Traveling in a Wi-Fi world

Summary:It took a while before it became quite widespread, but public Wi-Fi access is probably the coolest thing that has been invented by the IT world since the USB thumbdrive.For a not-so-developed market like the Philippines, it's surprising to know that free Wi-Fi is beginning to proliferate in key parts of the metropolis like coffee shops, hotels, malls and airports.

It took a while before it became quite widespread, but public Wi-Fi access is probably the coolest thing that has been invented by the IT world since the USB thumbdrive.

For a not-so-developed market like the Philippines, it's surprising to know that free Wi-Fi is beginning to proliferate in key parts of the metropolis like coffee shops, hotels, malls and airports. And I must say it's all for the better.

Last week, I was sent for an overseas coverage, during which I got to experience the tremendous progress this wireless Internet technology has achieved thus far.

Let me start my travel story at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, home of our flag carrier Philippine Airlines. Despite being a new terminal, I really didn't expect Wi-Fi to be available for free, just like it is in Singapore's Changi Airport and Chek Lap Kok in Hong Kong. But, I was wrong.

As I opened my laptop, the Wi-Fi indicator told me there were some free signals up for grabs. The speed wasn't bad at all. I was so absorbed in surfing the Internet that the airline crew had to call my attention to board the aircraft.

Nope, there was no Wi-Fi while I was on board the plane. But, here's something that will amaze you: upon landing at Singapore's world-class airport, my ride--a jolly guy--greeted me and picked me up in a Wi-Fi-enabled limousine. Yes, there's Wi-fi inside the damn car. I took some photos of it so you can take a peek at it.

I remember once writing a story about a BMW sedan with integrated Wi-Fi capability, but I think that automobile model is still undergoing tests in Europe. The car that I took in Singapore was a Mercedes-Benz.

I found it weird, but at the same time interesting, that a broadband router was tucked in the backseat of the car. Isn't that cute? That s mobile Wi-Fi in the literal sense.

The driver wasn't quite sure how the Wi-Fi gets its connection, although I was tempted to think it was from the city-wide Wi-Fi service provided by the Singaporean government, called Wireless@SG.

But, I quickly dismissed that notion since a feature story in a magazine provided by the limousine firm said it was the only company in the Lion City that offers that service. If a router can simply be put inside every car, then the limousine company Roset, wouldn't have that competitive distinction.

Perhaps my fellow bloggers can help me on this? Thank you.

On a side note, I wonder if Filipinos are the world's top bloggers? We all know that the Philippines is quite proud of its self-proclaimed title as the SMS, or text messaging capital of the world.

But an invitation I received for an event next week seems ready to put another title to the country, this time in an official way.

It read: "Save the date next Monday, Sep. 15, for another Pinoy technological first! Blogging is the new texting! At 90 percent penetration, we lead the world in growth, and the Philippines has the highest number of content creators.”

It continued: "The Philippine bloggers will attempt another first--the most number of Pinoys broadcasting live to the rest of the world."

Well, all I can say is good luck. Mark that day.

Topics: IT Employment, Emerging Tech, Enterprise 2.0, EU, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Wi-Fi

About

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

About

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Associ... Full Bio

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