Wi-Fi has become an indispensable part of our daily lives — at least for those of us who live in the United States, Decipher reported in a survey conducted on behalf of Devicescape, a San Bruno, Calif., networking software maker, San Jose, Calif.-based chipmaker Intel, and Meraki, a networking hardware maker in San Francisco.
Devicescape is a popular application among iPhone and iPod Touch users because it eliminates the need to constantly log onto AT&T or other Wi-Fi networks using a password. As a result, the numbers in this survey might be slightly skewed, so take them with a grain of salt. And anyway, what can you expect from a survey that’s tied to three unabashed champions of Wi-Fi? But it is a good sign-post of the reality of Wi-Fi and its ubiquitous nature.
I can remember paying $350 for a Lucent Wi-Fi device many years ago, wondering when it would be possible to have a connected life without wires. Today, my entire apartment is wired with an Airport Extreme and a series of Airport Express devices for a seamless experience. Most of my other gadgets are wireless and, as I have shared previously, on-the-go Wi-Fi is part of my daily life. Looks like that dream is now a reality.
As shown through my earlier posts about Wi-Fi’s smartphone–driven renaissance, we are now assuming the wireless technology is part of our daily work flow. Nearly 98 percent of Wi-Fi consumers log onto Wi-Fi networks once daily, while nearly 57 percent log in every day, according to the Decipher’s survey of 8,000 users of the technology.
The availability of Wi-Fi on mobile phones is driving use of WiFi networks across the country. For instance, the Google network in Mountain View, Calif., has seen a big spike in Wi-Fi use, with smartphones contributing nearly 25 percent of the total usage, according to a press release from Tropos Networks, a municipal Wi-Fi networking gear maker.
And if that is not enough, nearly 90 percent of the survey respondents make hotel and travel decisions based on Wi-Fi availability, and nearly 96 percent expect it to be free. What’s more, many folks are musing about buying devices that have built-in Wi-Fi.
One of the more interesting findings of the survey was that a growing number of people are willing to share their wireless networks if there are appropriate systems in place. A good way to do so: Build a ratings system much like the one on eBay.
Does anyone else see the sweet irony in this? I mean, when municipal wireless debates were raging, phone companies couldn’t wait to get the Wi-Fi networks shut down. Today, the same technology is coming to the rescue of those companies.