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A million Wi-Fi enabled devices isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion Wi-Fi enabled devices.

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It is predicted that there will be over 7 billion new Wi-Fi enabled devices in the world in the next 3 years. Yes I said billion, with a ‘b.’ This number alone shows the extensive demand for Wi-Fi across the world. Last week I had a chance to attend the WBA Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing, China. With over 400 attendees, 2 full days of  keynotes, panel sessions and networking, it was very clear that the industry players are on path to support the global demand for Wi-Fi.

This year, congress attendees were able to experience the world’s first Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) Experience. Cisco partnered with China Mobile, along with 15 global mobile operators to launch this experience. Attendees were able to seamlessly connect their mobile devices to the Wi-Fi network without any need for authentication. Once on this network, attendees were also able to receive valuable information about the conference, including indoor blue dot directions to different parts of the conference and the schedule of events for each day. This experience is only the beginning of what the future of Wi-Fi will be for the forthcoming years.

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As the principal sponsor of the event, Cisco participation in multiple aspects of the conference. In addition to the NGH experience, live demonstrations of our Connected Mobile Experience solution were displayed using the Wi-Fi network, including real-time analytics.  We were able to demonstrate the different traffic patterns and dwell times of mobile devices at the event, which further demonstrated monetization opportunities for operators.

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Hanh Tu, Vice President of China at Cisco (shown below) presented an opening keynote defining the business case for Carrier Grade Wi-Fi. He discussed how consumers are asking for Wi-Fi in specific vertical markets including, retail, hospitality, travel and healthcare and operators around the world need to help meet this demand.

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Participation included Bob Friday, CTO of Cisco Enterprise Networking Group participated in a panel session to discuss the existing wireless ecosystem and what it means for the future of Wi-Fi. In addition, Stuart Taylor, Director of Cisco Consulting Group participated in a panel session discussing consumer behaviors and what monetization strategies operators can implement. Read Stuart Taylor's blog post The Next Generation of Wi-Fi Debuts in Beijing.

With the success of this new experience of Wi-Fi in China, the most populated country in the world, the future of Wi-Fi is only going to get more and more exciting!

Onward and Upward!

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