Wi-Fi’s use is already ubiquitous, but in the context of “Smart Everything” demand on this technology is set to increase exponentially as our ecosystems get “smarter”. From entire cities on a macro scale to individual homes and workplaces, as our collective desire for complete connectivity grows, we expect Wi-Fi to become the essential element.
According to the UN, 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. As cities get busier, and finite resources are put under strain, smart cities are required to improve efficiency. But the flow of communication is paramount to the success of a smart city, bringing together the intelligence of all working units within the ecosystem, says Alex Puregger, CEO of Fon.
And Wi-Fi will be a major enabler because it is entirely standardised, a unique feature of Wi-Fi that allows a huge range of personal and business devices to connect and communicate with each other.
Wi-Fi is having a transformative role in our workplaces as businesses rapidly adopt mobile-first strategies, in order to make the workplace a more productive environment. Companies are opening up their networks to new users and their devices, however, a large majority of these enterprises lack the budget and expertise to deliver the necessary security to support this activity. Demand is going to spike for Wi-Fi solutions that enhance the visibility, control, and security of network access for all types of enterprises.
The retail sector will also feel the transformative effect of Wi-Fi. E-commerce has already eaten away market share from physical retailers, so they need to act now and make the most of it. Customers want the same experience in-store as they have online, so brick and mortar retail stores need to align and combine the best of digital in a physical environment. Guest Wi-Fi will play a fundamental role in this effort, helping retailers to meet consumer’s expectations, understand them better, and also boost engagement and loyalty.
In the home, the way in which we access the internet has changed completely. Nowadays, we have more and more connected devices that demand connectivity and the forecasts are impressive in the short term. According to Qualcomm, by 2020 the average four-person household will have 50 smart devices. It seems clear that home Wi-Fi coverage and capacity must be improved, especially when we take into account the fact that the majority of service calls received by operators are in relation to Wi-Fi issues.
If we take all of the above into account, it seems clear that Wi-Fi technology will have a much more strategic role. This is a huge opportunity for Service Providers (SPs), who can capitalise on the new Wi-Fi opportunities this exponentially increasing demand presents. But in order to really maximise the potential of Smart Everything, SPs will need to go further than just providing the connectivity individual devices require. They must ensure that this connection is intelligent and efficient.
For this they will require advanced technology solutions that connect both users and things to networks transparently, without complicated authentication processes. These solutions must also guarantee the best connectivity option without user intervention, and allow SPs to understand network performance from an end-user perspective. Providing a good Wi-Fi connectivity experience can have a very positive impact on the company and will help SPs not only get the most out of their Wi-Fi deployments, but also to reduce churn and attract new clients.
The author of this blog is Alex Puregger, CEO of Fon