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There’s Money in Wi-Fi

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. As my previous blogs discussed, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Service providers (SPs) now realize Wi-Fi must be an important part of their strategy to manage growing data loads on their networks and meet increased customer expectations. While operators are learning to accept the role of Wi-Fi, they still struggle with ways to turn a “cost of doing business” into profitable business models. The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading SPs from around the world about new, innovative Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI), as outlined in our paper, “Profiting From the Rise of Wi-Fi.”

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and to test their response to the new Wi-Fi business models, Cisco IBSG recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to monetization of Wi-Fi: Read More »

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Three Ways a Free WebEx Basic Account Can Help Kids Learn

The new WebEx Meetings is here and with it comes a free basic account that anyone can get and use. We invite educators to get their own account and start using it in the classroom. Here are three ideas to get things started – and we have more here. We’d also love to hear your ideas. Please comment on this blog!

Interview an Expert

Use WebEx to bring an “expert” into your classroom. Distance or location is no longer a barrier. Use the video conference capabilities of WebEx to take your students into studios, laboratories or even into the field! All the other person needs is an Internet connection and a webcam to broadcast from wherever they are. They could even engage with you via their iPad or iPhone or Android. Anyone can get the mobile application at no cost.

Classroom Connect

Share your classroom with another classroom! You can aim your webcam at your students and have your partner aim the camera at his or her classroom and away you go. This is a great way to demonstrate to the students that they are similar and different from students in another location. You can also use desktop sharing Read More »

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From LEGO to Clouds: Connecting the Pieces

Kids might be building Hogwarts now instead of the Death Star when it comes to LEGOs, but pieces from their old sets still work with new structural elements. Even beauty salons are getting hip to the idea that when you can simplify a system of elements so that they easily work together, customers get more satisfaction. Happily, I see this as a technology industry trend, as well.

Many companies realize that today’s consumers share and store data across a variety of different electronic devices. So, now they’re making it easier to connect between them. For example, the smartphone market is moving to the convenience of universal USB chargers. If you change or upgrade your cell phone, you can just plug your new one into your existing charger.

Read More »

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Passpoint Delivers a New Level of Wi-Fi Usability

The rise of new Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices and the growing ubiquity of Wi-Fi access points in most countries has been astounding.  Recent mobile consumer research by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) clearly demonstrates that most mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the time that consumers use these devices, they are potentially within range of a Wi-Fi access point. In fact, the research shows that one-third of the time, smartphone users are choosing Wi-Fi—rather than their mobile cellular network—to connect to the Internet. We expect that within the next two years, the number of Wi-Fi connections will reach parity with mobile cellular network connections. Wi-Fi has truly become a part of the mobile equation as consumers increasingly look to it to connect to rich mobile media experiences and to power their new, essential nomadic devices, such as tablets and eReaders.

While Wi-Fi is truly becoming a viable and essential complement to mobile, the user experience is certainly not without its challenges. Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of having to log on to a splash page and enter a complex passcode to gain Wi-Fi access at a public hotspot. And you have to repeat this complicated process every time you return for your morning cappuccino. The Cisco IBSG research clearly demonstrates that people also want seamless integration among Wi-Fi hotspots, and increasingly between mobile cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

The recent launch of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) offers to make this integration a reality. This industrywide, interoperable platform, supported across a range of networks and devices, will revolutionize the Wi-Fi user experience and become a key enabler of seamless data offload from mobile networks to public hotspots.

Here are the key Passpoint features planned for mid-2012: Read More »

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Wi-Fi Goes Public

It seems that everywhere you go these days, the little Wi-Fi icon on your mobile device lights up to show that an access point is nearby. In fact, The Wireless Broadband Alliance predicts that the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots globally will grow more than fourfold, to 5.8 million, by 2015. This increasing availability of public hotspots is creating a new “nomadic” network to rival traditional mobile networks and support new mobile devices and their owners’ lifestyles (see blog posting “A New Type of Mobility”). Consumers now expect to have Wi-Fi access when they are sipping a latte in their favorite coffee shop, watching their team score the winning touchdown at the local stadium, or even when they are waiting in line to pay for their groceries.

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and how and where they are using them, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to the use of public Wi-Fi: Read More »

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