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Wi-Fi Connectivity Downtime Cost APAC Companies $51 Million Over the Past One Year The wireless networking technology has become the foundation of Asia Pacific's burgeoning digital economy, and a bad experience can impact a company's brand reputation

By Pooja Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Imagine you are sitting in your office's conference room, discussing a deal with an overseas client over Skype, and suddenly the Wi-Fi connection is lost. Not the best situation to be in, right?

Well, Wi-Fi connectivity downtime has caused US$51 million in losses over the past year for enterprises in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Reality bites

A study by Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company, which sells wired and wireless networking equipment and software, surveyed 1,200 business and IT leaders across eight markets in APAC, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, India, Singapore and Indonesia, and found that one in two APAC organizations (47 per cent) experienced at least six instances of connectivity downtime over the last 12 months, with one in ten (9 per cent) of them indicating they have experienced over 20 instances of connectivity downtime.

Among the surveyed were 1,200 business and IT leaders, and the respondents included employees responsible for IT decision-making or implementing IT-related initiatives for mid- to large-sized organizations with staff of over 250 people.

Online, always

The findings are concerning since more than half of the business and IT leaders in APAC (58 per cent) and Singapore (54 per cent) use streaming videos or voice calls through Wi-Fi. Multimedia content and the proliferation of connected devices are key drivers for high-speed, reliable connectivity in today's Wi-Fi user experience, says the report.

What's more, nearly half of the respondents in APAC (49 per cent) and Singapore (43 per cent) carry at least four Wi-Fi capable devices, which include their smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart watches.

William Ho, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan, ARRIS, believes disruption in the smooth functioning of the wireless technology can severely impact any company's brand name. "Wi-Fi is the foundation of Asia Pacific's burgeoning digital economy. It is not only a productivity tool that empowers employees to work and collaborate better, but it is also a platform that enables organizations to interact directly with their customers via apps, websites and other digital services on the Internet," he says, in the report. "Given the vital role that Wi-Fi plays in supporting an organizations' fundamental operations and new digital initiatives, Wi-Fi downtime can cause significant disruption, leading to losses in revenue, productivity and other growth opportunities in today's dynamic and competitive digital environment."

This is also one of the top worries of business leaders. Business and IT leaders across APAC (76 per cent) and Singapore (80 per cent) admitted in the study that slow Wi-Fi connection speeds are at the top of their list of concerns, followed by limited coverage area and connection drops. Nine in 10 leaders agree that a bad Wi-Fi experience will negatively affect the brand reputation.

Beyond productivity
Besides loss of productivity, connectivity downtime can hinder start of new digital innovations as well.

The study found that over one-third (37 per cent) of the IT departments in APAC and Singapore organizations have to spend a week or more each month to manage Wi-Fi or network-related issues. "This diverts time and resources away from the IT department, hindering them from implementing new initiatives that could help the organizations drive and deliver new digital products, services, and revenue models," it says.

"Establishing great Wi-Fi connectivity with superior user experience is the basis of flexible work practices and a connected global economy," says Ho.

Pooja Singh

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

 

A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters. 

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