Wi-Fi offers huge opportunities, but here’s how companies could blow it

Gigaom

My humble wish is this: That in the industry’s collective rush to monetize the blossoming Wi-Fi marketplace, we don’t hobble it before it hits its stride. Because let’s face it, we could botch it so, so easily.

Up until fairly recently, Wi-Fi was about in-home PC connectivity. But a few factors – the popularity of smartphones, the advent of tablets, overburdened cellular networks, among others – have come together to make Wi-Fi ubiquitous and its use in public settings commonplace.

And the trend is only strengthening; In-Stat says that 800 million smartphones alone will ship in 2013 (and a few billion Wi-Fi equipped devices), and Cisco’s 2013 Global Mobile VNI report found that mobile offload will increase from 33 percent (429 petabytes/month) of mobile data traffic in 2012 to 46 percent (9.6 exabytes/month) in 2017.

In our exuberance to monetize the Wi-Fi industry, here are the three big ways where network operators or owners of service provider Wi-Fi deployments can mess…

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