What is it about Wi-Fi that’s setting hearts aflutter — and not just at Starbucks, but at tech giants such as Intel, who want in on the action? For one thing, the technology is easy to understand. A recent study by polling firm Ipsos-Reid reveals that 41% of Americans are aware of Wi-Fi — an impressive demonstration for a technology companies began marketing to consumers just two years ago.
“Wi-Fi is a combination of high-speed Internet access and cell phones,” says Mark Laver, a senior analyst at Ipsos-Reid. “It’s an adaptation of other technologies we already know and love.” That makes Wi-Fi akin to two of the fastest-growing technologies in recent memory: Cell phones, which offered portability, and DVD players, which proved superior to VCRs thanks to clearer images and lots of extras.
Even better, Wi-Fi is easy to use. “With no wires, it seems like magic,” muses Ezra Goldman, a venture capitalist who used early incarnations of Wi-Fi as early as five years ago.