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High on Wi-Fi

Author: Anton Komarov

The future of this megacity is definitely wireless if trends in new technology are analysed. Internet service providers say apart from businessmen, there are a growing number of hotels and restaurants that are fast converting themselves to Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity)(read wireless internet) hotspots.

This is mainly to attract foreign business delegates, who constitute a major chunk of their clientele. ‘‘The city is fast becoming techno savvy. Corporates zero in on Wi-Fi enabled hotels before they book the rooms. People want freedom at their fingertips. They want to be connected with the rest of the world at their convenience,’’ says Chirag Mehta, CEO, Icenet.‘‘It is a blessing for the hospitality industry in particular since their revenues have shot up considerably after introduction of Wi-Fi,’’ he adds.Cafe Mocha, which was recently opened in the city, is also Wi-Fi enabled. Interestingly, other branches of Mocha in the metros are yet to convert to Wi-Fi. ‘‘This is the first city where we have opted for a Wi-Fi specially because this is an upmarket place with most of our customers belonging to the business class,’’ says Mihir Gajrawala, assistant manager, Mocha. ‘‘Our customers are mostly young executives who walk in with their laptops. And we would like them to spend quality time at our cafe,’’ he says.‘‘Investment in the wireless technology is worth it since you have customers enjoying food alongwith entering into business deals. They spend more time then. It is a win-win situation for both of us,’’ says manager of Mint, Kavit Sanghvi who got the technology in July last year. And the best part is these lounge cafes do not charge their customers for using the internet.Agrees Prashant Shah, a business proprietor, who frequents the restaurant thrice a week, armed with his laptop. ‘‘The place is just right to refresh yourself and stay connected with your business partners. You never know when you strike a deal,’’ he says. TCs, another lounge cafe near Gujarat College too introduced it three months ago. ‘‘Our owner took a cue from the technology when he visited London. And it is working well for us too,’’ says Nitin Chavan, manager.Le Meridien, which has a Wi-Fi in place since 2001, claims to be the first hotel in the State to have the technology. ‘‘Wi-Fi, which has been our USP, has contributed to a great extent to our revenues. It comes as a surprise to our customers that hotels in Ahmedabad have it while in metros too they don’t have the facility,’’ says Ashish Gaur, front office manager of the hotel.Meanwhile Hotel Fortune Landmark, besides a Wi-Fi, has also introduced a new technology called the Power Line Connection. ‘‘While Wi-Fi is for public areas like coffee lounge, PLC can be accessed inside the room using a conversion device,’’ says Manas Banerjee, Food and Beverages manager at the hotel.All you need for going Wi-Fi is an Intel Centrino laptop (which has an inbuilt Wi-Fi) or else a PC with a Wi-Fi card apart from a Wi-Fi accesspoint (till where runs the cable of the ISP) which will cost you anywhere between Rs 3500-4000. The rest of the job is done by the internet service providers like Iqara, IceNet and E-comm who are Wi-Fi compatible and have their own internet connection packages.While in our city we have Wi-Fi hotspots (the area that is covered by Wi-Fi, usually 50-60 mts), in places like US an entire city is covered by Wi-Fi (termed as hotzone) to increase the efficiency of public service systems like schools, hospitals and security. ‘‘That makes use of Radio Frequency and doesn’t really work in our city. But Wireless internet at public places is a thumbs up,’’ says Pushparaj Jhala, assistant manager, Iqara.Few of you might know that MG International School is Wi-Fi enabled as most students bring laptops. ‘‘We just wanted to get rid of the cables. Besides it builds a rapport among students and teachers and enables them to share ideas,’’ says Benjamin Mailian, new technology co-ordinator.WHAT IS WI-FI* Wi-Fi stands for wireless fidelity* You need either an Intel Centrino or have a Wi-Fi card in your laptop/ PC.* With Wi-Fi, you don’t need to search for plug points.* The area which covers the Wi-Fi access is termed as a hotspot* There are Wi-Fi enabled cities in US called hotzones. This is for an efficient public service system

Cisco certified wi-fi engineer. Working in Moscow, Russia. Personal web-site

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