Pope, Infrastructure Specialist at the National Portrait Gallery, commented: - “We now have seamless coverage across the whole gallery and offices. The solution was easy to deploy, and is easy to maintain and monitor from any third party location. People are really happy - it simply just works.”
Additionally, the gallery has started to use the new Wi-Fi to address business concerns that simply wouldn’t have been possible previously. Keen to ensure the shop was positioned in the gallery to ensure maximum footfall, visitor data was gathered and patterns measured using analytics within Aerohive's management platform. As a result, the shop was relocated, and revenue has increased subsequently.
Pope continued: - “We like the information it gives us, with daily reporting showing peaks and troughs in dwell time in the gallery.
“We are collecting data on footfall and visitor origin. This is helpful to use when considering site layout for the gallery, shop and café. As a result of the data our shop has been relocated and revenue from this has increased.
“We are looking at how we can use this data further to innovate in the gallery.”