Not long ago, it was straight-forward for businesses, condo associations and vacation properties to select vendors for information technologies. The local telephone company provided telephone service. The local cable company or a satellite operator provided video services. Each user made their own decisions on Internet service. There weren't a lot of vendor choices, so it was easy to make decisions.
The rapid evolution of high-speed internet changed that. First came wired connections – perhaps to a PC in the office and the lobby, perhaps to desks in the rooms. Wi-Fi accelerated the change. In only a few years, Wi-Fi has become the dominant means of connection to the Internet. Many companies vie to provide Internet and Wi-Fi services for businesses, vacation rental properties and condo complexes.
Wi-Fi is very challenging. Wi-Fi standards are constantly evolving. Equipment makers always try to include the latest and greatest Wi-Fi in new consumer devices.
Mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – are challenging Wi-Fi systems installed just a few years ago. Wi-Fi systems often need to be re-engineered to handle these devices properly.
Smart TVs are the next challenge. Consumers are buying smart TVs – and smart devices such as Blu-ray disc players and Apple TVs. These are “smart” only if they have an internet connection, presenting new challenges.
Many companies have installed Internet and Wi-Fi systems in homes and small businesses, and offer these solutions as appropriate for condo complexes and vacation rental properties. Many of these companies do not understand the complexities of Wi-Fi in an era of evolving standards, proliferating mobile devices, and increasingly demanding applications. Solutions they provide often fall short of meeting expectations shortly after they are installed.
Other companies may propose to install high-priced systems with capabilities that associations and vacation rental properties may not need for years in the future – if ever.
Most companies aim to sell their products and services to anyone who will buy them. Most businesses, condo associations and vacation rental property owners know much less about these technologies and service than the companies selling them. It is hard to differentiate between vendors and evaluate technology claims.
How can condo complexes and vacation rental properties make intelligent, cost-effective decisions to choose technologies and vendors that will work properly now – and for the future?