Recently I spent an afternoon working on my laptop using the free Wi-Fi available at Italia Coffee House in Holetown. I spent this time with three web entrepreneurs and one international business lawyer who were also sipping coffee and working.
During the hours we spent in this shared “workspace”, we each spoke with our individual clients or team members, some were in Scandinavia, England, New York, and around the Caribbean along with colleagues in other parts of island.
We worked on projects that touched the music, financial, media, retail and cultural industries. Not only did we interact with people around the globe but also took the time to share with each other:
- Ideas and tools
- Discussions on the 11.11.11 ON project and its progress
- Moments where we encouraged and empowered each other.
This highlights what is possible in one afternoon in a small Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop in Holetown, seating fewer than 30 people.
Now take your mind on a journey from a Wi-Fi hotspot in a small coffee shop and imagine if we could spread this across the rest of Barbados. 11.11.11 ON will make all of Barbados into a portal to the world.
How would this portal impact Barbados?
11.11.11 ON is going to help our local businesses interact with anyone anywhere in the world by eliminating the digital divide. Every business and businessperson in Barbados will be connected to his or her customers and clients online, and operating in a local environment anywhere on the island.
Now put your imagination to work and see Barbados post 11.11.11 ON.
Let’s use my recent experience as a model for future local Wi-Fi gatherings in common workspaces. Since Barbados is 166 square miles that’s approximately ten free Wi-Fi spots per square mile. There could be similar gatherings of at least five people once a week using the Internet in a productive way. I think this is a low estimate, but let’s keep it practical.
So that’s 166 square miles x 10 spots x 52 weeks = 86,320 productive online interactions similar to the one we had that afternoon.
- How does this translate into dollars and cents in your industry?
- How many business opportunities could this enable?
- How many local businesspeople could conduct business internationally?
Barbados attracts professionals from all over the world who come here to spend time both working and on vacation.
How can they benefit from the interaction described above?
I met a couple a few months ago that travel from country to country working from Wi-Fi hotspots. They never disclose to their clients where they are, they simply logon from wherever they are in the world and start working. Imagine, free island wide Wi-Fi will enable us to attract tourist who want to work and play in while on holiday. Businesspeople from around the globe could move their office to Barbados for a month. Work every day; play every day, and live the “Barbados dream”.
Now imagine these highly skilled people joining these Wi-Fi hot spot conversations and sharing their expertise, knowledge and network of contacts with our local business community. What is the value in that?
Add up all these factors and you can start to form your own picture of what it would mean to have a free Wi-Fi in Barbados.
Here are some day-to-day benefits that Wi-Fi Barbados will bring:
- Barbados Wi-Fi will demonstrate to the world that we prioritise technology and connectivity because they bring us closer to the rest of the world and ensure that we are Open For Business in the global market place.
- Mobile Management – Businesspeople and entrepreneurs will be able to manage their businesses online with ease. While on the go they will be able to connect with people both locally and abroad to:
- Handle customer queries
- Stay connected to their team
- Communicate with suppliers and customer service representatives
Barbados Wi-Fi will demonstrate to the world that we prioritise technology and connectivity because they bring us closer to the rest of the world and ensure that we are Open For Business in the global market place.
This article just scrapes the surface of what is possible in a Wi-Fi Barbados, and how it could impact Barbados in near future. You can engage us further at www.facebook.com/BarbadosWiNot