No matter where you travel in the world you will find free Wi-Fi hotspots that allow you to connect with family, friends and your business contacts. Wi-Fi services are being rolled out at an incredible rate, even here in South Africa. The future is Wi-Fi and this presents some major opportunities for your business in the present.
Wi-Fi is a free network data service, to which anyone can connect, and use the internet. This comes at a cost, not to the end user at this stage, but over the last three years we’ve seen it used as an advertising platform.
Google has announced its intentions to launch free Wi-Fi worldwide. This is not just a US-based initiative; it’s a plan with a worldwide reach. The main objective is to advertise the brand, being Google, as well as to promote their advertising platforms. The same type of advertising is happening on YouTube: you can’t watch a YouTube clip without seeing an advert. There is a cost for connecting to Wi-Fi then, and that cost would ultimately be carried by the advertiser, or the initiator of the Wi-Fi service on offer.
With the advent of mobile business, people are meeting in coffee shops, and those people are making use of the Wi-Fi on offer in these shops. The logic in offering your clients free Wi-Fi is to encourage them to frequent your business, and in so doing, to have them purchasing the products that you have on offer (e.g. your coffees, breakfasts etc.).
Wi-Fi is an excellent tool and it is being used very successfully. It’s definitely a trend worth considering if you are a business owner. Wi-Fi gives you a platform to launch your products. For example, if you are in the motor industry, your clients will be able to log onto your free Wi-Fi and see the specials you’re running currently.
At this stage it’s uncertain whether Google will include big business in its plan, or whether it will bypass them to offer the free global Wi-Fi direct to consumers. From information available, this Wi-Fi will be run off devices that will hang in the air, 20 to 30 m up, which will initiate Wi-Fi hotspots. These devices will point to one another. It all sounds very futuristic indeed! Google has been known for successful idea launches. Looking at Google Earth, the application is beautifully executed and wonderful to use.
At the end of the day, the take-away idea is that Wi-Fi is useful and valuable for businesses to have on offer for their clients. Perhaps the time has come for you to get some guidance on how to leverage this…