It's Becoming a WiFi World

Whether or not you are using them yet, there is no doubt that the emergence and rapid growth of WiFi networks in the U.S. are going to have a significant impact on the way that consumers utilize the Internet.

A few weeks back I listened to a speech from Andrew Heyward of CBS News and his thoughts were very interesting. He discussed how the newest generations of consumers utilize media in short bursts, gathering data from numerous sources and coalescing them into one singular viewpoint or summation of concepts and events, definitely coming to informed positions.

This utilization of media in bursts is similar to my own theory that the world is quickly morphing into an "A.D.D", 3-second attention span. Consumers utilize media in very short bursts primarily because they can and because they are more and more strapped for time, so time becomes very valuable. The emergence of WiFi even further supports these theories as Wireless High Speed access translates to the ability to have almost any piece of information available anywhere, at anytime. WiFi enables the consumer to save time by bringing the web to them.



A couple of years back I thought that WebTV was a great idea because it brought the Internet out of the Den or Home Office and into the Living Room. This meant that surfing the Internet as an entertainment medium would become easier and more people might begin to do so. I may not have been completely correct on this, but the emergence of WiFi leapfrogs this concept and brings web-surfing even further from the Home Office and brings it into the streets and into the local coffee shops.

If you thought that consumers had a short attention span at home, imagine how bad it will be while they are out of the house?

If you thought online advertising was obtrusive, just imagine a pop-up ad on your Internet-enabled phone while you drive by a Target, featuring the sale going on inside because the WAP settings determine, via GPS, your current location and that your GPRS system is connected at that time?

Now imagine the backlash we will all have to deal with if it gets to this?

How does the emergence of WiFi affect the usage patterns of the web? Well, my guess is that users will now log-on even more than they currently do, but for shorter periods of time, mirroring how users are taking advantage of other forms of media as well. If users log-on more, and pay attention to less, how will this affect the way that advertisers utilize the medium? Do these smaller, portable devices for WiFi access mean that our advertising will be able to be beautiful or will they mostly convert to text?

These are all things that need to be thought about as we balance the use of laptops against Internet-enabled phones and other devices. A WiFi world means that our consumers will be paying attention less to ancillary messaging and more to messages that are embedded in content. This means that sponsorships and subtle product placement would continue to be of importance as a means of generating frequency to support the more exciting forms of advertising such as the Pre-stitials and such that we are working with.

Just some of my thoughts, what do you think?

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