Does it really cost that much to the owner of the network? I have 3 different environments that argue this.
It seems like today human needs are water, WiFi, and food. Possibly they are in that exact order. Now days you can’t get recipes off line because no one buys cook books anymore. Many customers weigh their option of were to go based on the business having wifi access or not.
First a hotel. Some hotels advertise free WiFi. This is fine, but in reality they need it to compete. For instance if I, a wireless engineer, travel to a job I will not stay in a place without it due to the need to have it to work. Other professions will probably have this requirement. Setting profession aside if you go on a vacation are you going to go a whole week without access? While I guess that would be nice it’s probably not going to happen.
"To charge for WiFi is just terrible. It's like charging for water, something you just don't do," Zobler said. "Having really good WiFi and having it free is critical." - Andrew Zobler, CEO of the Sydell Group
So what is the cost to the hotel without a guest network? I say business. It will surely cost them in some way. If the owner has a network for guests of the hotel to use this will defiantly not prevent customers from staying at the hotel (WiFi isn’t going to get me to stay at a roach hotel either.). While the initial cost can be high it is an ever returning investment that will not result in a loss.
Second a coffee shop, you know what I’m talking about... the green one. This is a perfect example of what wireless access can do for business. The concept seems to focus around having customers spend more time which equals more revenue for the store. I do not think it would have had the huge success it has had without it. What would you do at a coffee shop without wireless access? I can’t think of anything except drink your drink then leave. With the addition of WiFi customers stick around and possibly buy multiple drinks and food.
What is the cost to the restaurant without WiFi? Again I think it is business, but the impact wouldn’t be as substantial as the hotel but they would rely on selling the one item instead of the multiple items that are results of lingering customers using the wireless.
Third let’s think of a hospital. Hospitals, I would dare to say all hospitals have a wireless network in production. The network is used for a different, more important uses than checking Facebook or Twitter. The network is stable because in some cases it is keeping people alive. Not in the sense that if you reboot an access point that it will be fatal but it is a lifeline if you will connecting the equipment to the proper people to monitor the patient.
On the guest side of the network what would be the cost to the hospital without it? I think the cost would be funding. Why funding? As a patient lies in the bed for days on end what is he or she to do? We all know there is not a good show on during the middle of the day. I bet the patient would like to stream a movie or browse. Without the wireless to keep the patient occupied the patient could grow restless which could lead to angry. Every patient fills out a survey on the facility, doctors, nurses etc. If the patient is angry when completing the survey chances are it will be a negative review which costs the hospital.
These are all just relatively speaking of course no long term studies have been completed by me. I do think that wireless access is becoming a bit of a necessity for a successful business that focuses on interaction with customer. There are a lot of other technical factors with a guest network but in some cases it’s just as creating the SSID.
What are your thoughts?
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.