Deployments of the new generation of wireless connection are taking place discreetly but gradually in French companies.
On city center billboards, operators highlight their new Internet box by Wireless 6 to seduce the general public. According to a study by research firm IDC, 79% of WiFi device shipments over the next two years will be for this latest generation of wireless connection. The technology has been available since 2019, but deployments still seem few in the world. BtoB. What is it really ?
“There was a strong demand in 2022 but we do not have an exact figure. Unlike cellular where the operators have the information, the installation of Wifi is private, therefore little communicated”, indicates Nicolas Vandeweale, director of operations of WiredScore in France, a company that provides an international label for the connectivity of buildings. For Guillaume de Lavallade, Managing Director of Hub One, telecommunications operator and ESN, “the low cost of Wifi and the range of compatible objects are such that the standard will inevitably spread massively”. “The first deployments were carried out gradually during 2020 and 2021, new needs since the health crisis are accelerating demand”, confirms Arnaud Puy, director of business development and innovation at the French BtoB operator. Wifirstwhich plans to install more than 70,000 Wi-Fi 6 points among its customers in 2023. Among all customers, two main sectors benefit from Wi-Fi 6: retail and workspaces.
In retail, many brands are upgrading their installations to take advantage of the benefits generated by Wifi 6. The objective is to have perfect connectivity in stores in order to multiply the experiences for employees and customers, particularly in the retail sector. organization of click&collect and display of information via smart labels. “The promise of Wifi 6 is to be able to connect a large number of equipment to a single access point, the added value is to have only one network infrastructure for different projects, when before the deployment of smart labels required an infrastructure on its own”, recalls Arnaud Puy, who works in particular with Norauto on this new generation of Wifi. Some brands can thus satisfy the desires of their customers and provide them with new services, such as mobile payment at different points in the store, thanks to “the multiplication of deep-indoor cases that Wifi 6 promotes”, adds Guillaume de Lavallade, CEO of Hub One.
Likewise, Intersport made the choice to move to Wifi 6 on a large scale. “We made this choice so as not to have any limits to our projects”, explains Michaël Alimi, director of organization and information systems at the Intersport brand. The latter intends to experiment with a “connected salesperson” pilot to give employees an overall view of the brand’s stocks in the practice of click & collect and ship from store. The deployment of Wifi 6 access points began at the end of last year and will continue during the first quarter of 2023. “At the moment, a third of its 800 stores are equipped and the employees are very satisfied. This saves them from traveling miles every day to check if a product is in stock, having the information directly on their tablet. The next step at Intersport will be the study of new possibilities, Wi-Fi 6, for example, makes it possible to consider the installation of smart labels on the shelves and public Wi-Fi for customers.
“There is no point in wanting the latest technology on the market, you just need the one that best suits your needs”
In the case of work collaborative, it is the speeds that are sought above all. “Since the health crisis, videoconferences have multiplied and users no longer tolerate performance problems”, observes Nicolas Vandeweale. WiredScore has led a smart building project with BC Partners around the RISE building, a 7,000 square meter office building located in Issy les Moulineaux. “The choice of Wifi 6 was guided by the WiredScore labeling process. This technology being the best in terms of data exchange speed, stability and performance, it corresponded to the overall standing of the Rise project” , indicates the owner. Other examples cited by Nicolas Vandeweale, “trading rooms, which must quickly exchange large files, and the hotel industry”.
At the CES in Las Vegas, which was held from January 5 to 8, the equipment manufacturer CommScope presented a WiFi 7 modem, but Arnaud Puy, at Wifirst, wants to be reassuring: “Technological advances continue to permanently offer new possibilities. But there is no point in wanting the latest technology on the market, you just need the one that best suits your needs. Depending on the case, Wifi 5 may still be enough for at least five years.” The key for him lies in the convergence of networks to provide complementary services in the future. A shared opinion from the specialist in ultra-miniaturized radiofrequency circuits Insight SiP. Within the company, it is believed that “IoT applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and often a single radio technology is not enough. One of the flip sides of the progress of Wifi 6 is that the router must become an even more complex device than ever, handling more connections with different requirements”. Bi-radio devices are essential. And Philippe Genin, its managing director, to reveal in conclusion: “This connectivity offers great opportunities with its low energy strategy. Our next communication module, planned for mid-2023, will be in Wifi 6 and in Bluetooth.”
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Wifi 6 is spreading in retail and workspaces
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