Archive for October, 2009
Before I begin, the term Wi-Fi means Wireless Internet and is also known as Hot Spot.
Even though most business people look for Wi-Fi when choosing where to hold a business meeting, have lunch or grab a quick coffee, many restaurateurs often ask us, “Is Wi-Fi really important?”
A recent survey of 1,000 business people found a quarter of them now take advantage of Wi-Fi hot spots to work remotely from a coffee shop at least one day per week.
Many moons ago, back to the days, when indoor plumbing was a new phenomenon (this was before my time, in case anyone is wondering!) you had to pay to use toilets. How often are those kind of washrooms seen now? The same is happening with Wi-Fi. Some places do charge for Internet Access; why? Probably because someone may come in for hours and only buy a coffee. From our own clients, we can say that, this is not the case for most people. Usually if they are in a coffee shop and there for that long, they will get water or a snack and more often than not, lunch. This is not to say that everyone does this… BUT, those who will come in and use the cafe’s Internet for hours will also come in with their their own Internet sticks and do the same thing. Again, this is not a common practice. Also with the amount of patrons that come in with laptops and take up space is only a fraction of the people that use Wi-Fi these days… there are blackberry users, iPhone users, PDA’s, hand held devices are becoming more and more popular… Patrons usually look for Wi-Fi as a value added service… and really that is what it is. Another reason for cafes charging for Wi-Fi is because their usage goes over their allocated bandwidth – which simply means that it is being used so much that they have to pay for overages. Just like free washrooms and AC are a necessity, Wi-Fi is quickly following suit.
Most busy neighbourhoods will have 2-5 coffee shops within a 3 kilometer radius. In my own neighbourhood, there are two Tim Hortons, a Coffee Culture, A Williams, Second Cup and a Starbucks, the only one missing is Timothy’s:( All of these but Tim Hortons and Starbucks offer free Wi-Fi. Until about 6 months ago, only Williams was offering it, then Second Cup followed and when Coffee Culture opened up, they were sure to have it. Starbucks is the only to charge for their Wi-Fi and Tim Hortons, is the only one that does not provide Wi-Fi… yet! If it is only a matter of 3 kilometers or 5 or 7 for that matter, why would a patron chose the Starbucks for a meeting over one of the others that provides free Wi-Fi. I can certainly tell you the Williams and Coffee Culture are far busier than the Stabucks is.
Business Owners also often ask me why they have to pay so much to offer Wi-Fi. When you think about how much you are paying versus regular business Internet for yourself to use at work, it is really not that much. Instead of quoting competitors prices, I will give your our prices. PurePages can provide Business DSL for $49.95/month. A Wi-Fi account is only $79.95 / month. Why do you pay $30.00 extra? There are several reasons for this.
1) We believe, that you should do your job, as a restaurant owner, you have a business to run – we manage a full service Wi-Fi product. We will run our business so that you can run yours! If you ever have a problem with it, we provide same day response time. Even though we know all our clients personally, we have had clients for 2 years that we have not heard back from since install in regards to their Wi-Fi – this is a good thing as it means the system works!
2) We offer a splash page. On your splash page you can advertise whatever you would like, daily specials, upcoming events, congratulatory messages. You can even change this daily!
3) PurePages Internet unlike all other ISP’s provide filtered Internet. This means that all adult content is blocked. Again, you do not have to manage this or have filteration software on your systems… it is already part of the Internet that we provide. Some think that this is not an important feature. We were recently at one of the above mentioned cafes, and we (because it is our business) checked to see if you can surf porn… well, they did not have PurePages managed Wi-Fi services, and yes you could… full blown explicit porn… what about if kids are there or other people passing by… If someone is viewing it on the ever so popular 21 inch screen, you can see it even walking by… Situations like these are happening every day and are in local and national papers regularly now. Also, what if a regular customer of yours, was using your venue as a place to frequent child pornography… who is responsible then? The user or the cafe? Guess what? It is the cafe – because they are enabling that person by providing the Internet… This is why Filtered Internet is so important.
