Hot spot market getting hotter - McDonalds working on turning its 4,000 locations into hot spots

According to ABI Research, the global hot-spot marketplace is set to grow by nearly 25 percent in 2007. By the end of this year, there could be nearly 180,000 hot spots situated around the world, with the Asia-Pacific marketplace going from simmer to boil.
While some 72 percent will be located in North America and Europe, the Asia Pacific region is growing rapidly. Despite China being slow on the uptake, Asia Pac as a whole will come close to matching the number of North American hotspots by 2012.

Europe continues to be the market leader, boasting more than 70,000 hot spots.
ABI points out that one major driver of Wi-Fi hot spots is retail establishments, with McDonalds working on turning its 4,000 locations into hot spots. The growing Wi-Fi hot- spot market is fueling a demand for Wi-Fi access points. More than 900,000 access points will be shipped this year specifically for use in hot spots. Not only are hot-spot and subscriber numbers growing, we have observed a dramatic increase in the number of Wi-Fi sessions per subscriber. This means subscribers are connecting more often to check their e-mail and surf the Internet.

With almost 46,000 hotspots world wide, the hospitality industry continues to embrace Wi-Fi, and ABI Research believes voice-over-Wi-Fi will become an attractive choice for many major hotel chains, both for guests and for staff. Boingo and Wayport reportedly are working with handset manufacturers to help ensure Wi-Fi-enabled phones will function at these two operators' hot spots, even though they might not have the Web browsers normally required for authentication.
In addition, many hospitality operators are using their Wi-Fi networks for internal communications as well as for public hot spots for guests; for example, some hotels are using "Star Trek"-type communicator devices made by Vocera to keep in contact with employees. Carriers will have to adjust their business models to deal with consumers who will trade expensive cellphone minutes for free voice-over-Wi-Fi calls via hot spots.

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