How New Wi-Fi Technology is Reshaping Business
Advancements in Wi-Fi technology (Hotspot 2.0 and Gigabit Wi-Fi) are creating new opportunities for businesses to enhance their own internal Wi-Fi network coverage with greater speeds and reliability.
Hotspot 2.0 is a suite of technologies that offer seamless connectivity between Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile data connections, as well as enhanced speeds and reliability. Gigabit Wi-Fi (the new 802.11ac standard) offers faster access speeds of up to 1,300 megabits per second. Both of these advancements are reshaping the way companies interact with employees and consumers.
New technology will have an impact on employee and customer retention: Employees appreciate the ability to work remotely and have the freedom to roam away from a stationary desk on occasion (this is sometimes referred to as Unified Communications). A robust internal Wi-Fi network makes that possible. Consumers are attracted to companies that are known to offer fast and free Wi-Fi access. The addition of high-speed Wi-Fi service can therefore be an important business decision for many companies.
Faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connections are essential for the adoption of Unified Communications technology. This technology frees employees from their desktop computers and desk phones, giving them the ability to remain connected to the entire company both inside and outside of company premises. Faster Wi-Fi speeds have made the use of Voice-Over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) possible, allowing employees to make digital high-definition voice calls through a Wi-Fi connection. These advancements present several benefits for both companies and employees, including improved employee satisfaction and retention, greater productivity, and enhanced collaboration.
Attracting and Retaining Customers
Starbucks recently partnered with Google to offer its customers faster Wi-Fi speeds than through its previous network provided by AT&T (as much as ten times faster in some cases). The company is banking on this upgrade to attract even more customers, particularly in light of the fact that some mobile carriers are no longer offering unlimited data for mobile devices. Furthermore, increased bandwidth is required to accommodate what the majority of users are doing with their mobile devices: streaming or downloading audio and video content.
A Win-Win Situation
Free access to high-speed Wi-Fi networks benefits both businesses and consumers. Businesses benefit by attracting more paying customers and by gaining a new medium through which to target advertisements. Before accessing a company’s Wi-Fi network, customers normally view and login through a landing page. This is an opportunity for companies like Starbucks to engage with customers and provide information on new products and promotions. In Starbucks’ case, the new Wi-Fi network enabled by Google will allow the company to gain insights into consumer web browsing habits and expose them to targeted advertisements based on browsing history.
In exchange for using a company’s Wi-Fi network, customers gain unlimited access to streaming and downloading while within the company’s network range. It is this growing trend of fast and free Wi-Fi network availability that’s driving down overall Internet costs.
This is happening in a couple of ways: First, in light of competition from companies like Starbucks offering free Wi-Fi, hotels are being pressured to offer the same free access to remain competitive; thus enabling consumers to avoid paying extra fees for Internet access.
Second, ubiquitous free Wi-Fi access can also help consumers avoid paying high mobile data fees.
Overall, the advance of Wi-Fi technology and its ubiquity are driving down high-speed Internet access costs for consumers.
To learn more about how Wi-Fi technology is changing the way companies interact with employees and consumers, please download our new white paper: Hotspot 2.0, Gigabit Wi-Fi and Business Wi-Fi.
1 See http://www.cnet.com/news/at-starbucks-at-t-is-out-and-google-is-in-for-wi-fi/