4) With PurePages you receive unlimited bandwith… you can not go over, and be charged more money. $79.95/m that’s all no extra costs.
HT Magazine conducted a survey that was recently sent to roughly 1,000 consumers, of which 257 people responded. The results showed that:
1) WiFi access has become an important amenity in restaurants and cafes
2) tech-savvy customers prefer restaurants or cafes with WiFi access
3) customers prefer the free-of-charge Wi-Fi model over the paid models in restaurants and
4) following predictors of the likelihood of a customer’s return to a restaurant are: Wi-Fi service availability, Wi-Fi service quality, the price of Wi-Fi service, the perceived risk of using Wi-Fi service, and the perceived value of Wi-Fi.
Given these trends, it is likely that the demand for Wi-Fi access in public places such as restaurants will only increase.
So to answer the question, Is Wi-Fi really Important? Yes, it’s not only important to have – it is also very important to provide it for free to all of your clients!
This past week, my brother told me about a 5th Estate episode he watched about online suicides…. that is one way to look at it. I watched this video today, and as they put it in the video, it can also be viewed as online serial murders. I just watched this about 15 minutes ago, and I have found it so disturbing, that I am not even really sure where to start… all I can think about is my children, and that this is what they will be exposed to in another 10 years, except by then, it will probably be something worse… wow!
This case, is about a very promising first year university student, Nadia Kajouji. She started her first year with a very good start, however a little while into the term, she ended up pregnant had a miscarriage and was depressed…. this was the beginning of the end. Because of her depression she had insomnia, at the beginning she was begging counselors and friends for help…. the help never came. After months of struggling for support… She found some support online. She searched about suicide online. Methods; what was effective and what was not, for statistics… suicide was something she thought about, and made an informed decision. However, her decision was influenced. Influenced in a way that no one knew about until it was too late. Over the months she had become mentally, socially and emotionally withdrawn so the people around her did not know that she was being tied into a suicidal world online.
After being on so many suicidal sites and chats online, she became friends with a 20-25 year old woman, who was also suicidal. Her screen name was “Li Dao” (later it was also found that this person also had screen names “falcon girl” and “Cami-D”) Li Dao, was a caring nurse who was in similar age, who also wanted to commit suicide, she was warm towards Nadia, often referring to her as “Hun”. Li Dao, was not only in contact with Nadia, but with an approx 500 others over a term of 5 years. Not all these people comitted suicide, but a known 5 have, and probably many unknown cases as well. Li Dao, encouraged suicide by hanging, going to the extent of telling these teens and young adults exactly what kind or rope to buy from their local Home Depot. Li Dao encouraged them to hang themselves in front of the web cam, telling them that they could do it together in front of their web cams, so they will not be scared and alone.
The reality: Li Dao, Falcon girl and Cami-D, were the same person. Not a 20-25 year old nurse that was depressed… but rather a 46 year old “family man” and a practicing nurse that had 2 daughters also about 20 years old. He was not depressed and had no intention of committing suicide at the same time as the others. He enjoyed watching them do it.
Someone from the UK, had been trying to follow Li Dao, and had tried submitting her information to several police departments in the UK and USA. No one wanted the info… not because it was false, but because Internet crimes are difficult to handle. This lady finally had some luck in Minnesota, where “Li Dao” resided they took the case and did some research, the police had spoken to him and of course he denied everything. He went to emergency and admitted that he aided other people online to commit suicide, the police after almost 2 years, have not pressed charges or arrested him.
He is still online. Perhaps under another name, perhaps not. Nadia, she was found in Rideau river 6 weeks after she jumped.
This is just one story about online predators. There are many. Beware, be careful, teach your kids, monitor what they do and who they talk to… and in a situation like this, talk to them. In this case, Nadia did not want to talk to her parents… have someone else talk to them, a girlfriend of yours… do whatever you can to find out what is happening…
After watching the nightly news, many of us think that the world is a cruel place, the online world can be even worse!
RIP Nadia Kajouji 1989-2008.