At the end of every day I search the Internet for stories about Wi-Fi. Most days the stories don't tell much of a narrative, but today I ran across three articles in a row that – read together – provide a good snapshot of where Wi-Fi is going in 2009 (and why more local businesses should promote it).
The first story comes from the yearly mega-convention that is currently happening in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show. Sarah Reedy, a reporter for TelephonyOnline, reports that Wi-Fi on handheld devices grew 26% in 2008! Analyst believe that in the next few years there will be two handheld Wi-Fi devices per person in the United States.
The second story by PJ Jacobowitz in PCMag.com describes Sony's new Wi-Fi camera. What makes this one special is a fully-functioning browser, allowing this camera to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots like SkyBlox.
Finally, I ran across an article by Sewell Chan in The New York Times about the outdoor Wi-Fi networks that are being closed in New York City. I could spend hours reading about the failure of outdoor Wi-Fi networks, but this one does just fine. Bottom line…outdoor Wi-Fi does not have a viable business case. What does this mean to small businesses? Your Wi-Fi is becoming more valuable to your customers by the day!
Taken together, these articles paint a picture of a world where phones, gaming devices, cameras, etc all have Wi-Fi, but access to free Wi-Fi is decreasing, so more-and-more consumers will choose neighborhoods and local businesses based on access to free Wi-Fi for all of their cool devices.