- July 18, 2012:
A recent research by Brocade shows that good mobile data connectivity is a priority for holidaymakers across Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) when selecting a holiday destination. This comes as no surprise considering the high penetration of mobile devices and the fact that people nowadays expect to be ‘always connected’ whether for work or personal use.
More than a third of the respondents surveyed said that good mobile data coverage is a determining factor when choosing a destination, with 86 percent expecting wireless connectivity at their hotels to feed their ‘online addiction’. Some 95 percent of the respondents admitted taking their mobile devices on vacation, and they are as likely to use them for work as for personal use. More than half of respondents said that they used their mobile device for accessing work e-mail or downloading work documents.
Other key findings of the research included:
· Smartphones emerged as the most popular device for holidaymakers, with 91 percent of respondents taking one with them on holiday. This was followed closely by laptops and netbooks (49 percent), and tablet computers (42 percent).
· Coming in second only to accessing personal e-mail [when asked the primary reason for using a connected device on holiday] was accessing work e-mail. The use of social media also featured prominently in the responses, placing third.
· Approximately a third (32 percent) stated that they intended to stream coverage of the Olympics through their devices whilst on vacation, again placing immense pressure on local networks to provide sufficient bandwidth and service reliability to users.
“There is significant blurring between personal time and work time in modern society, with the consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) working policies leading many people to rely on smartphones and tablet devices around the clock, wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing,” said Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager, MENA at Brocade. “Our research clearly illustrates that this is causing fundamental changes in working patterns and demands on networking architectures. It used to be that when people went on vacation, that’s what they did. Now it seems that we can never switch off from work, even when we’re at the beach. With this, the demand on service providers and mobile operators to provide ubiquitous, reliable coverage has never been higher.”
More than a third (37 percent) of respondents noted that good mobile data coverage (for example, 3G/4G) was a determining factor in their choice of destination. Furthermore, 86 percent expected hotels to provide free Wi-Fi access. A lack of available Wi-Fi was also the second most popular concern about accessing the Internet from abroad, behind only high roaming costs.
Against the above scenario, hotel owners should provide reliable, high quality connectivity and free Wi-Fi if they are to attract tourists and gain a competitive edge. However, the findings may indicate that there is still a gulf between the expectations of modern travellers and the reality. Hotel owners should look at the incredible demand for Wi-Fi networking and provide residents with connectivity – whether in their rooms, at the bar or by the pool.
“Widely available, high-quality Internet access could very soon make the difference between a hugely successful season and a disastrous one”, explains Dweik. “Without it, hotels risk damaging both their revenues and their reputations”.
Telecom operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also need to strengthen their network backbone to support today’s huge volumes of mobile data.