Devicescape is a venture backed company originally founded in 2001 and renamed in 2005, based in San Francisco. Since then, it has evolved a services platform that facilitates easy access to many sources of Wi-Fi service, combining Carrier Wi-Fi with many other categories of free or publicly accessible Wi-Fi services. Their software system has been adopted by major carriers in North America and Europe, now serving over 20 million users from a validated database of more than 20 million Wi-Fi hotspots.
Their tagline is "Always Best Connected", such that their system automatically seeks to use a nearby Wi-Fi service where available and of sufficient quality, but would prioritise remaining on cellular where more appropriate for the service being used. Transfer to and from Wi-Fi is seamless, avoiding splashscreens and log-in pages.
Their service platform comprises three main elements:
1) Curator Client: A software client (Mobile App) which operates in the background and seamlessly searches out and connects to nearby Wi-Fi access points. These include not just HotSpot 2.0, but any password protected network which the owner has agreed to allow guest use of. The mobile operator can specify the policy rules which determine where and when to connect to Wi-Fi. The end user can override and extend those with personal preferences if required. Quality is monitored to ensure a good user experience, and the client reverts back to cellular service when appropriate.
2) Curator Cloud: The server side of the system, which interacts with clients to advise which hotspots to use and download access point login credentials where appropriate. This is a learning system which monitors traffic levels and quality of service to quantify the quality of experience being achieved. Reports usage analytics to complement cellular data traffic reports, and which can also be used for billing.
3) Curated Virtual Network: A database of 10's of millions of hotspots, categorised by login method/process and quality of service. This continues to expand and evolve through a crowd sourcing discovery process as each Curator Client identifies, learns and profiles new Wi-Fi access points. Those requiring passwords are added with the permission of the building owners.
The system does not require special clients or hardware to be installed within the access points, and would work alongside any Small Cell whether fitted with Wi-Fi or not.
Operators already signed up to use DeviceScape include Cricket (USA), US Cellular (USA), MetroPCS (USA), Bouygues (France) and Virgin Media (UK).