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Mobile Business Users Embrace Wi-Fi

Once the exclusive domain of senior executives, mobile devices are now indispensable to most employees for conducting both their business and personal lives. The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. In parallel, 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. Once shunned by corporate IT departments, Wi-Fi increasingly has made its way into most businesses.

Business users are the most valuable customer segment for mobile operators. Changes in mobile behavior and usage, particularly with regard to Wi-Fi, could have a significant impact on service providers’ (SPs) bottom line. However, there is little research on how mobile business users are actually using Wi-Fi, how they want to employ it in the future, and, more specifically, what is driving them to connect their devices to the Internet using Wi-Fi.

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The World’s Wi-Fi Laboratory

I recently returned from visiting the world’s Wi-Fi laboratory – the United Kingdom. Everywhere you look in the United Kingdom, there is a sign promoting the availability of Wi-Fi, and my mobile device was constantly identifying a long list of available hotspots. The world’s oldest subway system – affectionately known as The Tube – even allows you to connect to the Internet as you await your train hundreds of feet below historical London. Visitors from around the world at the Summer Olympics were greeted with high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout the Olympic venues, allowing them to enhance their experience with instant access to additional information, videos, and communications through their mobile devices.

Our recent Cisco IBSG research, What Britons Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile, reveals that Britain is definitely leading the way in the availability and use of Wi-Fi. Our study confirms that Britons seem to be content with coverage in first-tier locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, but are now looking for Wi-Fi to be just as pervasive in other places where they spend their lives. Hospitals, bus stops, retail stores, pubs, and the High Street (or city centers) top the list of additional locations where Britons would like to access Wi-Fi.

The study revealed that mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled “nomadic” devices. Britons own an average of 2.6 mobile devices, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-enabled. Britons spend an average of 2.6 hours per day using their mobile devices in their homes, compared with only 0.6 hours per day in a typical “mobile” on-the-go world. Read More »

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Maple Leaf Wi-Fi

I recently returned from meeting with the majority of Canada’s service providers to share the results of our recent Cisco IBSG research, “What Canadians Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile.” Wi-Fi is everywhere in Canada, as exemplified by the photo that I took at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Our study confirms this, as Canadians seem to be content with coverage in first-tier locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, but are now looking for Wi-Fi to be just as pervasive in other places where they spend their lives. Parks, bus stops, retail stores, shopping malls, and hospitals top the list of additional locations where Canadians would like to be able to access Wi-Fi.

The study revealed that mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled “nomadic” devices. Canadians own an average of 2.4 mobile devices, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-enabled.  Canadians spend an average of 2.8 hours per day using their mobile devices in their homes, compared to only 0.5 hours per day in a typical “mobile” on-the-go world.

The Cisco IBSG study also revealed that mobile users are connecting their devices predominantly via Wi-Fi, including 75 percent of smartphone owners. In fact, on average, smartphone users use Wi-Fi one-third of the time to Read More »

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BYOD: Employee-Led Innovation Goes Global

 Millions consumers around the globe are buying smartphones, tablets, and other advanced mobile devices loaded with features and apps that can be used for business as well as for their own personal communication and entertainment needs. Many of these people have started taking these devices to work and integrating them into their daily workflow. This trend is often called “bring your own device,” or BYOD.

Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) wanted to know how prevalent BYOD is, and how corporate IT departments are handling these new devices in terms of support, network access, and security. In the spring of 2012, we surveyed 600 IT decision makers in U.S. enterprises, and then expanded our study in the summer of 2012 to include 4,900 IT decision makers in midsize companies and enterprises – in a total of nine countries.

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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

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