Mobile services and Wi-Fi hotspot aggregator iPass is to transform its business into a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model with the launch of its Business Traveller Service 2.0.
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iPass has made a name for itself securely connecting business travellers through a single login to over 2.7 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in airports, hotels and other public areas in over 120 countries.
However, up till now it has relied on customer IT departments to do most of the legwork in terms of getting user devices authenticated on the iPass Wi-Fi service and up and running, said EMEA vice-president René Hendrikse.
Hendrikse explained that by implementing an internal, automated SaaS delivery model, IT departments would have their workload eased, and users would be able to get online quicker and with less fuss.
“We had to move our service into the cloud to make it scalable,” said Hendrikse.
Under the new service, iPass will enable users to set up and authenticate their accounts, and contact the firm directly for support. All the IT department now has to do is supply iPass with a list of users who they would like to use the service, he explained.
A survey conducted by iPass found that business travellers increasingly relied on Wi-Fi over 3G and 4G broadband connections as it provided a more reliable and often faster connection to handle their use of other cloud-based apps and services.
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However, the report uncovered widespread disappointment among business travellers using Wi-Fi hotspots, with large numbers objecting to factors such as pricing, login and registration, intrusive advertising and website redirects and security.
The survey of more than 2,000 business users worldwide found that 87% became “angry and anxious” if Wi-Fi was not available. The iPass service has been painted as the solution to such problems.
”Business travellers are especially reliant on Wi-Fi but are increasingly frustrated by the hoops they must leap through to navigate a complex and challenging ecosystem,” said iPass president and CEO Evan Kaplan.
Yankee Group’s Chris Marsh commented: “Employees are between three and four times less productive when in mobile or remote locations than when working out of their office. Dependable and available Wi-Fi is critical to the productivity of these business travellers and a crucial offering for airlines, hotels, trains and many other travel venues.”