Here it is: Scalable, ubiquitous wireless bandwidth is a short-term opportunity for hotels and convention centers in second and third-tier cities to attract more events.
And it probably doesn't have to cost anything.
If you take a look at Gnomedex or Tim's upcoming Portable Media Expo , or hundreds of conferences-to-be on blogging, RSS, vertical wireless applications (medical, educational, etc.), social networks and whatnot - these are events that could easily be hosted in smaller cities (and hey, come to Pittsburgh while you're thinking of it!).
These types of events typically run from 300-2000 people. And ALL of them are online all the time during the event. So wireless needs to be everywhere, not just in some lobby or a couple of meeting rooms. Everywhere. And it needs to be fast. Lots and lots of available bandwidth ready on a moment's notice.
I would guess that given the choice between ensuring that every attendee and speaker would be able to get online (at DSL speeds or better) whenever and wherever they were in your facility vs. risking network breakdowns and unhappy customers, the organizers would certainly choose the former.
Even more, they'd likely be willing to hike their prices by $20/$25 a head to ensure connectivity. And attendees would gladly pay it. Attendees wouldn't even have to know about it.
Say you get six of these types of events, one every other month. Say they average 400 attendees. That's 2,400 attendees at $20 per, or $48,000. You can buy yourself a couple of T1s for that. Over three year's you're well into six figure territory... heck, why not splurge for a T3?
Caveat: By 2008, if things go as planned, devices compatible with the 802.16e WiMAX standard should be available and gain rapid acceptance (assuming IEEE, Intel and other standards bodies are correct). But as with everything else related to technological advances, this will likely hit major metro areas first, then trickle down.
So there's a three-to-five year window here to make some money in second and third-tier cities.
Tim... am I wrong about this?
Building on the idea: This morning, David Shaw of B or not 2B adds:
That also goes for cell repeaters. And power stations (why not charge a little money to allow people to power up their batteries in a secure environment--kind of like a coat check for cellphones, PDAs and laptops?) It was amazing to me how many dead spots McCormick Lakeside Center has. And how few places you could find a standard plug for a quick power up. Venue owners need to think like their customers' customers.