4G and WiFi Must Work in Tandem…..

Posted on April 23, 2012

Read this Business Computing World article by Devicescape’s own, John Lillie, as he makes the case for WiFi and 4G working together efficiently.  The case for WiFi offload is never more apparent than today. http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/4g-and-wifi-must-work-in-tandem-due-to-ever-growing-mobile-demand/

The Rise Of Retail WiFi

Posted on March 1, 2012

Everybody is used to free WiFi in coffee shops, airports and even restaurants, but perhaps less well known is the amount of WiFi in other public places, in particular retail stores. Our dashboard at Devicescape shows an increasing number of retail venues offering free WiFi. Topping the list of places you might not expect to find WiFi are The Home Depot and Sam’s Club, but there are entries in our reports almost every day from Macy’s, Nordstrom, Staples, Safeway, Whole Foods Markets, Winn Dixie and Kroger. And then there are the malls too, with the Macerich owned malls coming out as our clear winners in providing WiFi access to shoppers every day. Users Want It Our Q4 survey shows that over 80% of respondents would be more likely to visit a store if their device could automatically connect to free in-store WiFi. In many retail locations cellular coverage is poor or non-existent, so being able to have that “always on” data connection hop automatically onto a WiFi network makes a lot of sense. Even if you can’t call or text because your carrier connection has gone, you can still email, IM, Skype etc over the store’s WiFi network. In Store…

The Ultrabook I want to see

Posted on January 17, 2012

One of the bigger stories from last week’s CES was the Ultrabook. Whether or not you agree with the oft-repeated dialog that Ultrabooks are merely Macbook Air copies — and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – you probably feel it’s a good thing that the PC makers are trying hard to make better products.  Although I’m all for sharp design, lower weight, instant on etc, my own personal belief is that the PC world is somewhat missing the point with the current emphasis of the Ultrabook. The big picture isn’t about competing with Macs, it’s about the mass transition to mobile and how that affects the PC industry as a whole. So, what’s my issue?  I think that the least important difference between notebooks and today’s mobile devices is weight, design, and instant on. Those are all things that the PC industry should have been working on anyway.  Even touch, which isn’t in evidence in the current crop of Ultrabooks but shows up in the roadmap, isn’t such as big of a factor given the rich interface of the PC.  No, to me the biggest issue is around connectivity and the constant availability of the network. Think about…

VPNs and Public Hotspots

Posted on January 4, 2012

Written by guest blogger, Dennis Bland, Senior Field Engineer at Devicescape You’re sipping your latte and surfing the web at your local coffee joint, just like millions of other people do every day.  You’ve probably wondered about the security of your Wi-Fi connection, and it’s safe to say many articles have been written about it. First, a summary of the most common methods to make your hotspot internet connection secure: 1.  Visit websites with “https:” in the URL.  In this case, your browser automatically creates an encrypted data “tunnel” between your browser and the server of the website you are currently browsing.  This arrangement is required by law for on-line banking, and is almost always employed on any web page where you have to enter personal information such as a username/password or credit card information.  It is important to point out that for this type of connection it does not matter what type of Wi-Fi connection you have, as the data is already encrypted.  This method of security is very secure (assuming your web browser does not complain of a “certificate error”) because it encrypts the entire path from your web browser to the website server, including the wired connection…

Black Friday: The Data

Posted on December 5, 2011

Michael has already taken a look at the Black Friday data we saw in our regular reports, and the reasons why WiFi might matter for retailers like Macy’s, Safeway and Home Depot to include free access in their stores. I’m going to look at this data from a different perspective completely, and think about what we can tell just from the connection trends we see, and whether there is an additional value that a retailer could gain from their free service in terms of what they can deduce from usage. The bar graph to the right (click on it to get a larger version) shows the percentage change in number of connections for each day of the black Friday week compared to the preceding week. As expected, all the networks in this sample showed a drop in traffic on Thanksgiving day. Interestingly, not to zero, but that might be partially explained by all the connection times being recorded in PST, so some of the early morning Friday connections from stores in more eastern time zones would have been counted as Thursday connections. Foot Traffic I’m sure all of these stores have detailed reporting on their sales over this period, but…

