Wireless office may benefit biz travellers

Small businesses with demanding travel needs could benefit both on the road and in the office by utilising an all wireless environment, reported the American Small Business Travelers Alliance (ASBTA). ASBTA is a national, non-profit alliance that provides valuable services and functions focused specifically on the travel needs and interests of small business owners.

“Whether deploying from the inception of a business or converting an established business, wireless networking offers a scalable and cost-effective solution that enables small business owners and employees to keep in touch just about anywhere, virtually seamlessly,” said Chuck Sharp, ASBTA President.

“With the latest generation of laptops providing desktop PC performance, longer battery lives, and the efficiency and time saving of accessing e-mail practically anywhere, the benefits of wireless are numerous.”

In the office, small businesses can choose to go fully or partially wireless depending on their specific needs. A major benefit of moving to an all or partial wireless environment is that wireless networks can cost up to 30% less to establish and operate than a standard wired network.

In addition, the seamless, always-connected environment can increase employee productivity and make it easier for employees to transition from the office to the road. In fact, a recent study by Omni Consulting Group, LLP showed that mobile data services increase global workforce productivity by 13.4 percent.

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Once on the road, wireless access is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make critical connections.

Most major airports offer Wi-Fi hotspots that allow travelers with wireless enabled laptops to easily connect to the Internet, while train stations, restaurants and even gas stations are adding similar services every day.

And most middle-range hotels also offer high-speed Internet or Wi-Fi at little or no additional cost. Best Western, for example, offers customers free high-speed Internet access and Wi-Fi at all of its 2,300 locations in the U.S. and Canada. InterContinental also offers both high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi, and the chain’s budget-brand, Holiday Inn, allows travelers to book their rooms wirelessly using almost any wireless device, including PDAs and BlackBerrys.

“Like many of our member companies, so many small businesses these days spend 50% or more of their time on the road and our research has shown that over 60% travel with their laptops, so they know just how important wireless connectivity has become to keeping connected outside the office,” said Sharp.

“So the big question is why switch network platforms from the road to the office, when wireless can work so effectively in both situations? The demonstrated productivity enhancements clearly make it a question worth considering for many small businesses.”
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