Jan 12, 2018 in Business

Free Wi-Fi Connectivity

A good example of a business case in which an element of technology in Wireless and Mobile Systems has been implemented is the development of free Wi-Fi connectivity by Starbucks. Starbucks is one the largest coffeehouses in the world. In July 2010, Starbucks developed and implemented free wireless connectivity in all stores across the United States. The free Wi-Fi allows customers to have unlimited access to the internet while within any of the seven thousand stores of Starbucks.

Review and Description of the Decision to Develop Free Wi-Fi Connectivity at Starbucks' Stores

According to Gilbert (2011) and Schultz and Yang (2010), the decision to develop and implement free Wi-Fi connectivity in the stores of Starbucks was proposed by the chief executive officer of Starbucks, and it was welcomed and supported by the board of directors as well as other employees of Starbucks. The chief executive officer of Starbucks believed that acquisition of free Wi-Fi would attract more customers to the stores, thus giving Starbucks a competitive advantage over its competitors such as McDonalds and Panera Bread which also offer Wi-Fi connectivity to customers for a fee. It was also agreed that Starbucks would partner with T-Mobile and AT & T companies in order to roll out the free Wi-Fi connectivity service successfully. T-Mobile and AT & T companies were chosen as the best partners because of their experience in providing high speed hotspots across the U.S. T-Mobile and AT & T companies were responsible for developing a network of wireless internet access points in all coffee houses and stores of Starbucks using the standards of Wi-Fi 802.11 technology.

Stakeholders in the Free Wi-Fi Connectivity Project a Starbucks

The main stakeholders who had considerable input in the development of the Wi-Fi connectivity by Starbucks are T-Mobile and AT & T companies. Lemstra, Hayes and Groenewegen (2011) also affirm that the development and implementation of the free Wi-Fi connectivity in the stores was a partnership between Starbucks, T-Mobile and AT & T companies. The top management of the three companies came together and devised how to development and implement a free Wi-Fi connectivity within all stores of Starbucks. T-Mobile and AT & T are the largest technology companies in the United States that specialize in provision of wireless networks and installation of wireless systems. On the other hand, Starbucks was responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the wireless systems whereas T-Mobile and AT & T were responsible for creation of wireless internet access points in all Starbucks' stores and coffeehouses.

Personal Opinion on the Implementation of Free Wi-Fi Connectivity at Starbucks Stores

In my opinion, the implementation of the free Wi-Fi connectivity by Starbucks within its stores was a good idea because it helped in attracting more customers. The main goal or objective of the program was to bring in-store experience at Starbucks online to the consumers. I would argue that Starbucks succeeded in providing better online experience to the customers through provision of the free Wi-Fi connectivity. This is because the free Wi-Fi connectivity allowed customers to remain connected while they are away from the workplaces or home. Through the free Wi-Fi service, customers of Starbucks would check their e-mail addresses, surf the internet, read news from online sites as well as watch live-stream videos. In addition, the Wi-Fi connectivity also allowed customers to download digital contents such as music and movies from the web for free as they enjoy their coffee at Starbucks' stores. Simons (2012) and Schultz and Gordon (2011) also state that the free Wi-Fi connectivity was a natural extension of the service experience that customers obtain from Starbucks' stores. The free Wi-Fi connectivity service greatly helped in increasing traffic at Starbucks' stores, hence leading to considerable increase in sales. Consequently, Starbucks reaped lots of profits from the investment. For my part, the decision was good for the future of Starbucks.

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