Trends in Wireless: Multiple Device Support and Mobile Data Offloading
By Jason Guest Account Manager, Americas, Aptilo Networks | January 06, 2013
Hotels have recognized that offering guests wireless access, or hotel Wi-Fi, is becoming a necessity. Guests expect Wi-Fi as a standard amenity; Wi-Fi is even becoming a deciding factor for guests investigating their options for an upcoming hotel stay.
It used to be that guests would bring a laptop and a smartphone with limited Internet capability, and even with these two devices perhaps one would connect wirelessly. Remember the Big Blue Cable that was a staple of every hotel room? That cable was your connection to the Internet, hardwired into the wall.
Today the majority of guests bring multiple devices – laptop, a powerful smartphone with expanded Internet browsing capabilities, tablet computers, gaming devices etc. – and all of these devices are hungry for Wi-Fi. The electronics manufacturing industry has found that Wi-Fi is a great technology that keeps customers happy: devices use less battery power when they're on Wi-Fi compared to the mobile network, users generally don't have to eat up their cellular minutes when surfing the Internet on Wi-Fi and devices seem to run faster. In fact, many devices are designed specifically to perform best over Wi-Fi, and some applications only work over Wi-Fi. The end result: hotel guests with lots of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, all of which are primed to gobble up loads of bandwidth.
To Bill or Not To Bill?
The ability to charge for wireless access can be a tremendous source of revenue for hotels, and this potential is growing significantly as more and more devices become wirelessly enabled.
Business-focused properties and the more upscale hotel chains are, for the most part, charging for Wi-Fi. From a business standpoint this makes sense since their guests are generally business travelers and/or power users of technology. They would likely bring several devices such as a laptop, smartphone, tablet computer and be looking to connect them to Wi-Fi.