WiFi today is no longer just about providing access to
the Internet, it is about enabling applications for the users. According to a poll conducted by Wakefield
Research on behalf of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi technology is fundamentally
changing the way families and friends communicate, and Wi-Fi-enabled devices
have replaced television as the “gathering place”.
The consumers want more than just the internet access.
The need is for more bandwidth – the ability to watch video, listen to music
and read a book!! And W-Fi makes all the three possible. It makes triple play possible.
Telecom Industry adopts WiFi
WiFi finds a major place in
the telecom sector. Carriers,
handset makers, and end users are embracing Wi-Fi on the handset for its
coverage benefits, bandwidth boost, and wide availability. ABI Research
indicated that out of approximately 580 million Wi-Fi devices shipped in 2009,
141 million were handsets. ABI Research expects this growth trend to continue,
forecasting that half a billion Wi-Fi enabled handsets will ship in 2014, with
90 percent of smartphones incorporating Wi-Fi.
WiFi is being used for last mile connectivity by the
telecom providers. With the roll out of 3G networks in
India, the telecom service provide have realized that Wi-Fi is not a
competitors but a facilitator. Hence, it would make complete sense for the
service providers to offload their 3G traffic as it would allow more bandwidth,
cost effective services and happy customers.
Additionally, as the war between WiMax and LTE
intensified, WiFi came in as a preferred technology. In fact, Wifi can live up
to its claim of being the most cost-effective and technologically mature
wireless technology in the market. If you wonder what might be the reason for
more Wifi enable devices rather than WiMax or LTE enable devices, the reasons
are there for you. Firstly, the data rate of Wi-Fi (802.11n standard) is much more than that
of WiMax; and secondly, the WiFichipset is much cheaper than the cost of WiMax
chipset. As far as LTE goes we are still talking about it whereas WiFi is
spreading out. Additionally, WiFi lowers CAPEX and OPEX as compared to the rest.
So no wonder, you see so many WiFi enabled devices in the market.
becomes a service of Choice
WiFi is not limited to the telecom sector; but have
spread out to hospitality, healthcare and education sectors. Imagine how
difficult and expensive it would be to enable a mall or large hotel or a big
university!! But WiFi makes it easy and cost effective.
WiFi makes learning interesting as you can access the
course material online, watch classroom videos, listen to lectures and also
collaborate and work together with classmates. It makes it possible for the
students to study at any place and at any time. No doubt universities across
the world are adopting WiFi to bring education nearer to the students and also
to make the learning process exciting.
WiFi usage is booming in the hospitality industry. Today,
almost every hotel has Wifi capable enough to allow you to do all your online
work and that too at a fast pace. All the hotels are adopting WiFI to make
their life easy and simple, and also to bring convenience to the guests.
The healthcare industry has always been an early adopter
of Wi-Fi. Today, every major hospital has robust WiFi connections for the
doctors as well as the patients. Additionally, hospitals across the world are
adopting WiFi and it has become a critical service provided by them. According
to ABI Research, the revenue from worldwide sales of WiFi-enabled healthcare
products will reach nearly $5 billion in 2014- an increase of almost 70 percent
over today’s market.
WiFi in Tier 2-3 Cities
Hotspots are already a
reality in the Tier 1 cities, and consumers are reaping the benefits. But it’s not
the case in the teir2/3 cities. Majority of these places have no internet
connection, and even if some of the cities have the connection but it take ages
to connect. The reasons vary from not having an effective technology, high cost
for laying the infrastructure and the general inability to access those
areas. And as we talk of the digital
unite from the current digital divide -WiFi seems to be a great enabler to the
bridge the gap. After all the technology has matured over the years, and is
cost-effective and powerful enough to allow the users to enjoy the potential of
the ever growing world of the internet.
So to take the internet and
its benefits to the tier 2/3 cities, WiFi seems to be a safe bet.
WiFi is not out and WiFi is not dead. But WiFi is not the
same, as it has evolved from simply providing access to the Internet to enable
applications and solutions. Hence, WiFi
is on the rise and spreading fast.
The question largely asked is what is responsible for the
rising usage of WiFi in India. Without doubt, the fast growing mobile as well
as the internet subscribers is basically fuelling the growth of WiFi. But the
main reasons seem to be- the consumers have woken up to the benefits of WiFi!!