The world has changed in the last 20 years. Think about this… What is the first thing you do when you wake up? And what is the last thing you do before you go to bed? For me, when I wake, I turn off the alarm that is on my phone and I check to see if I have any messages. Before I go to bed, same thing.
We are connected to our friends and colleagues in a way that we could never have imagined 20 years ago. We expect to be able to contact everybody at any time, whether it’s by phone, text, email or instant messaging. All of these methods of communication now use the Internet.
Approximately 30% of the planet’s population using the Internet. To put that in perspective, around 8% of the population have money in the bank. The Internet is connecting the World and bringing information and knowledge to every corner of the Earth (almost). There are now 300,000,000,000 emails are sent every day.
So what about us? I’m going to talk about conferences and meetings because that’s what I know. If I’m in a conference or in a meeting, I need to know that people can contact me. I might have to join a last minute conference call or send some urgent documentation to a colleague. So why is it that hotels and conference centres don’t provide me (a paying customer) with free wifi? Well, many of them do.
Even governments and councils recognise the importance of internet. O2 provided free wifi in London during the Olympics and Virgin have been trialling free wifi on the London Underground.
ABPCO (Association of British Professional Conference Organisers) have a campaign called ‘The Conference Cloud’. I am a massive supporter and I think more venues should sign up and adhere to the rules. It’s easy and cheap to make sure your guests can do their work when they’re on your site. That’s what 15 Hatfields Conference Centre have done by recently upgrading their wifi and their ‘pipeline’ to ensure everybody gets a very decent connection. I know it’s good, we installed it and guests love it!