Feature Article

May 27, 2014

80 Percent of Business Travelers Prefer Wi-Fi

Some 80 percent of 2,202 respondents to an iPass survey of business travelers and mobile workers overwhelmingly preferred Wi-Fi for Internet access, over mobile Internet connections, when working outside the office.

That arguably is one more data point in the “Wi-Fi first” trend shaping so much of communications with a “beautiful chaos” character, according to June Bower, iPass chief marketing officer. But one of the issues with such a “patchwork quilt” infrastructure is that connecting is not especially easy.

Respondents said Wi-Fi was preferred because it is faster, cheaper, offers higher bandwidth for video and cloud-based applications, and is more reliable than mobile data access.

“Either 3G or 4G often does not work,” said Bower. “And if you have to use a credit card to buy transient access, the objection often is the price.”

Even when willingness to pay is not an issue, the time it takes to get authorized and connected can be an issue.

So iPass has launched its cloud-based “Business Traveler Service 2.0,” a cloud-based service delivery model that illustrates the value of “network functions virtualization.”

The cloud-based authentication approach service addresses the “time to gain access” problem when users log in to 2.7 million hotspots in airports, airplanes, hotels and public areas worldwide.

The iPass service simplifies connectivity for the “Wi-Fi first” business travelers, who can now use a single log-in for Wi-Fi access at iPass locations, from PCs, tablets or smartphones at 3,000 airports and 22 airlines, on approximately 2,150 airplanes flown by 22 airlines, as well as 72,000 hotels and convention centers.

Enterprises using the iPass Business Travel 2.0 service eliminate the need for employees to use credit cards to gain access, while also supplying high quality, advertisement-free Wi-Fi service.

Businesses simply provide a list of users who they would like to access the service, and iPass takes care of the rest.

iPass uses automated messaging to inform users about the service, prompt them to activate their accounts and then keep them engaged in using the service. In addition, iPass takes care of all end user communications and support, as well as providing hotspot information so travelers can find the best Wi-Fi connectivity where they happen to be.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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