Our name is Society and we’re addicted to Wi-Fi.
It’s certainly not the worst thing in the world to be addicted to. Plus, let’s not blame Wi-Fi; we’re the ones with a thirst for convenience and and an insatiable appetite for information (regardless of how meaningless and cat-related that information sometimes is). The real question we need to ask and answer on such an erudite blog as this is: How is our Wi-Fi addiction impacting the world -- specifically businesses -- around us?
The answer: Immensely. Let’s take a look at some of the more telling statistics the Internet threw back at me when I asked it the same question. (A special thanks to Vala Afshar for putting all of these statistics in one easy-to-find, Google-friendly place.)
What’s Feeding Our Wi-Fi Addiction?
First, just to reiterate, we needs our Wi-Fi (typo intended). 75% of people say one week without Wi-Fi would leave them grumpier than one week without coffee. I know I can’t start my day until I’ve had my Wi-Fi…
Second, Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly critical when it comes to our communications infrastructure. 71% of all mobile communication flows through Wi-Fi. And considering the number of Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones and tablets flooding the market, that number is only going to increase. Additionally, it’s predicted that by 2017, 60% of carrier network traffic will be offloaded to Wi-Fi.
Employers are adapting to the surge in prominence and effectiveness of Wi-Fi to make the workplace more efficient. We have talked a lot about the growing BYOD (bring your own device) trend in previous articles, and according to Gartner, 50% of businesses will not supply employee computing devices by 2017 because everyone will be so invested in their own devices. Perhaps more telling of the future of this trend, Deloitte found that 69% of polled companies experience no technical or support problems after implementing BYOD, which is one of, if not the primary barrier to BYOD adoption.
But it’s not just the workplace that is changing because of Wi-Fi. Consumer habits are also affected, and businesses need to be aware of it. 50% of consumers feel comfortable making a large purchase in-store if Wi-Fi access is available. Why? So they can compare prices and read reviews of items in-store before they whip out their credit card. Additionally, 94% of people cite Wi-Fi as the most important hotel amenity, with 38% saying no Wi-Fi is a deal-breaker and will look elsewhere.
What Does It All Mean?
The big conclusion here, and this should come as a shock to no one, is that Wi-Fi access is just expected in our society. Consumers expect to have access to it, whether they are at a baseball game or an outlet mall. Employees are starting to expect to be able to utilize it with their own devices. Considering both of those factors, businesses need to start providing it if they don’t already, whether you’re in a corporate office, retail location, or anything in between.