Japans vending machines to start offering free WiFi access

first_imgDepending on where you are in the world, your access to free Wi-Fi while on your travels will vary greatly. Larger cities filled with coffee houses probably offer the best connectivity, where as more remote or rural locations will rely much more heavily on owning a 3G dongle and signing up for a data contract.Japan is usually near the top of the charts when it comes to speed of access to the Internet, and now one company has figured out a very simple way to create a healthy grid of wireless access points consumers can connect to with their mobile devices. The Asahi Soft Drinks company installs and stocks thousands of vending machines across Japan. It has decided that in future new vending machines will come pre-installed with the kit necessary to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. In so doing, anyone within 50 meters of a machine will be able to connect for free and surf the web. The only limit seems to be an auto cut-off after 30 minutes, but you can just re-connect if you need to.By offering free Wi-Fi, Asahi should attract more consumers to its machines. As well as offering up drinks and Internet access, the hotspots will include information about the local area and services–potentially offering the company some advertising revenue too.As vending machines are always turned on, and located in busy pedestrian areas, the move to offer free Wi-Fi access makes sense. Vending machine technology is also receiving a major overhaul in the coming years, some of which requires an Internet connection anyway. Examples include Pepsi’s social vending machine and Sanden’s 65-inch transparent touchscreen solution with facial recognition.If this works in Japan, I see no reason for it not to make the trip West. Vending machines can be found in most public areas, and I think we’d all appreciate switching over to Wi-Fi whenever we can to help keep within our contracted data allowances.Read more at TechCrunchlast_img read more