7.25.2006

Why fi?

I've been giving a lot of thought recently to the emergence of Wi-fi...wireless broadband Internet access. It seems like every week I hear about a new device being Wi-fi enabled (like the new Microsoft Zune...iPod killer? We'll see.) or a new business providing free Wi-fi (someday Starbucks will get on board with this and quit charging for it).

A week ago I met with some potential clients and suggested they incorporate Wi-fi in an upcoming project. They were interested in the idea but I was most amused by the "we never thought of that" looks followed by the "we really should have thought of that" looks they all had. I was glad to help but it verified for me that Wi-fi has a long way to go before it's top-of-mind technology.

From a business school 101 perspective you can break it down like this: Wi-fi has a high perceived value and low actual cost. Can you beat a deal like that? The actual cost for Wi-fi is $50 or so a month for a high speed connection and a $50 wireless router. Depending on the broadcast range you're trying to cover the cost could be incrementally higher, but still, the mere presence of Wi-fi these days communicates the message, "I get it."

So what do you get if you "get it"? Buzz for one. If your location has Wi-fi it won't take long before people know about it. Don't ever forget that the very people interested in Wi-fi are also the ones who will tell others interested in Wi-fi (and might even do it while they're online in your location). It's like telling other thirsty people in the desert where to find the water.

You'll also get people. It's about as close to "if you build it they will come" as you can get...particularly when Wi-fi is scarce in your community. For instance, I have a mental list of every known location in my home and work communities with free Wi-fi. Just today I discovered that Corky's BBQ in Brentwood now has free Wi-fi. Quite honestly I was surprised to see it...but I know I'll be back there with a laptop one day...it's now inevitable.

So what does this have to do with church? I'll have more on that in the next day or two. I've got some specific ideas for Wi-fi in church. In the meantime, if you've got a business location...particularly a retail or restaurant location...get Wi-fi asap!

1 comment:

Steve said...

I am shocked that churches didn't install wifi 3 years ago. Just think of all the advantages,,,and talk about making yourselves more relevant to the younger audiences.