Research by iPass, a leading wi-fi provider, estimates that by 2018, there will be more than 340 million wi-fi hotspots globally. That equates to one hotspot for every 20 people. Of course the distribution is by no means equal across the globe. Those figures broken down are - one hotspot for every four Americans, but only one per 408 Africans for example. Check out iPass' interactive map that demonstrates their research fully.
Hotspots are designed to fill in the gaps that mobile operator's coverage does not reach. They are often free of charge and take advantage of domestic or comercial wi-fi routers to offer free internet access to subscribers of the same network. Currently Europe has the highest density of wi-fi hotspots. Cafes, retail locations and hotels contribute massively to the comprehensive coverage.
Europe has a decent level of coverage, with future projections encouraging. With the growing reliance on online mobile solutions, this is essential to ensure supply meets demand. Being able to always have connection whether through mobile network providers, or wi-fi hotspots, provides a certain level of certainty that there will always be a connection to deliver mobile payment solutions for example. Furthermore, connected customers allows retailers to offer other KYC benefits. For special offers and loyalty bonuses to be sent straight to customers' mobile phones, consistent connections are required in-stores - hotspots can help ensure that.
There is another potential frustration with the hotspot system: a wide variety of different log-ins to remember and complete in order to utilise them. The most successful hotspot providers will be those who offer the easiest and most seamless activation. That's where a log-in systems like Ensygnia Onescan could come in extremely useful. With your identity stored securely with Ensygnia on your smartphone, log-in could be achieved simply with one scan or one touch.
By Matthew Taylor 4th November 2014
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