By Patrick Avenell
Patrick Lo, the global CEO of the world’s biggest networking company, Netgear, has called on Australian retailers to switch on free Wi-Fi in their stores in order to demonstrate wireless internet technology on the PCs, tablets and smartphones they are selling.
Lo told Current.com.au that retailers were handicapping themselves by not being able to showcase the merits of wireless internet on connected products, and that it would be easier to sell Netgear products, such as routers, as well as the connected devices themselves, if stores had a Wi-Fi network for consumers to connect to.
“Ideally, yes, this is something I would like,” Lo said. “Practically, it’s very hard to do.”
When asked why it was hard from practical point of view, Lo repeated the reasons given to him by Australian retailers.
“The nature of retail is turnover is really high, so it’s difficult to ensure the continuity and the networking. [The router] is still tucked away next to the PC, so the people managing that aisle have to remember every morning when they come in to turn on the power. Every few months a new guy coming in will forget about that.”
“We tried it, but it’s just difficult to implement.”
Current.com.au understands that the Apple Retail Stores are the only chain of consumer electronics retailers that have free Wi-Fi in-store as a company policy.
UPDATE: Sources have advised Current.com.au that The Good Guys stores in Western Australia currently have free Wi-Fi.