Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook -- they're all really good for letting the world know exactly where you are and what sandwich you're eating right at that moment, which makes for great advertising and a great way for businesses to tell what their demographic looks like. At the end of the day, though, they're all optional services, and people forget to check in more often than not.But there's one thing that almost everybody ends up needing in the wired world: Wi-Fi. Enter DEMO 2013 alum SocialSign.in, which, as the name suggests, provides a platform to enable businesses in the real world to offer Wi-Fi landing pages where customers can use their existing Facebook credentials (or create a dedicated account if they lack Facebook) to sign in. Customers get an easy, one-click way to get on the wireless Internet anywhere, and businesses get a better way to track who's coming in off the street and reach out to customers. And SocialSign.in claims that its landing pages get as much as 25 times the amount of user engagement compared to social networking alone. "You may want to be the virtual mayor somewhere, but you need Wi-Fi," says SocialSign.in CEO and Founder Mike Perrone. Look at it this way: Every business tries for deeper user engagement, whether they call it that or not. A fishbowl business card raffle? A clipboard with a mailing list sign-up form next to the register? A buy-10-get-one free punch card from a coffee shop? All user engagement strategies, whether or not the proprietor of your corner sandwich shop would call it that.But they're all based on a skewed value proposition for the customer, Perrone says: Provide some value now (your personal info) in exchange for the possibility of value later (coupons, free cups of coffee). But Wi-Fi for your name and e-mail is an immediate transaction, with both parties getting what they want. This is especially important as offering free Wi-Fi increasingly becomes a cost of doing business, especially for coffee shops and restaurants. The landing page itself can be used to funnel customers anywhere the business wants, from an events page to a coupon to an app download portal. And, as you may expect, SocialSign.in tracks metrics and page views, so its customers can tell exactly how many leads they're generating and/or how many downloads they're driving. An unintended, but very much welcome, side-effect of this idea, Perrone says, is the potential death of paid Wi-Fi. Hotel lobbies, convention centers, anywhere with paid Internet, only do it because they're trying to get a return on the initial investment of infrastructure. If they get their value from the data they scrape from customers, then they don't have to get it with a $9-a-day charge. And speaking of hotel lobbies, this portal is obviating the need for hotels to hand out cards with a Wi-Fi password, the bane of many a business traveler, Perrone says. "You can build relationships in a better way," Perrone says. The idea is apparently catching on: Perrone, who previously founded social media optimization platform SocialFlow, says that Broadway theaters were a major contingent of the New York-based startup's first customers after launching at last year's DEMO conference. Those theaters saw an average of six times the amount of user engagement than from relying on Foursquare checkins, their previous metric, with at least one show -- the recently closed Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, incidentally -- showing a 25-fold increase. One Broadway theater saw 10,000 app downloads over the course of 2013 driven by the Wi-Fi landing page, and Perrone claims some SocialSign.in customers have seen as high as 46% mailing list conversion rates. The next move for SocialSign.in is to expand from its smaller customers, which have included museums and visitor centers, into larger spaces like stadiums. It's only raised a small round of venture capital, less than $1 million from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, but Perrone says it's poised for growth. "Having paying customers helps," Perrone says. There's some competition in this space, as Facebook itself partners with hardware manufacturers like Netgear and Cisco to enable a similar social Wi-Fi solution. But there's clearly a niche for a smarter way to collect information and offer Wi-Fi without having to give it up for nothing. This article originally appeared on CITEworld. Up Next: DEMO Enterprise, April 3, 2014, in San Francisco. Apply to Launch or Register to Attend. Learn more at www.demo.com