Access to WiFi is more important than any one of us might have realised.
An article in the UK Times this January, referred to claims that upon arrival in European migrant camps, access to WiFi was more important to refugees than checking for basic commodities like food, water or even sanitation facilities.
Astounding. But when you think about it, wouldn’t we be the same?
If you have travelled far and wide and possibly through hazardous terrains to find safety – one of the first things you’re going to do when you get there, is find a way to contact loved ones left behind.
And we all do this already in our own way.
If we’re heading off on holiday or just for a quick trip abroad for work, when we land we’re most likely looking for an easily accessible WiFi connection so we can let our loved ones, friends and colleagues know that we’ve landed safely and we’re onto the next part of our journey. It’s automatic.
Even before we’ve left the country we’re already thinking of easy ways to stay connected. Whether we’re looking at hotels or AirBnB accommodation, our eyes hunt for confirmation that our destination has WiFi, without it even being a conscious thought.
Going about our daily lives, smooth and constant connections are a must.
Think about the times you enter a restaurant, office or a coffee shop, ‘Could I have your WiFi password please?’ In some cases you don’t even need to ask, WiFi passwords are promoted very visibly on signs dotted around the rooms. It might be for your phone, your laptop or your tablet, whatever device you’ve got in hand, you want it connected.
In the street as we walk to our cars, to the places we frequent on a regular basis, or the new ones we visit from time to time, needing to be connected is just who we are now.
Talking of connected ‘devices’, we’ll probably soon witness the day where our calendar is pre-programmed into our cars before we leave home, so that the inbuilt GPS system has already plotted the best route to get to our destinations, avoiding the worst of the traffic jams and road-works. Given the speed at which technology is advancing, this is probably just around the corner. Or perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part.
Dependency on WiFi has reached unprecedented levels worldwide.
Malta’s reliance on WiFi is no different to the rest of the world. In fact, given our sunny weather and ‘outdoorsy’ nature through-out most of the year, we’re probably more in demand of free and easily accessible WiFi on the move than a lot of other colder countries.
How dependent on WiFi are you?
Here’s a quick exercise to help you figure it out how important WiFi is to you personally.
List down the top 10 things you need daily. Things that you just can’t do without.
Some of us might put chocolate in there, or having a bath or shower, or even a few cups of tea/coffee for the night owls amongst us. Or sleep. But I can almost guarantee you that somewhere on this list, the majority will have listed WiFi and being connected.
Direct Line Insurance in the UK conducted a study on how much we value being connected, and the results were quite staggering.
Out of 2,000 people polled 48% said they could go longer without seeing family than being able to use the internet. One in eight of those 2,000 people said that they would prefer to relinquish food in favour of connecting to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Another one in eight claimed that they could not function happily if they didn’t have access to their mobile phones and the internet for more than an hour.
Homes are happier places when all devices and the humans that own them (or was that the other way around!) have access to fast internet connections and fast WiFi.
We are also happier people when we know the information we seek, the person we need to contact, or the work we conduct is available wherever and whenever we need it.
Seamless connectivity as we bustle about our busy lives.
A few years ago, before we launched Malta’s first Free WiFi service for all Melita clients, some of our peers couldn’t understand our vision of things to come. Perhaps that’s why we’re always ahead of the competition when it comes to services people and businesses want.
We knew then as we know now (75,000 hotspots around Malta and Gozo later), that being able to rely on our devices and our service providers to provide flawless connectivity was fundamental to being happy. So, we delivered.
These days smartphones are considered a basic humanitarian necessity. And the joy of a smartphone is ultimately that it offers a connection to the web.
Affordable mobile internet is brilliant, but WiFi? Well, maybe it is more important than chocolate. And that’s saying something.
Check out our WiFi on the move service. If you’re a Melita mobile or internet client it’s totally free!
What are you waiting for?