iPass, a global provider of services that unify management of enterprise mobility, today issued findings from its new Wi-Fi Hotspot Index, which show a 74% increase in the number of European Wi-Fi access sessions* initiated by its global enterprise users between H1 2006 and H2 2006.
Globally, Wi-Fi usage has also increased by 44%, showing that Wi-Fi technology continues to appeal to business travellers as a reliable and useful connectivity method.
The iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index is a report that summarises session* data collected by iPass across its base of approximately 1,000,000 quarterly users, and is designed as a tool for those interested in Wi-Fi connectivity trends, including reporters, analysts and researchers. With a network consisting of more than 76,000 hotspots in 68 countries, and over 3,000 business customers, including more than 350 companies in the Forbes Global 2000, iPass offers a unique global perspective into the use of Wi-Fi hotspots by enterprise mobile workers.
Following initial research into Wi-Fi usage published by iPass in August 2006 ("iPass Witnesses Wi-Fi Momentum in Europe") the iPass Wi-Fi Hotspot Index shows that airports continued to be the most popular type of location for Wi-Fi connections, accounting for 49% of total sessions. Chicago O'Hare airport retained its position as the most popular global Wi-Fi hotspot location, with an average of 266 iPass sessions per day,
Those looking for a place to sleep where they could stay connected chose the large international hotel chains Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt. Hotels belonging to these chains were visited by over 75,000 active iPass users from July to December.
London was the world capital of Wi-Fi for the period, as the most popular city for usage of Wi-Fi hotspots at non-business travel locations such as cafés, bookstores, and other retail locations with over 11,000 sessions. In fact, it had nearly double the usage of the second most popular city, Singapore.
Worldwide, cafés such as Starbuck's and Café Nero were the most popular type of retail venue for iPass users, who spent over 180,000 hours drinking coffee and checking emails in H2 2006. Restaurants such as McDonald's and were the next most popular venue brand and saw over 4,000 sessions per month.
"2006 was a fantastic year for Wi-Fi hotspots with strong worldwide and European growth. User education has been a driving factor as people began to see the benefits of getting connected wherever they go. Advances in wireless technology and IT security have also enabled IT departments to roll out wireless initiatives with confidence," commented Doug Loewe, Vice President & Managing Director, EMEA. "It's gotten to the point where people often choose where to stay or meet based on whether they can get reliable Wi-Fi access. Branded venues such as Marriott hotels and Starbucks cafés are proving popular with iPass customers because they know they can get connected there."
In the UK, Wi-Fi growth was particularly strong, with a 75% increase in access sessions from H1 to H2 2006. Heathrow airport was the most popular Wi-Fi venue, closely followed by the Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. Top hotel venues included the Radisson Hotel at Manchester Airport, the Hilton London Heathrow and the Hilton Paddington.
The USA saw the most iPass Wi-Fi sessions in the second half of 2006. It was followed by the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.