The universal integration of Wi-Fi during the last decade has had a profound impact on nearly every aspect of modern life. Internet enabled devices such as smartphones now allow people in densely populated urban cities and remote rural locations across the globe to take advantage of new and exciting opportunities. Data shows just half of Americans went online each day at the turn of the Millennium but the proliferation of Wi-Fi and tech has played a major role in increasing that figure to 88 percent today.

Wireless Internet is now a central component in a wave of innovative devices, which have benefitted almost every industry. The Wi-Fi healthcare service sector is now worth more than $1 billion and applications such as smart beds, oxygen monitoring hubs and infusion pumps with Wi-Fi integration are saving lives each and every day. It also forms the foundation for other mission critical resources including electronic medical records (EMRs), and has allowed GPs to access MRI scans and X-rays in real time, boosting productivity, diagnosis time and decision making. Most importantly, reliable Internet access has perhaps been the single biggest factor in delivering higher quality healthcare in regions that need it the most.

It is no surprise to discover that Wi-Fi has changed retail and marketing too. The recent shift towards mobile means brands and enterprises must have the capacity to reach customers 24-hours a day, seven days a week if they want to maximize sales. Marketers are now able to send discount codes, coupons and offers to consumers via smartphones, tablets and other wireless machine-to-machine communications, which make use of digital sensors to provide personalized shopping experiences. Without Wi-Fi, there wouldn’t have been smartwatches either. These new devices now link with cell phones and offer up useful information and new interactions.

The versatility of Wi-Fi in its current form is staggering, but the Wi-Fi Alliance is already looking ahead to the next generation and its newest iteration, dubbed HaLow, promises to double the range of a 2.4GHz connection, which will make it easier for internet users in hard to reach locations to go online. The more capable Wi-Fi standard will also be central to the success of newer forms of tech such as artificial intelligence and robotics, which will deliver another step change in the operational efficiency of modern business and end user experiences. New applications are being released every day and Wi-Fi will be at the forefront of the blurring of the line between human and machine as personal assistants and other devices get smarter and begin performing automated tasks with ease.

Martin Ashall, CA Technologies UK CTO, believes Wi-Fi will also help devices to make decisions for people. He said: “The fear of failing to perform a list of necessary tasks before leaving your home, such as locking up, switching off lights and closing windows, will be removed as it can be performed simultaneously at the touch of one button.” Wi-Fi and tech have driven some of the greatest advances during the last two decades and both are set to play an even bigger role during the next 20 years.

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