Business & Leisure Critical Connectivity
Caravans and motorhomes are an extremely popular form of leisure. Their popularity grew due to their mass availability through innovative manufacturing developments in the 1950s. While Caravanning is a great way to get away and be ‘off grid’, part of the attraction is also the sense of being part of a community. A home from home, with others at similar stages of their family life cycle. Part of the attraction being they provide safe places for children to play without risk of traffic. While caravanning provides the opportunity to disengage from the stresses of homelife and work, more users are finding them an ideal way to manage their hybrid work lifestyles. Children and adults can remain connected, while ontologically a safe distance from the mundanity or physical anxiety of ordinary school or work life.
This ‘home from home’ does not usually mean that leisure seekers want to be completely off grid. Family time can equally be sharing photographs with family members through WhatsApp, social media or streaming and watching a movie together in the comfort and privacy of their caravan or motorhome. In the post Covid world of hybrid working, the need to remain in touch with friends and loved ones extends to business travellers who can combine work with family life at weekends or during the long school holidays.
Connecting Motorhomes and Caravans
By their very nature, the need to get away means that most preferred sites tend to be in the countryside, mountains or coastal areas. Quite often, not the most reliable in terms of mobile signal coverage. Of course, there remains the option for travellers to use their mobile phones as Wi-Fi hotspots for devices. While this may work well in some sites, for others, they may struggle to gain a good connection as phone SIMs are single network variants. They may also have access to site Wi-Fi, but ultimately this is out of the control of the user, both in terms of available bandwidth and numbers of shared users. A router with multi-network SIM cards can therefore offer benefits, by allowing greater connection flexibility both on and off-site and in transit and greater security and bandwidth assurance. This can either be installed via a mobile enabled Wi-Fi router by the consumer themselves, a service provider or indeed the vehicle manufacturer.
Convenience of Connectivity
Given that caravans and motor homes are most popular with families and particularly those with young children, the reasons for staying connected will vary across the family. Shared devices such as televisions and music systems are increasingly using convenient and time/broadcast independent streaming services which require internet access. Smart televisions, mobile phones and tablets are ideal ways of viewing either together or separately. Devices being connected via a standard smart phone’s hotspot, can create inconveniences as they will become unavailable if they need to leave the van or vehicle for a time-period.
A router located within the caravan or motorhome (fitted by the end user, service provider or manufacturer), enables a variety of devices to be connected independently of each other, whether a particular user is present or not. IoT Routers can also provide much stronger Wi-Fi signals than smart phones and therefore provide greater coverage both inside and outside of the van. Having the ability to connect to any mobile network can also provide greater up-time and geo-availability wherever the location. Routers with Dual SIMs and Dual Modems can also provide greater bandwidth by connecting to two mobile networks at the same time. This could be important for the more serious user who is using the vehicle for both business and leisure purposes.
While DIY connectivity may suit many caravanners, others who travel to more remote regions or require a more secure and reliable form of connectivity will benefit from a managed service. For example, those who use streaming as part of their family time or need reliable connectivity for their work benefit from multi-network connectivity and via a secure router service. While keeping users connected is vital, providing a managed router or IoT gateway within the vehicle can also offer additional services. This can be in terms of providing further IoT devices such as security/tracking, or by installing monitoring sensors for measuring any destructive patterns that are present, such as the presence of damp and mould. A connected service can also mean that SIMs can be deactivated when vans are placed into storage during the winter. Using simple API means that service providers can allow users to manage their connectivity via a simple APP on their smart phone or tablet to save costs during these periods.