Due to public demand and a desire for 24/7 connectivity, the availability of public WiFi is expanding at a rapid rate. Wherever we go, whatever we do, internet access is fast becoming a key factor in our everyday lives.
This ever-increasing demand and the growth of the IoT (Internet of Things) provides telecommunications resellers with an unmissable opportunity for supplying M2M (machine to machine) solutions to business owners and operators.
So where do the public expect free WiFi and where might it influence their buying choices?
- Pubs & Restaurants: The majority of large pub and restaurant chains now offer free WiFi to customers. McDonald’s, Wetherspoon Pubs, Pizza Express, Pret A Manger and Harvester are just some of the well-known high street eateries which offer WiFi throughout their stores.
- Coffee Shops: The leading names in the coffee shop industry across the UK are also a popular hotspot for free WiFi. Costa Coffee, Café Rouge, Café Nero and Starbucks are all popular places to go when a quick internet surf is needed.
- Hotels: Hotels are another area where internet access is expected, but here it may not necessarily be free. Some hotels provide 30 minutes of free access a day but will charge for extended periods or to upgrade to faster connection speeds.
- Department Stores: Popular high street retailers including John Lewis, Debenhams and M&S are now offering WiFi throughout their stores. Customers can research products, compare deals and check buyer reviews before making a purchase.
- Train Stations: Public WiFi is becoming an increasing feature at train stations across the UK. London Underground have made WiFi available at 250 London Underground stations across the city, whilst mainline operators, such as East Coast Mainline, are installing WiFi at selected stations along their major routes.
- Airports: Most UK airports including Heathrow and Manchester now offer air passengers free WiFi in their terminals. Passengers can make use of their time whilst waiting for their departures by browsing the internet, catching up with the office or simply staying in touch with family and friends.
- Motorway Service Stations: Motorway service stations are another place where UK travellers can find WiFi access along their journeys. Welcome Break, Roadchef and Moto are just some of the service station operators that currently offer WiFi to help customers stay connected whilst on the move.
- Public Transport: Public WiFi is also beginning to emerge for travellers whilst on the move. Passengers are increasingly finding WiFi on public transport including trains, buses and taxis. A great opportunity to propose an M2M solution.
- Public Buildings: Many public buildings such as museums, galleries and libraries are beginning to install public WiFi. A recent largescale project involved the installation of free WiFi at 1,000 public buildings around major towns and cities across the UK and included iconic buildings such as London’s Imperial War Museum, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum.
- Whole City Centres: A number of UK cities have become completely ‘wireless cities’, offering public WiFi wherever you go. A total of 13 ‘wireless cities’ are already in existence including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Waltham Forest and Westminster.
To find out how Zest4 can help telecoms resellers provide public WiFi solutions to businesses like those listed above, get in touch by calling 0161 956 3355. Or to find out more about M2M solutions from Zest4, visit http://www.zest4.com/machine-to-machine.php.