Wifirst: the international expansion

Paul Masson (UK)
12 Nov 2020
Behind the scenes of Wifirst! Through this section of the blog, we want to highlight each of the teams working behind the scenes to offer the best managed WiFi service to our customers.

Driven by a desire for international expansion, Wifirst opened its UK office in 2016. Since then, the team is made up of an expert team with decades of experience : Pascal Aureau (Managing Director), Theo Dimishky (Business Development Director) and Vincent Jouan (Technical Sales Director) who continuously ensure the very best service possible is provided to our customers. Simultaneously, Wifirst also branched out into Spain and collectively covers 26 countries throughout Europe. 


Proximity and partnership, the keys to success 

Our London based team, situated in the heart of King's Cross, provides a local vision and a greater understanding of our UK customer's needs. By adopting successful partnerships, the team has also been able to gain significant market share in a short period of time. Thanks to Otrum's hosted software solutions, Airwave's experience in digital television services and our expertise in WiFi infrastructure management, we jointly provide a complete suite of products and services to address all connectivity requirements for our customers.


Planning for the future of connected student accommodation

Nevermore so than in 2020 has access to high-performance internet been critical to the success of student education and welfare. Our goal at Wifirst is to provide each student with a class-leading WiFi service that is both stable and fast, anywhere in Europe.

With in-house innovations such as Room Area Network, users are provided with a WiFi experience just like at home. Available not just in their room, but throughout their accommodation building, students benefit from a familiar WiFi service which really is just like they would have at home, but with the added protection of the industry's highest forms of security, embedded into the service we provide as a standard.

Furthermore, our customers benefit from continual service enhancements and improvements born from years of research and development within the European student housing market, and partnership such as The Class of 2020,  a partner-based think tank for the future of living, learning and working in university cities.


In the second part of this article, we discuss with Vincent Jouan, Technical Sales Director, about his time decade long experience at Wifirst, and the positive impact the experience has had on his life.

1/ What does your position within Wifirst entail?

Well, I've been working at Wifirst for over seven years now. My background is entirely technical Project Management, and so over the years, I have developed a great deal of knowledge wholly related to the provision and successful deployment of wireless networks. But when Wifirst decided to embark upon an expansion strategy, I immediately volunteered to help the business develop and grow in the UK market. These days, I focus specifically on our European presence within the student housing market. I also continue to stay close to the Project Management side of things, ensuring the smooth delivery of any UK based deployments. My day-to-day is very varied, from setting up partnerships such as The Class of 2020 which has been a hugely inspirational source promoting the need to deliver a quality service, to supporting the UK team as we aspire to increase our market presence.

2/ What's required of a Sales Representative in the UK? 

My goal is not just to promote Wifirst's growth. But also to ensure that any potential customers are provided with essential information that will enable them to make an informed decision on their digital expansion plans. I'm here to develop relationships built on trust, and to demonstrate that Wifirst delivers the right solution, and makes a positive difference following deployment.

3/ What part of your job makes you most proud?

I love being part of a growing company: what a journey the past four years have been, we've come such a long way! I am also incredibly proud of my participation in our projects, for example with The Ascott Limited, for whom we redeployed The Cavendish London in the centre of Mayfair. It was quite the challenge, with a deadline of just one month, we were tasked with a full cabling and WiFi upgrade throughout the historic building. Thankfully, the installation was a huge success and led to us winning further business from the group just six months later.

4/ Are there any anecdotal moments you could share with us?

There are just too many to list. But one memory that does stick out was an overseas operation we attended with the French Army. Seeing The Rafale, which is a twin-engined fighter jet in the middle of the Jordan desert take off under a star-filled sky at four in the morning, was simply breathtaking. On another project, we were then flown over the Chad desert by a Transal military transport aircraft loaded with all of our equipment, ready to perform a WiFi site survey at a remote desert basecamp. It just goes to show, that we really can serve the most demanding environments!

5/ Why did you choose to work internationally?

I have always liked discovering the world, and I love English culture, which is ultimately why my family and I moved to the UK. When Wifirst started to deploy in Africa and then later in the UK, it was a fantastic opportunity for me to use the experience and knowledge I've gained over the years while also living an adventure. I've been fluent in English for some time, but just needed to expand my vocabulary with a bit of the technical jargon, and I was away! 

6/ How did your family find the move, have they adjusted to their new life in the UK?

After seven years of living in Paris, I felt that the time was right for a change. Thankfully, my wife, who is Spanish, was on the same page. She began looking for employment opportunities, and once the right one came along, she took it. This coincided with Wifirst's plans to expand into the UK, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Sure, at the time, it felt like a bit of a risk, but life is for living, and four years later, I can confidently say that we've never been happier. We now have two children, one born in Paris, the other in London, both speak English, French and Spanish fluently, and as a family, we now feel that England is our real home. 


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