“It’s as if the dotcom boom and bust never happened.”
That’s the verdict on Wi-Fi hot spots from Forrester’s tech specilaist Lars Goodell in today’s Guardian. He cites appalingly low usage figures and the ridiculous fees being charged by the operators – tell us something we didn’t know – as the reason for Europe’s lack of interest.
Nice to see Cloud’s (who recently wi-fi-ed a load of pubs) George Polk fighting back by saying he only needs a couple of users a day for the system to pay for itself.
I have read quite a few analyst notes on Wi-fi over the past few months, almost all of them contradictory. However I think it is worth bearing in mind the following.
1 The most popular Wi-fi cafe in London is Benugos. You get free half hour access if you buy a coffee. So no cash, no time inputting credit card details and user names – just a warm glow and you probably ending buying a second Cappie. Surely this has to be the business model.
2 Pretty soon every laptop and PDA and maybe mobile phone will have wireless integrated. Usage is sure to rise.
3 People will get more used to wireless as they use it in the home. Wireless TVs and audio systems are not far away from establishing a foothold in Europe. Once you get used to the idea of wireless being simple to use you are more likely to use it publically.
4 There is simply no comparison between surfing on PDA with GPRS and using Wi-fi. Wi-fi makes it a pleasure not a chore.