The benefits of public Wi-Fi access on our society
How does public Wi-Fi access improve our society’s development? Let’s find it out.
Nowadays, Wi-Fi technologies are widely adopted and play a major role in increasing people’s quality of life. Let’s see in this post how our society can benefit from public Wi-Fi access, as a way to improve its well-being and become more efficient.
Public administration sector
Public Wi-Fi is a great opportunity for governments to connect entire cities: smart cities deploying free Wi-Fi are largely increasing and as a result, can effectively empower their communities with better services.
For instance, Tanaza’s authorized partner Tacira, a Brazilian system integrator and solution provider, delivers smart digital services, such as smart waste management, smart security and smart lighting to public spaces around Brazil, relying on a cloud Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Another advantage that public Wi-Fi access brings to communities is represented by public libraries: everyone, even those who can’t afford internet at home, can benefit from a free connection and use it to access public services, look for jobs, or for their personal entertainment, i.e. learning a new language.
Equipping public transportation with free Wi-Fi access is another example of how public Wi-Fi positively affects communities: residents and travelers can enjoy a better travel experience and get real-time information about transports, so as to better plan their routes.
Furthermore, statistics show that 40% of traffic jams in city centers is as a result of drivers searching for parking lots. In this respect, the city of Barcelona, solved this traffic congestion problem by adopting special parking sensors, which work with an online application and show citizens where there are available parking areas.
Public Wi-Fi access can have a huge impact on tourism, too. When traveling, indeed, people want to stay in contact with their family and friends, share their holiday pictures on their social networks and check travel information. As a consequence, tourists are more incentivized to travel to a location if they can use the internet for free. Providing a city with free Wi-Fi hotspots would be advantageous both for tourists, who would enjoy internet connection without roaming charges, and for the local economy, which would largely benefit from increased levels of tourism.
By providing free Wi-Fi to students and to the academic staff, educational institutions can leverage wireless education to improve their digital studies’ curriculum. Examples of effective implementation of free Wi-Fi in schools are New Taipei City, Taiwan, which in 2015 introduced tablets and computers in 300 schools, and the LSD Lisbon School of Design, Portugal, which, thanks to the Tanaza Wi-Fi, has been providing students and staff with a seamless and reliable Wi-Fi network since 2015. In this way, student and teachers can effectively use wifi-enabled devices for educational purposes and, at the same time, the institution can develop innovative teaching techniques based on collaborative and interactive learning.
Furthermore, thanks to free wireless services, smart education techniques can be at the fingertips of anyone and anywhere, which increases digital inclusion: people coming from unprivileged areas can take online courses for free, taking advantage of the plethora of online educational services available (ebooks, MOOCs, etc.).
Thanks to Wi-Fi, information and communication technology has overcome geographical and social distance, homogenizing our society.
Wi-Fi technology applied to healthcare services largely improves hospitals and clinics’ performances. For instance, thanks to wireless apps doctors can have instant access to their patients’ clinical information and easily communicate with them. In addition, public Wi-Fi facilitates rural health care: indeed, patients living in rural areas can use their Wi-Fi network to reach doctors remotely. At the same time, Wi-Fi allows real-time location monitoring, meaning that it makes it possible to track the position of the medical staff within a healthcare building and to better plan the use of resources: both patients and equipment can be directed to the right place at the right time.
According to a report from Cisco, commercial public Wi-Fi hotspots are expected to grow from 8.8 million in 2016 to 15.3 Million by 2021. This optimistic forecast is related to the positive revenues that businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, bars, cafès, salons, hotels and shopping malls, among many, have gained from offering free Wi-Fi connection to their clients. Customers, in turn, can leverage freely accessible Wi-Fi connection while shopping. Furthermore, free Wi-Fi connections available in public venues can be a solution for people who can’t afford home broadband connections – whose tariffs are pretty high in some countries.
As for hospitality, according to a study from Systemagic, free and high-speed Wi-Fi, together with good connectivity in terms of bandwidth, are powerful tools for hotels to increase customer satisfaction. The report shows that, in 2016, 65% of guests of Roomzzz, an English aparthotel chain, accessed free Wi-Fi within 7 minutes of check-in, and a quarter of guests revealed that they would not opt for a hotel that didn’t offer free Wi-Fi services. Investing in better Wi-Fi services in the hospitality industry is, therefore, essential to attracting tourists and improving the guest experience. At the same time, investment in Wi-Fi services could benefit the local economy due to growth in its tourism sector.