Yadda yadda yadda hype yadda dotcom yadda yadda Wi-Fi: Another sort of tedious mainstream article that looks at the present state of Wi-Fi hot spots and extrapolates that no additional users will ever increase the pool of money, and disregards the piles of evidence I found in a Seattle Times article a few weeks ago that venues are seeing an increase in business.
The bottom line in this piece is that it uses two reports to predict the future, and then looks at current numbers to explain why hot spots will fail. The Gartner report covered Europe and I think is ridiculously pessimistic. A hot spot CEO and I were talking the other day and he agreed with a statement I made: how many people have a Wi-Fi adapter in their laptop and don't use it? It begs to be used. Likewise, the scattered expensive hot spot market across Europe discourages high use, even though roaming is somewhat more prevalent than in the US.
The reporter also cites John Yunker's report about the future of per-user revenue for hot spots versus other telecommunications' flavors. Yes, the report makes sense, but what the reporter ignores is that in his model there are a substantial number of users. The per-user revenue is driven down in part because the cost of providing service becomes lower and more models of offering service will flourish.
I remember all the articles in 1997 timeframe that predicted the dotcom crash -- but for the wrong reason. They assumed that it was a fad and that no one would buy books from Amazon.com. In fact, the problem was basic business management and understanding how to scale to a profit with low margins, a fact that most ecommerce companies didn't understand. But the problem wasn't usage, interest, or (in many cases) actual revenue.
No one knows whether any of the current models for Wi-Fi hot spots will pan out. But it's obvious that we're still at the very beginning of the curve: if the crash happens, it will happen big, with 10,000s of hot spots installed worldwide. If success happens, it will be equally large, with tens of millions of monthly subscribers worldwide. But we just won't know for at least three or four years what the end of this story is.