Wi-Fi in Cafes : Wi-Fi Use and its Impact on the Café Scene in Helsinki
Sharma, Bishal (2012)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The advent of of WiFi (wireless internet) has revolutionized way people work and communicate by freeing them from the confinements of their offices and studies. With more and more cafes embracing this WiFi culture, it is worthwhile studying the impact of WiFi on the cafe environment, which is the focus of this research. The study was conducted on 7 cafes in Helsinki. The focus was on the degree of use of such services, awareness about WiFi security, the attitude of cafe customers and opinions of cafe managers. Data was gathered through face to face interviews with cafe managers and self-completion survey with cafe customers. According to the study, cafe WiFi is used by more than 60% of the respondents and the majority of them (89%) are happy with cafes having WiFi, though they might not necessarily use them. In addition to doing school or office work, people have even conducted business meetings and record deals at cafes with the aid of cafe WiFi. So in that sense, WiFi in cafes have helped integrate work and socializing. These trends indicate that cafe WiFi's are gradually being established as an important element of the cafe. Some cafe managers expressed concerns about people occupying a table for hours on end with their laptops during lunch time or other busy hours of the day. Though the problem is not so severe at the moment, the managers will have to introduce some measures in the future to keep it in check, for instance, setting time limits on the use of cafe WiFi through the use of log in codes. Also, using marketing tactics like consumer segmentation, the cafe owners can find out what kind of people are the active users of WiFi and thereby design campaigns like giving discount to students (who according to the study are active users of WiFi) outside busy hours, organizing cafe space considering both the users and non-users of WiFi and so forth. WiFi security is barely a concern for majority of the cafe WiFi users at the moment. People mostly use the cafe WiFi for checking emails and browsing news and social networks. Besides, tourists could use WiFi's for maps or information about certain services. However, the use of sensitive online services, for instance, online banking is not really popular at the moment. This might be the reason for people not being so worried about online security while using cafe WiFi. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that people doing office work are aware of V.P.N. (Virtual Private Networks) or other equivalent security measures in case they intend to access sensitive company information over the cafe WiFi network. Using internet applications, for instance location based advertising and keeping eyes and ears open for latest updates in the world of internet and online security will help enrich the cafe WiFi experience for all concerned.