Mobile hotspots, what are you using?

Mike
I am considering arming my booths with mobile hotspots and was wondering if anyone would recommend what they are currently using. I am a Verizon Wireless customer so their MiFi is an option. I am just wondering if others are using pay as you go or are running them through their cellular providers?
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Comments

  • 35 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • catchphotobooths
    i use a Verizon 4G LTE card. It runs me $50 a month fro 5GB of data. It easily covers all of the events I upload to FB from the booth. I tried a pre-paid 3G card and it didn't do real well. I think it was with cricket.
  • LorneChesal
    I'm in Canada, so specific carriers and such may be of no value.

    However, I stumbled on a piece of software that should be of interest to anyone thinking of this.

    Connectify. >> http://www.connectify.me/

    It turns the wifi card in your laptop, or PC into a hotspot. Yep, RX and TX on the same device. Saves the hassle of a router or mifi device etc.

    Check it out.
  • Mike
    This is the second time I have heard connectify mentioned in reason days. Guess I should have a closer look at their product.
  • socialbooth
    Not sure i can offer any use considering i'm in the UK but I use the personal hotspot on my Iphone4
    Works a charm
  • scottishmovies
    Had a quick look at connectivity.me and liked the idea of it and now I'm really intrigued about the iPhone 4 - tell me more!! (please)
  • Mike
    Lorne would you be willing to share how your process works with turning your booth's PC into a hotspot and then getting that out to the cloud?
    I know I am interested and it appears others are too.
    Thanks
  • socialbooth
    I believe the personal hotspot option is only visible if your iPhone account has tethering active on your account.
    I am on T-Mobile (UK) and have it enabled. It's in the settings menu (or Network/Cellular if you've never enabled it). Once enabled you can specify a wifi password and connect your device(s) to the iphone hotspot. Just watch your data, if you are limited to a set allowance you could swallow that up quickly.
    more info is over here I think:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4517
  • LorneChesal
    Lorne would you be willing to share how your process works with turning your booth's PC into a hotspot and then getting that out to the cloud?
    I know I am interested and it appears others are too.
    Thanks



    sure...


    In my workflow, I use 2 apps that rely on the small private wifi network I make at each event. Mobile Mouse and Printbureau. Both are IOS apps that have a Windows based server application to make them work.

    Mobile Mouse lets me use my Iphone (or Ipad) to trigger Breeze using keys from the NUMERIC keypad in Mobile Mouse. Using an AHK script, I have each profile (I have 2) mapped to a key press. Sp when I press 7 on my iphone, AHK sends a SHFT-CTL-1 to Breeze which switches to Profile 1. When I press 8 on my iphone, AHK sends a SHFT-CTL-2 to Breeze and I get profile 2.

    I can also press 9 on my iphone which AHK sends as ww to Breeze and that toggles between Color and Tinted.

    Printbureau is an app that lets me connect to the folder of final JEPGs, select one and send it to my printer, without stropping the booth. It runs in the background. I use this for those courtesy reprints for gramma. If I add the cloud, there is also a way to email in real time directly to a client from within Printbureau

    This is all done because I have a wifi network that Connectify sets up using the NIC in my PC to BOTH transmit and receive. The same function as a hardware router, without the hardware. ie: Fewer cables, plugs etc.

    If I choose to, I use a USB data stick to then hook this network to the cloud. I say choose to because my experience has been that wedding events don't appreciate or grasp this concept. Other non-drunk-people events do, so I typically offer it then.

    So the only extra step is firing up the data stick LAST. To be clear, go online as the last step. This is because Mobile Mouse and Printburea will have already grabbed IP address from my private network. If you get online first, they will be trying to grab from your Datastick's ISP. That will likely be problematic. It is for me.

    FYI, my ISP has a pay-as-you-go plan that is ideal. I pay twenty cents a minute for connection time with no data limit. The maximum cost per day ius capped at $5. So my hard cost for Internet is a known $5 a gig maximum, regardless of the data moved.

    Have I answered the question?
  • Mike
    Yes very much so. Thank you for sharing Lorne. I do wish we I had a $5 max per day limit on a pay-as-you-go data plan, but alas the US telco's are much more greedy than that.
  • funfotostudioz
    Thanks Lorne, that was excellent. Reprinting without stopping the booth is brilliant.
  • Unknown
    We use Clear which is not available in all parts of the country - I think they started in the West Coast and are heading East. I live in a rural area and they have the best reception for me AND there isn't a 5G limit like there is on Verizon and AT&T.