What Black Friday means to the Wi-Fi world

Posted on December 1, 2011

Black Friday has come and gone.  As usual, the yearly craziness ensues such as all night shopping sprees, near-riots at retailers, and sadly, the occasional assault for merchandise or in this year’s case, pepper spray attacks.  Now, the craziness will only continue as Chanukah and Christmas are upon us. Here at Devicescape we took it upon ourselves to analyze Wi-Fi usage and trends that emerged across our network during this year’s Black Friday frenzy. Since our virtual Wi-Fi network is made up of publically accessible Wi-Fi hotspots found around the world in places such as cafes, department stores, restaurants, hotels and airports to random shops that offer Wi-Fi as an amenity to their customers, we are able to track activity and connections within these available Wi-Fi network environments. What did we find? The obvious insight was that because of our millions of users, connections to in-store Wi-Fi spiked dramatically versus the week before. While the rise in connectivity is interesting, what gets my attention are the stores that offer some type of Wi-Fi service.  Stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and Barnes and Nobles bubbled up to the top of our network location list. So is it a surprise that these stores…

Online Video Watching Reaches Record High in October

Posted on November 30, 2011

The case for data offload onto Wi-Fi becomes clearer to me every day.  comScore just released its October statistics from its Video Metrix report and the current findings are astounding.  For the month of October, they cite 42.6 billion videos have been viewed which translates to approximately 21 hours on average per viewer.  It’s unclear how much data that really is but I think it’s safe to say that it constitutes A LOT. Admittedly, these stats don’t break out what type of device is streaming the content.  Therefore, it’s most likely a mix of desktop and mobile devices but in what quantities is uncertain.  Even if streaming to mobile i.e. smartphones and tablets is the lesser of the two, we’re still talking large amounts of data being streamed across wireless networks.  I can’t say with great certainty that the wireless operators are capable of handling the data presently across their networks without issue or even efficiently.  We’ve all experienced problems when streaming content at one point or another, and I’m not just talking about movies or music.  When it comes to simple web browsing, who hasn’t experienced lag?  But what happens in five years or even ten as data usage…

Is mobile privacy an issue for you while shopping at your local retailer?

Posted on November 29, 2011

That sounds like a loaded question doesn’t it.  By hearing that question out of context, one would most likely answer yes.  Now let me bring it into context.  A recent CNN article reported two malls in the US are axing programs that would track and survey shoppers in their venues through their mobile phones.  The creators of the technology iterate that personal data like name or phone number aren’t captured.  What are tracked though are movements which could be used to analyze shopping patterns and any other qualitative information such as survey answers which can also be collected. Now assuming your data is anonymized, would you still be ok with a retailer tracking and communicating with you?  What if through these mobile means, you would be able to receive in-store coupons or incentives?  What if the opt-in/opt-out process were more obvious?  If the privacy concerns are eased, wouldn’t these incentives add value to the customer shopping experience? The proprietors of this mobile technology, Path Intelligence, compare it to online retail tracking.  Online retailers are able to track customer habits, purchases and the overall user experience while still protecting the privacy of their consumers.  By this rationale, it seems to make…

Wi-Fi’s Impact on M-commerce

Posted on November 23, 2011

The holidays are almost here and Black Friday, a retail phenomenon during the holiday season, signifies the kickoff of retail madness.  That day is slowly being overshadowed by Cyber Monday, the following Monday where retailers are encouraging customers to shop online.  As stores are trying to find other selling channels and methods to attract customers, mobile commerce is soon becoming relevant to the retail industry. Now where does Wi-Fi fit in all of this?  Wi-Fi has already been a common staple in coffee shops and various eating establishments.  In fact, whenever one walks into a Starbucks or McDonalds, it’s almost expected to see someone browsing the internet on their laptop, tablet or smartphone.  Scanning the 5 million global hotspots in the Devicescape Virtual Network, I can see that’s it’s more than just coffee shops or fast food restaurants.    I’m surprised to learn that retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s and Safeway are constantly showing up in the network. So what does this mean?  It means that Wi-Fi is more pervasive that we think.  It means that it’s not just in your home or at some select store.  It means that retailers are giving access to their Wi-Fi network to add customer…