Wireless Access On A Roll – Hotels, Airports, & Restaurants, Oh My

I’ve been on the road travelling for the past week or so, and have been experimenting with WiFi access in any number of places – and discovering it still has a long way to go. However, it’s clear that companies are finally getting serious about it. Hotels, airports, and restaurants all seem to be shoving each other aside to be the latest to announce their WiFi offering. Of course, I’m still concerned about the business model issues. The article about the hotels is particularly questionable. In that case, they’re looking to use the technology to improve internal processes (such as figuring out when the cleaning service has finished cleaning a room, or to submit drink orders to the bar), while at the same time planning to charge customers to use the WiFi. While it might seem like a sensible plan to charge users when the audience is captive like that, it makes it less likely that people will use it. There might be a very low, nominal charge, that makes sense – but too many businesses are looking to profit directly from the offerings, rather than indirectly by using the wireless offerings to attract more customers. I, for one, know that I would base certain travel plans on whether or not places had cheap or free WiFi access.

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