Hotspot providers are increasingly adding applications in addition to plain old Internet connectivity to their wireless offerings: The industry has passed the "gee whiz" factor and providers are finding out that the key to encouraging usage of hotspots and the key to leveraging hotspots to boost business is by offering applications that customers can use. The Feature writes about GPS Industries, a company that caters to golf courses. The Wi-Fi offering has lead to some tangible revenue benefits. Golf cart rentals have increased because the carts come with Wi-Fi enabled PCs. Golfers order more expensive food because they can order it from their carts. The course can also offer golfers more information about the course.
Michael Oh at NewburyOpen.net was one of the first people I noticed focusing on the application. He's experimented with offering a printing service for Wi-Fi users as well as a comparison shopping application in a bookstore.
It's interesting to watch the evolution of Wi-Fi compared to the evolution of the cellular networks. When the cellular operators first started talking about introducing data services, from the very start they were talking about the services that must be offered at the same time. They were very aware of the need to offer customers something to do with their data services rather than just Internet access. No comment on whether they've succeeded in offering applications that result in widespread use.