Importance of Free Wi-Fi Services in daily life of a Millennial

- 17th Sep 2016

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For most people in today’s culture, it has become a necessity to stay connected and remain accessible via the Internet at all times. Whether it is on our laptops, tablets, phones or even our watches, we must always be online. Internet mobility and being connected while on the go has raised ten fold in the last few years. We are already accessing web on the go (laptops or smart phones) in higher numbers than Internet accessed by desktops. This shows us that people are changing their habits when it comes to internet usage and they are no longer confined to a desktop or physical space in order to access data. In fact most people want to have immediate access right at their fingertips, which is leading to the rise in the number of smart phones being purchased as well as their capabilities and functionality.

In the past we were dependent on our cellular data for connectivity on the go, however now we are witnessing a rise in the free Wi-Fi networks available to the public. It is becoming more and more prevalent in public spaces with almost all retailers/venues offering free Wi-Fi to their customers. We have come to a point where if we cannot connect to Wi-Fi it is a cause of concern or frustration for most millennials. One of the biggest examples that points out the importance of free public Wi-Fi is when someone is travelling abroad and they do not have a local phone with data on it. They would be completely reliant on free Wi-Fi everywhere in order to send/receive messages, get directions, look up places to visit or check social media. In situations like this, most people begin to feel completely disconnected or cut off. Another example of where we notice the absence of free Wi-Fi is on the aircraft. Gone are the days of being completely unreachable while on a flight, as now they have introduced Wi-Fi on board but for a cost.

We all know the limitless importance of Wi-Fi as it gives us the power to access anything online while being synced completely wirelessly. In order to take it one step further and increase the efficiency of connecting to public Wi-Fi, we are now entering a phase of combining that with location-based services. This can be used to provide the public with more in depth and relevant information on the basis of their location. For example if I were to connect to the Wi-Fi in a mall or shopping outlet, I would automatically be provided with information about all the stores in that vicinity, items sold, whether they are in stock as well their cost etc. The same could be applied to stadiums, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, airports/stations, stores and many more. In addition to details on the venue, they could offer discounts and coupons directly on your device just by connecting to their Wi-Fi service. A situation where I could have personally used this service was yesterday at California’s Great America Theme Park. I was looking for a physical map, to get details on the rides and other park attractions, but was unable to find one. While I connected to their Wi-Fi in order to save my data and battery, I realized that it did not really offer me anything without me searching for something specifically. It got me thinking on how I should have automatically been directed to a page with the park information and attractions, ride details, hours of operation etc.

This seems to be the next wave of Wi-Fi based technology that is coming our way and will further simplify the process for users looking to get information easily. By connecting customers’ mobile devices to their physical location, it will redesign how they engage and interact with these spaces. I look forward to understanding it and exploring its uses while educating others of the same.

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