The wonder of Wi-Fi

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“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.

www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1017664,00.html

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