There has been a surge of interest in public wifi hotspots from both internet providers and users – but what are people actually using this access for when they are out and about?
Once upon a time the internet was something that involved wire and was not generally found outside of homes and businesses, but now that wireless has become so powerful and commonplace, the possibilities for extensive wifi access are astounding. Nowadays, many people expect to enjoy an internet signal when they are in any number of places, such
as shops, bars and hotels.
Instead of being hugely impressed that a place has internet available for free, there is a younger generation that simply takes it as a given. While this attitude can be galling, the good news is that it means they know it is there and are thus potentially more likely to use it, even if they also have mobile internet as an option.
In order to really capitalise on the wave of interest in public wifi internet, it is useful to think about how people are actually using access to the web:
Work – It is now common to see people taking certain work into a cafe or restaurant to do a little work using the place’s wifi hotspot; however, you must keep in mind that
a lot of work will involve elements of confidentiality and others will require real concentration – not ideal for being in a public place. Chances are people will be doing less taxing tasks when using the internet out of the office.
Social – In the past decade, one of the most important changes to the way people use the internet has been the rise of social networks and key driver has been the way
users can interact while out and about. With the internet, they can post pictures they have taken to their account, or chat to friends about what they are doing.
Apps – There are a huge number of apps available for mobile devices that help users do everything from keeping up with football scores to monitoring how much oil is
in their heating oil tank – these will usually require an internet connection to function, which is why a free wifi connection will be gratefully received by users.
Browse – Whether alone or with friends, you will regularly see people aimlessly looking at their favourite websites on their phone – checking for updates on their
favourite sports or seeing what is happening in the news. It is this generation’s version of reading a newspaper or magazine – people will do it to
relax or simply to pass the time.
Search – No longer do people fish out an encyclopaedia or ask an expert to find out the answer to questions; now the easiest way to do it is just use a search engine.
The classic example is when two people are having argument – now they can check the internet to see who is right – but there are all sorts of other moments
when it is useful to be able to search; for instance, when you are trying to find a place nearby like a bar or shop.
The author is a fan of The Cloud, Europe’s largest independent provider of mobile Wi-Fi broadband. Whether you are an individual or business, The Cloud delivers an open network platform, so multiple partners can leverage a single network and is also the market leader when it comes to providing stunning visual experiences on small-screen Wi-Fi enabled devices.