Mobile hotspot devices give your organization the ability to provide internet service just about anywhere you and the people you serve need it. By following a few simple tips from the very beginning, you can get the most value out of your mobile hotspot investment. Here are a few easy steps you can take before, during, and after hotspot distribution to keep track of your devices and use them to their fullest potential.

1. Keep a Spreadsheet
Set up a system so you are ready to distribute your hotspots when they arrive. An Excel spreadsheet is an easy-to-use option.
Be sure to have a column for the device name, device phone number, IMEI (MEID) number, check out date, return date, who checked it out, and their contact information. Much like a library checkout, your hotspot tracking system should be set up to achieve the desired outcomes in terms of access, accountability, usage, and so on. Remember to have the responsible party sign for the device.

2. Understand device usage.
Not everyone needs usage reports, but they can be beneficial in certain situations, such as at renewal time when evaluating which lines of service you would like to renew. Usage reports are a necessity if your carrier charges overage fees as well, because you’ll need to track data usage closely.

Mobile Citizen is one of the few companies that offers unlimited data (to nonprofits, educational entities, and welfare agencies exclusively), so if you have Mobile Citizen hotspots, you don’t have to worry about anyone using too much data. However, you still might want to know whether devices are being shared by multiple users. If so, perhaps it’s time to consider ordering additional devices. Usage reports will also put the spotlight on any device that is underutilized. Rather than leave it to collect dust, you can retrieve it and redistribute it.

3. Cycle the batteries.
By cycling or unplugging the device battery, you will maximize the life of the battery and prevent device burnout. Follow the device manufacturer’s guidelines for usage.

4. Redeploy and reimagine.
Hotspot devices are easy to deploy and redeploy, and there are countless ways they can be leveraged. We’ve listed a handful of examples here:

  • Remote learning and educational activities
  • Outside activities such as band practice or sporting events
  • Off-site classes, meetings, and afterschool programs
  • Connection while using public transportation
  • Continuous access and portability
  • Emergency connectivity after storms or other disruptive events
  • Satellite office connectivity
  • Access for staff while traveling or doing home visits
  • Reliable mobile internet for organizations with staff canvassing in the field
  • Remote meetings and special events
  • Connection during volunteer activities and check in
  • Outdoor ceremonies
  • Telehealth access for underserved populations
  • Library hotspot lending programs
  • Senior, veteran, and voting programs

You can find more inspiration in the case studies on the Mobile Citizen website.

5. Enhance the experience.
Remote work, learning, and telehealth are growing increasingly dependent on video, and video takes up a lot of bandwidth. More devices might be needed if several users need video connection. Even if a home or office has internet, adding a mobile hotspot can increase connectivity performance.

Today more than ever, people are mobile. With mobile hotspot devices, your community members and staff don’t have to be limited to the uncertain security and quality of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Instead, they can take their own hotspots with them for high-speed internet on the go.

Mobile hotspots support efforts to close the digital divide, and we’re here to help. If you have questions or need technical support, contact our experts in the Mobile Citizen Customer Service Center at 877-216-9603.

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