Wernhil Park now offers free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access to its patrons, a move that has raised fears that security within the complex might be compromised, as a result of an influx of shoppers who might be lured by the new internet access.
The internet provision is accessible on condition that users sign-up the first time they use it. Some users have expressed concern over the safety of their information given that the service is open to everyone.
Security concerns have already been raised by some of the shoppers who fear that the increased use of mobile devices in the mall makes the area a hotspot for crime.
Members of the public have questioned how the centre’s management will ensure that shoppers are safe at all times, especially considering the fact that shoppers will parade their devices in an attempt to access Wi-Fi while shopping. Margretha Kampulu, a regular shopper at the centre, said: “I wonder if they are considering increasing security within the mall to help keep an extra eye open, because you know these ‘botsotsos’ will be all over now.” Sylvia Rusch, Marketing & Public Relations Manager of Broll Namibia – a subsidiary of the O&L Group and the managing agent of Wernhil Park – said current safety measures that are in use are convenient and capable of handling threats, alluding to the available cameras and security personnel. Although she assured the public that security measures are in place to deal with any possible criminal acts, Rusch urged shoppers to remain vigilant at all times.
Some E-Security conscious users inquired how Wernhil would protect users from any suspicious activities taking place through the internet service. The Wi-Fi is characterised by a log-in access system that aims at keeping track of users and traffic.Joseph Teofelus said: “I am concerned about the security of my information. We’ve seen people get harassed from signing up and stuff. I would have rather I didn’t have to give my information just to use the internet”.Rusch said: “The information provided on the access is totally confidential. We may use the phone number to inform our clients of upcoming events or updates…The user, however, can opt out at any time.”
Users of the facility have complained about the inconvenience of logging in every time one steps out of the range of the Wi-Fi coverage.
Shoppers, who have already used the new service, have applauded the Wi-Fi speed. Rusch outlined the importance of a high-speed internet to assist shoppers during their shopping sessions.“Seeing as the internet is there to help shoppers who would like to do a quick research on goods that they would like to purchase, speed is an important feature,” she said.
While the Wi-Fi is free, users have noted restrictions on how data on usage per day. While some users were displeased by such conditions, others claimed that it was necessary otherwise people would be in the mall from dawn to dusk to access as much data as they can. “I think that it is okay to have a limit on the internet accessed by one person per day; so far, I think the amount of data given should be enough to get you around one or two search questions” Kampulu said. The Wi-Fi service grants not more than 100megabytes of data per day for every user.
The internet service is said to be unrestricted on websites, particularly those of social nature. Users are able to browse their Facebook pages, check out their Tweets as well as contribute in their WhatsApp groups using this internet. Retailers expect an increase in visitors, as a result of the new development, but the mall’s management says for them it is business as usual.With more than 75 outlets, Wernhil Park offers a range of restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food, banking services, boutiques, clothing stores and other outlets.