Case Study - SIFF

WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud Enables Theater to Evolve with Industry Standards


Founded in 1976, SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) operates three year-round film screening facilities – in addition to an annual, multi-week film festival – throughout Seattle, Washington. With the industry adoption of new technology to streamline processes – such as mobile POS (Point of Sales) and wireless film transfer between locations – SIFF has made significant operational changes to keep pace with cinema’s evolution. However, much of this valuable new tech relies on access to a strong wireless network, which unfortunately SIFF’s previous infrastructure could not provide.

“Prior to WatchGuard, we just weren’t able to get wireless coverage in those spaces. For us to transfer films between our locations, we really needed a robust network,” reflected Sarah Wilke, executive director at SIFF. In addition to challenges with wireless file transferring, the existing network could not effectively support mobile POS stations. “In order for us to use point of sale through the wireless network – we needed something that was reliable, and particularly – something that was safe.”

“We had semi-adequate coverage for staff usage, and virtually no guest Wi-Fi,” continued Rick Baker, corporate relations manager for SIFF. “That was a unique problem that required a unique solution.” Faced with mounting demand on a wireless network that simply could not keep up, the SIFF team began to evaluate a new solution that would meet their wireless needs around increased guest satisfaction, staff productivity, and perhaps most critically – robust security.


Having already utilized WatchGuard firewall appliances, the SIFF team knew that WatchGuard would be the right fit for addressing their wireless challenges. “We had an existing partnership with WatchGuard already, and the new Wi-Fi focus of WatchGuard’s just matched our needs perfectly,” noted Sarah.

Because SIFF required a solution that would not only provide staff and patrons with robust, secure Wi-Fi access, but also enable simplified deployment and ongoing management for their small IT team, WatchGuard’s Wi-Fi cloud-managed access points were an easy choice. “Having the WatchGuard technology up now – our service point sales, our concessions, our box office – all of that is now on the wireless network. We’re now able to transfer films between our three locations via the wireless network, and our visitors can access Wi-Fi while they’re in our building – which as we all know, is a huge thing these days.”


Along with supporting increased staff productivity and customer satisfaction, the access points ensure that SIFF’s wireless network isn’t just reliable – it’s secure. Enabled with Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS), the access points defend SIFF’s airspace 24/7 from wireless threats, including unauthorized devices, man-in-the-middle (MitM) and denial-of-service attacks, rogue APs and more – and with close to zero false positives.

Looking to the future, Rick is excited to leverage additional features available through the cloud-managed access points, including a suite of built-in tools that will allow them to create splash pages and engage with visitors using social media, video, targeted promotions, and more.

“We’ve really just scratched the surface of the capabilities that the Wi-Fi Cloud offers us,” reflected Rick. “We’re planning to direct users that log-on to our network to our splash page, which in the future may be a portal to give a donation, to tell people about upcoming events and promos, and to offer them tickets to a future showing.”

“The partnership has been incredibly important,” concluded Sarah. “It’s been an ongoing relationship that we were able to take to new heights with the Wi-Fi addition to SIFF. The partnership allows me to rest easy that our needs are being taken care of.”


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