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Is wifi the new oxygen?

By Andy McEwan, Head of Business Connectivity Products

So this autumn we’re off to Canada for the family holiday. Vancouver. Whistler. Lake Louise. Jasper National Park.

Of course, like a good boy scout, I’ve been swotting up on the terrain. Planning mini adventures. Educating myself on eco-friendly bear sprays to help us fend off a too-curious grizzly. (Concentrated chilli sprays are the way to go, in case you’re wondering.) I’ve also been taking a look at wifi coverage, and working out how we’ll stay in touch with our world. And the coverage looks pretty good, even in the wild valleys that slice through these vast Canadian landscapes.4G

It made me think of that famous scribbled cartoon entitled: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 2.0. In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory that attempted to order the basic urges and needs that motivate people. The contemporary version puts wifi on the survival baseline right underneath food, water, shelter and air.


In many ways, wifi has become the new oxygen for how we live today. Without wifi, many of us really feel lost. Disconnected. Alone. And I know that even when we’re out there hiking through the unpredictable elements, we’ll want to stay in touch. GPS our location. Search out the nearest ranger’s hut. Email home. Post selfies with the bears.

While IT connectivity itself is sometimes viewed as a dull subject, the stuff that it empowers us to do is nothing short of breathtaking. In a way, connectivity is like the pipes behind the wall that give us water. You never think about how they connect to the source, who manages them, or what brand the pipes are. You just expect to dive in every morning to a cold basin of water and splash your face awake.

Wifi these days has become like that. And let’s face it, O2 is doing all that deeply unsexy stuff behind the scenes. Joining up mobile, fixed and wifi services. Converging pipes to give us a seamless user experience that keeps us connected with the things that matter most.

But we are doing some sexy stuff at the front end. Like 4G connectivity that will carry a data connection seamlessly from office to car  And Wifi Extra which automatically connects you to one of our thousands of wifi hotspots if the signal is stronger than 3G or 4G in that area.  You don’t need to do anything either. Our smarter network picks the right connection so you’re always getting the best experience.

To take another example, we’re helping Manchester City connect with its fans. We’ve rolled out cutting-edge wifi across the club’s 47,000 capacity Etihad stadium, making it the first Premier League football club to give fans unrivalled connectivity with download speeds of up to 30 megabytes. So they can post and share the best bits during the match.

Which is all a long way from Lake Louise and Jasper National Park. But that’s kind of the point. Thanks to the silent, life-empowering oxygen of wifi we can stay connected wherever we are. From the summit of Whistler to the stands in the Etihad stadium. It’s quite literally enabling us to live our lives differently. Connectivity has helped us evolve as a species since the last generation. Spread our wings. Become empowered beings that seize and create new opportunities. I wonder what Maslow would make of it all.

To see all the great things O2 is enabling in the field of connectivity, take a look at our website. And I hope you’re having a great year, wherever wifi takes you. Bear spray optional.




Ready to scale up your business? Call an O2 business specialist on 0800 028 0202 or call free from your O2 mobile on 8002.


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