In our hyper-connected world, access to the Internet has become so commonplace, it’s practically expected. We have it at home, we have it at work, we have it in schools, in airports (and airplanes), in hotels, in libraries, in coffee shops, and just about everywhere else imaginable. Walk down the sidewalk in a major city and you’re likely in range of no less than a dozen WiFi access points at any given time. Attend a conference, trade show, concert, or other public event and that number is likely much higher.
While wireless carriers have done a great job expanding and enhancing their cellular data networks to cover the same places, not all our connected devices are cellular-equipped. Think of all the WiFi-only iPads, Kindles, laptops, and other devices that can’t access cellular networks. And even when you consider devices that can, most carriers aren’t offering unlimited data plans anymore, so you’re always trying to be conscious of how much cellular data you consume.
I’ve realized something subconsciously for a while now: I expect businesses that I patronize to offer public WiFi. It’s nearly synonymous with expecting them to have a bathroom, running water or electricity. When I wrote this post last month asking you ZAGGblog readers if your next tablet will have 3G/4G connectivity, many of you that responded said NO, and that you’re happy to rely on public WiFi networks.
Businesses: if you have a storefront and foot traffic, but don’t currently offer free public WiFi to your customers, now is the time to get with the program. It’s almost a certainty that you already have Internet access to your building, so any extra cost here is minimal. As more and more connected devices hit the market and find their way into consumers’ pockets, purses and backpacks, your gesture of providing free WiFi will gain you great customer appreciation. This is especially true if you’re a restaurant, coffee shop, or other “sit down” business, which in your case, if you aren’t already offering it, you’re already behind.
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