Understanding Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 and How to Leverage it for Your Business

By Jason Guest Account Manager, Americas, Aptilo Networks | October 06, 2013

Hotspot 2.0 is a new Wi-Fi standard put forth by the Wi-Fi Alliance that will have a significant impact on travelers. Hotspot 2.0 is designed to make Wi-Fi as secure and easy to use as mobile networks. When entering a new mobile network, users will be able to simply turn on their mobile phone. Mobile services will work instantly and be billed by the home operator through roaming. With Wi-Fi today users often need to manually find available Wi-Fi networks, and then sign up and pay for it online. Hotspot 2.0 is designed to eliminate this hassle.

Hotspot 2.0 enables compatible mobile devices to automatically and silently discover Wi-Fi access points that have roaming agreements with the user's home network, then automatically and securely connect. This will open up new business opportunities for hotels when a critical mass of Hotspot 2.0-enabled Wi-Fi access points and devices have been rolled out.

Roaming agreements will no longer exclusively be between operators but also between operator and hotel and any other organization with a Wi-Fi network. More importantly, Wi-Fi traffic will skyrocket as usage will be as seamless as the mobile 3G/4G service. International travelers benefit as they will no longer need to pay costly 3G/4G roaming charges and therefore typically disable roaming by default. Hotspot 2.0 will also put pressure on hotels offering Wi-Fi services, as real carrier-class services will become a must in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

Understanding Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 and How to Leverage it for Your Business

Everybody talks about Hotspot 2.0 as the next big thing in Wi-Fi, but what will it mean for the hospitality market?

First of all, don't worry. Technology shifts tends to be hyped, but in the end it normally takes a longer time to roll out than most people expect. However, because the technology in Hotspot 2.0 is quite easy and cheap to implement, the rollout of new equipment will come quickly even if it will take some time before the features are in use everywhere.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.