“Wi-Fi is critical to deliver multimedia content to a proliferation of connected devices to enable a connected global economy,” said Linda Hui from Ruckus Networks at an early October press conference in Hong Kong.
“If IT departments need to spend considerable time fixing Wi-Fi issues, this puts severe pressure on the organization to digitally transform, reduce operational costs and hinders their ability to deliver new products, services and revenue models,” said Hui, the firm's managing director for Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In the survey of eight Asia-Pacific markets by Ruckus—which was acquired by Arris last year—76% of Hong Kong enterprises said they intend to upgrade their Wi-Fi equipment in the next 12 months. “This is to meet demands for enhanced Wi-Fi security, improve overall user experiences, and provide a stable high-speed connection [that can handle] the rise in multimedia content,” said Ruckus in a statement.
The firm said “an equipment overhaul is long due in many [Hong Kong] businesses as 35% said they estimated HK$400,000 per year ($51,300) is lost annually due to connectivity issues.
Survey stats & specs
This is according to the firm's first “Asia Pacific State of Wi-Fi Study, which surveyed 1,200 business and IT leaders in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan to identify Wi-Fi usage trends and expectations.” “Respondents ranged from mid- to large-sized organizations and are in decision-making or implementation roles for IT-related initiatives.”
“From a corporate perspective, implementing Wi-Fi in the workplace meant better productivity (74%), flexibility (55%), and improved collaboration (44%),” said Ruckus. “Yet over half (51%) had experienced at least six instances of connectivity downtime, and 9% indicated they had over 20 instances in the last twelve months.”
More importantly, Ruckus said their survey indicates that “half of all businesses said a bad Wi-Fi experience can negatively impact a brand image.”
As usual, security concerns top the list. When rating the current state of Wi-Fi security in their organizations, 47% of Hong Kong firms said it was good or very good—compared to 53% across Asia Pacific. However, 61% also said they only used basic usernames and passwords to provide Wi-Fi access, while 16% indicated they have an open Wi-Fi network with no secure log-in measures.
The survey also found that Hong Kong businesses suffered losses of HK$37 million ($4.8 million) in total over the past year due to Wi-Fi downtime. Apart from monetary losses, 48% of Hong Kong respondents said their IT departments needed to spend about a week or more each month to manage Wi-Fi or network-related issues.
“Today, Hong Kong people expect a seamless, reliable and fast Wi-Fi experience and accessibility whether at home, at work, on the move or at a public venue,” said Hui. “When there is a connectivity issue or other disruption to the Wi-Fi experience, this dampens accessibility by throttling the ability to work anywhere, at any time with productivity taking a hit.”
Ruckus said the survey demonstrates “how ingrained Wi-Fi has become in Hong Kong society,” as 51 percent of respondents said they carry at least four Wi-Fi enabled devices including smartphones, smart watches, laptops, and tablets.
But work & home setups are preferred by Hong Kongers. Respondents voiced concerns about the Wi-Fi service offered in public places with 81% saying slow Wi-Fi connection speeds top their list of concerns with connection drops and limited coverage area close behind. Only 17% said they had enjoyed a good or very good experience using public Wi-Fi.
First published in Computerworld Hong Kong