REDWOOD SHORES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/21/14 -- iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS), a leading provider of mobile services for enterprises and telecom service providers, today launched its cloud-based Business Traveler Service 2.0., marking iPass' transformation into a cloud company utilizing a Software-as-a-Service delivery model and automation techniques, coupled with an app based approach. This transformation significantly eases and increases end user adoption for travelers with smartphones and tablets. The service addresses the most fundamental shortcomings in current Wi-Fi offerings by providing cost-effective and convenient Wi-Fi access to over 2.7 million hotspots in airports, airplanes, hotels and public areas worldwide. Also launched today is the Business Traveler Connectivity Report, the latest in the series of iPass Mobile Workforce Reports. It shows that business travelers on average carry three mobile devices, and that 80% have a "Wi-Fi first" mentality, preferring to use Wi-Fi over mobile data when working outside the office. Three quarters of respondents, however, said they find the lack of convenient access to Wi-Fi networks a barrier to productive and cost-effective mobile working.
The iPass service simplifies connectivity for the "Wi-Fi first" business traveler. Through a single log-in, users obtain automatic access and authentication to cost-effective and secure Wi-Fi on smartphones, tablets and laptops, across more than 2.7 million hotspots in over 120 countries. Meeting growing demand for airport and in-flight Wi-Fi, the service is available at 3,000 airports -- over 88% of the world's top 100 airports -- and across 22 airlines, on approximately 2,150 airplanes. It is also available at over 72,000 hotels and convention centers.
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The Business Traveler Connectivity Report highlights intrinsic problems with both free and credit card-based Wi-Fi for business travelers: 36% of free Wi-Fi users have little confidence in security, and 32% objected to dealing with intrusive advertising. 63% of credit card-based Wi-Fi users find it to be overpriced, and 27% hate the hassle of constantly having to enter credit card details. Both free and credit card-based Wi-Fi users found log-in and registration processes to be cumbersome (53% and 33% respectively), which is a source of added stress.
"The wireless landscape has been disrupted by the rapidly increasing availability of Wi-Fi, which is now the dominant form of wireless access. This phenomenon has spawned a 'Wi-Fi first' generation that uses cellular data only when Wi-Fi isn't available," said Evan L. Kaplan, President and CEO of iPass. "Business travelers are especially reliant on Wi-Fi, but they are also increasingly frustrated by the hoops they must leap through to navigate a complex and challenging Wi-Fi ecosystem that can include advertising, logins and payments with each session, frequent timeouts, and unpredictable and expensive fees. Our Business Traveler Service 2.0 gives business travelers the reliable Wi-Fi access they are looking for, without the hassle -- so that they can simply get on with what they need to do, wherever they are in the world."
The 2014 Business Traveler Connectivity Report indicates that business travelers on the move are actively using bandwidth hungry apps, such as unified communications tools (45%) and cloud based business applications (43%), creating ever greater demand for reliable Wi-Fi connectivity.
Further, the report also highlights that business travelers' expectations for Wi-Fi are still not being met, primarily in airports, where 53% of respondents found services to be below expectations, and also in hotels (43%). On airplanes, 60% of respondents expect Wi-Fi to be available, and 58% are disappointed when it isn't. 63% felt in-flight Wi-Fi is too expensive, and the same percentage of respondents thought it was not sufficiently available. When business travelers cannot access Wi-Fi, a staggering 87% become angry and anxious.
How iPass Business Traveler 2.0 Works
Enterprises subscribe to the iPass Business Travel 2.0 service, removing the need for employees to use credit cards, while ensuring business travelers have access to high quality, advertisement-free Wi-Fi. The service is available on IOS, Android, and Microsoft devices. Businesses simply provide a list of users who they would like to access the service, and iPass takes care of the rest.
iPass uses automated messaging to inform users about the service, prompt them to activate their accounts and then keep them engaged in using the service. Rather than placing an administrative burden on busy internal IT departments, iPass takes care of all end user communications and support, as well as providing hotspot information so travelers can find the best Wi-Fi connectivity for their task. The service model suits an app-based, Wi-Fi focused world, and is increasingly used for "automated" services, such as cloud synchronization and backup, data-intensive unified communications tools and cloud based business applications.
According to the iPass Wi-Fi Cost Index, organizations that have adopted iPass save at least 50% on the connectivity bills of their business travelers. As a result, enterprises see an immediate return on investment, while business travelers get a service that lets them stay productive while on the road.
"Our recent March employee survey shows that employees are between three and four times less productive when in mobile or remote locations like hotels, on transport or in cafes, than when working out of their office. Dependable and available Wi-Fi is critical to the productivity of these business travelers and a crucial customer offering for airlines, hotels, trains, and many other travel venues," said Chris Marsh of Yankee Group.
"We've seen significant demand from our business customers for Wi-Fi on our aircraft. Wi-Fi is critical to the productivity of today's business traveler, so their travel time is not dead time. With iPass Business Traveler 2.0 available on board our planes, travelers can easily connect to what matters to them without hassle, even miles high in the skies," said Sabine Hierschbiel, FlyNet Program Manager, Lufthansa German Airlines.
"As part of our evolving mobile strategy, we will be issuing smart devices to our employees with iPass preinstalled," said Philip Sklar, Senior Global Commodities Lead of Coty, Inc. "With iPass, not only will our team have uninterrupted access to the 2.7M hotspots on the iPass global network, allowing them to stay connected and be productive wherever they travel, we will also be able to manage the costs associated with wireless connectivity."
About the Report: The iPass Business Traveler Connectivity Report, part of the Mobile Workforce Report series is based on information gathered in an online survey from over 2,000 respondents who identify as mobile workers and business travelers at hundreds of enterprises worldwide.
About iPass Inc.
iPass helps enterprises and telecom service providers ensure their employees and subscribers stay well-connected. Founded in 1996, iPass (NASDAQ: IPAS) is the world's largest commercial Wi-Fi network and trusted connectivity platform, with 2.7 million hotspots across 120 countries and territories. iPass also delivers access to millions of community hotspots around the globe. iPass gives its customers easy connectivity for smartphones, tablets and laptops around the world -- simply, securely and cost effectively. For more information, please visit: www.iPass.com and the iPass blog, Smarter Connections.
iPass® is a registered trademark of iPass Inc. Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the WiFi Alliance. All other trademarks are owned by their respective owners.