    http://www.clear.com/coverage
  • Mike
    They are near my service area, but on the very edge :(
  • Unknown
    You can use a free hotspot on your iPhone if you jailbreak....
    I use PdaNet on my 4S, no additional charge, but you must jailbreak to get it.
  • VoguePhoto
    I just came across this discussion and found it very interesting but I want to understand it a little more.@Mike when you say you want to make your booth a mobile hotspot I am wondering why, what are the benefits and how would you use it?I read @Lorne's workflow and I see how he is using it but I was wondering are others doing this too.Just curious, I have some trouble with my booth so have not been out on a job but donating to a charity event Saturday. Just hope all goes well so I can go after some paid jobs. But I like to read the discussions and learn and see what others are doing.Thanks,
  • Soundsations
    Thank instant uploading images to websites.
  • Mike
    Yes real-time uploading to facebook, twitter, website, etc.
  • alice
    Yowza! I really want to understand this! I want to offer real time uploading (I think!!!) but I just can't sort out all the jargon! I have Verizon 4G LTE I can take with me -- I downloaded DropBox, as someone suggested months ago. I just don't know how to put it all together and "work" it. (sorry, Lorne, didn't understand your workflow) Can anyone give me the "For Dummies" version?I will trade information about any photo booth topic I'm adept at --(or even items I sell on ebay!) -- if someone can help me figure out how this happens.
  • Mike
    Alice there is extra cost associated with providing this service. This is why I am researching it myself as I am leery if it something that clients will actually pay for and if they won't then I do not see a reason to offer it at this point.
    The 4G LTE is the technology of your phone. This will not really help you since (without hacks) Verizon doesn't allow tethering. You either have to purchases their hotspot and a data package for it or hack your phone. This is where the extra cost is incurred. Not too mention you can chew up some bandwidth (2GB being the smallest plan) very quickly.
    I think once I have put the pieces together for here in the USA I will put up a post. So watch for that Alice.
  • alice
    So if you set this up, don't you have to display some kind of sign showing the guests which site to go to in order to find their photos?
  • Mike
    That would definitely be beneficial in my opinion.
  • LorneChesal
    In my opinion and experience, offering this "feature" at a wedding or birthday party or prom etc. is of negligible value. ie: you won't get any extra $$ for it. Since we'll want the host to foot the bill for it, they have to see the value. In my experience, they don't.

    I also feel the perceived value is high, but the reality is very few will actually use the feature. I spent the time to figure out how to offer it and then did.



    I've provided real time uploading at 5 events, meaning ~750 booth trips and had 5 files accessed in real time. And I'm pretty sure 3 of those were the same guy at 1 event. More often than not, the guest was not tech savvy enough to get it done, so gave up. I stopped offering it for that reason. I was being asked to "do it for them".

    I'm sure there are certain social events and marketing parties where this would be a hit, but in my market there is little real interest in it at the moment.

    I'll keep real time uploading in my hip pocket and continue to find a better way to deliver it, but I don't promote it.
  • funfotostudioz
    That is a fantastic insight Lorne. I have offered to let people download the photos but most opt for the easy solution: They just snap a photo of the print with their phone and can upload to facebook the way they are already familiar with.
  • catchphotobooths
    The most frustrating thing with uploading to Facebook, is they are constantly changing how you upload photos and security features. So I always have to test the instant uploading app before I go to the event. Right now I have issue that guests have to log in to their Facebook twice. The first time to authorize the app and the 2nd time to allow the pictures to go to their wall. It is frustrating and I am not sure it is worth it for your average brides. But my corporate clients love it!
  • alice
    Thanks, all! I guess I remember now why I drop the topic every time I investigate it. Actually, funfotostudioz, that's a great idea (photo of the photo!) I can use with these corporate gigs where no one is interested in anything but their own phones! cheers!
  • LorneChesal
    I've written about this here before... what I do now is carry an iPad which is networked to my booth. If a guest asks, I can email them their file much easier than sending them to a Web site/Facebook to get it. Costs me zip to do.

    As funfotostudioz points out... most guests just take a quick and dirty iphone shot and upload... I got over being frustrated by this loooong ago.
  • Mike
    Lorne have you checked out the Photo Party Upload app? I reviewed it recently and ran it at an event. It works quite well and allows for guests to share out the photos quickly and easily.
    In case you missed the review you can check it out at http://www.photoboothowners.com/instantly-social-with-photo-party-upload
  • Unknown
    We use verizon jetpack and offer uploading ipad share station as an option. If the venue supplies the internet we charge $99. If we bring internet then its $149
  • Mike
    Thanks for sharing your price points. How has the adoption been? Are you upwelling enough to cover the cost of the jet pack?
  • LorneChesal
    Lorne have you checked out the Photo Party Upload app? I reviewed it recently and ran it at an event. It works quite well and allows for guests to share out the photos quickly and easily.
    In case you missed the review you can check it out at http://www.photoboothowners.com/instantly-social-with-photo-party-upload



    Yeah, I checked it out.

    One, not crazy about hosting the images on FB. Or Twitter. Or their site.

    Two, I found a number of very sloppy spelling errors in the iPad app when I looked at it. Call me fussy, but I see no excuse for something so simple to control. I see that sort of thing and can't help but think... "rush to market" and "quality control".

    Three... not crazy about leaving an iPad out for guests to use. Yes, you can guard it and such, but as I mention... for a few guests at a wedding?
  • Unknown
    We use the jetpack at all our wedding shows as well so I look at it as more of a set operating cost
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