May 28, 2015 — The Wi-Fi hotspot movement is, well, hot. Cablevision has been using this technology for a while in a program called “Freewheel.” Now, Comcast is eyeing a similar plan. Why not? They have over 8 million hotspots. Their plan, like Cablevision, is to offer an unlimited voice, text, and data and for around $30 per month, based on Wi-Fi hot spots.
This means that VoWi-fi is gaining in both credibility and reality, and devices specifically designed for this service are starting to materialize. However … all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Maybe one day, but not right now, there will be enough hotspots and diversity of devices to call it a trend. It will take a LOT of hotspots of cover the population anywhere near what licensed wireless can. And, there are still issues with Wi-Fi handoffs, latency and, frankly, it is unlicensed.
Not to say there isn’t a place for it. But for the near term, it will be an adjunct technology that will work in conjunction with licensed, much like data is being handled today.
Another rather convoluted area in Wi-Fi is how to monetize it. The reality is that Wi-Fi, directly, is an expense. It may contribute to the bottom line in peripheral business, like additional patrons, a bit better rents, or at venues, but the magic bullet is finding a way to actually make money directly off of it.
Well, hats off to the entrepreneurs at Maryland’s AllCity Wireless. It has launched a platform, called ÜberWi,” with an eye to making Wi-Fi as obnoxious as TV, with much the same model. It had to happen. The model works for TV, so why not for smart devices. Yes, you guessed it, their product connects to the Internet and existing access points and provides both the central management functionality and a platform to directly pummel customers with advertisements, special offers and other promotions. AAUGH!!! in the words of Charlie Brown.
This model is a bit different than the competition, though. It is cloud-based, easy to operate, and relatively inexpensive, compared to its competitors. Ahhh…just what I have been waiting for. Now I well need junk filter app for my smart devices.