What Is BYOD and Why Are Restaurants and Hotels Picking up the 'Corkage' Fee?

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Hotels and restaurants require fast and reliable internet access to operate successfully on a day-to-day basis, but with employees and guests using their own mobile and tablet devices, combined with the modern expectation of free internet access – a birth right by assumption for so many, today’s hospitality enterprises face impaired access to their own network connections.

Free Wi-Fi is a major attraction for any guest or diner. From the millennials relying on Pokémon Go and Facebook access to help them endure the family holiday, to the travelling sales person who wants to fire off a few emails while simultaneously demolishing a risotto, like it or not, your Wi-Fi might be the only reason these people have set foot on your premises. But now they’re spending money on your premises, so what’s the problem? Well, the problem is likely to occur when your mobile payment system fails to connect with your struggling network because your bandwidth is being devoured by the personal devices of your customers.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend may be out of your control in terms of customers dominating your Wi-Fi, but now staff are partaking in the trend too. In fact, some organisations are even adopting a BYOD culture in the workplace in a bid to increase productivity through employees feeling more comfortable working on their own devices and potentially contributing to their working efforts when using those devices outside of working hours.

Although this may seem an attractive proposition to some employers, especially when considering the reduced expenditure on company-owned devices, a participating company’s bandwidth is likely to become strained as a result of employees using the connection for more than just their working duties, which is the very problem faced by hotels and restaurants struggling to provide customers with an internet connection whilst relying on that same connection to operate their business.

Few of these participating businesses will have visibility on how their employees or guests are using their networks and BYOD-participating employers can only operate on the optimistic assumption that their bandwidth is being used ethically. The only ways to alleviate the pressure placed on such an enterprise’s bandwidth would be to upgrade the business’ WAN, which could likely become a frequent and costly occurrence, or to make access as laborious as possible for those using it for their own purposes and controlling this would take great difficulty.

The only effective way to achieve optimal bandwidth performance while providing access for personal devices and relying on that same connection for vital business operations is to enlist the services of a managed services provider.

A managed services provider will objectivity and address these problems through network analytics to determine exactly what is running across a network, allowing enterprises to rank applications by significance, blocking or throttling back any that are not deemed crucial.

Using the right products and services in a network automated policies can be configure to control bandwidth in addition managed service providers may recommend certain applications that are in constant use and regularly send or receive data are is stored on an enterprise’s server instead of the cloud, thereby reducing strain on the bandwidth, while applications used less frequently will remain on the cloud. In the case of Wi-Fi access, devices can control levels of use, whether by employees or customers’ smartphones. It does nonetheless, require expertise and a full assessment and this is where a managed services provider can save a restaurant or hotel having to buy extra bandwidth.