By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
As 2021 draws to a close, at Wi-Fi NOW we are deeply grateful for the amazing year we’ve had and we look forward to even more successes for the Wi-Fi industry in 2022. At the same time we’re heartbroken at having witnessed the suffering especially of small businesses and hard-working families in 2021 – indeed, of people everywhere. Let’s use technology – including Wi-Fi – wisely going forward so as to make 2022 the year of repair, recovery, and restoring faith and hope in the future.
Going from coping with disruption..
We’ve had an amazingly successful year at Wi-Fi NOW – indeed, we’ve broken all our records for attendance of events, content delivered, and partnerships created. We’ve spent most of the year realigning our goals away from in-person events and instead focusing on what we can do online. Thankfully, it turned out that we could do a lot.
I’ll be honest: Like for most of you, living with uncertainty has been nerve wracking. But it has also forced us to do things that in the end have turned out to be hugely beneficial.
..to breaking records!
We’ve gone from supporting a handful of companies to thirty-six fully-fledged Wi-Fi NOW Partners in 2021 – and we expect 2022 might grow that number by as much as 50%. We’re honoured that our members include many of the most exciting startups in Wi-Fi as well as most of this industry’s established giants. Some of our partners have been on a growth trajectory that can only be described as explosive. It’s incredibly exciting to make even a small contribution to such journeys.
In 2021 Wi-Fi NOW has truly become a leadership function for the Wi-Fi industry – but of course, we can only do that through the commitment and trust of our partners. More than seven thousand professionals have attended our online special events and Wi-Fi World Congress virtual events this year. Thousands read and share our Wi-Fi industry news and information every day. More than 50 companies participated in our Wi-Fi NOW Awards 2021 with more than 90 award entries.
The future of Wi-Fi looks bright with 6 GHz
We’re also excited that we’ve been able to contribute to the regulatory push towards adopting 6 GHz Wi-Fi across the world – including conducting special events in support of full-band 6 GHz Wi-Fi in Brazil, India, and the EU. In terms of making a long-term dent in the Universe this is perhaps our most important activity. Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz band is a sea change in connectivity that will impact how people connect for a very long time. It will drive socio-economic growth probably for the next couple of decades.
Let’s use technology as a force for good in 2022
Last but not least: We are conscious of the fact that Wi-Fi NOW happens – by chance – to have been in ‘the right’ industry during the last two years. While many parts of the tech sector – including Wi-Fi – have grown, other parts of the economy have been all but destroyed. Especially heartbreaking to us are all the small businesses in all walks of life that have been either wiped out or suffered massive setbacks. Wi-Fi NOW is also a small business. We know how it feels to face an existential threat.
We are hopeful that things will change in 2022. We will certainly do our part – and this is our appeal to everyone out there: In 2022 let’s use technology – including Wi-Fi – wisely to empower freedom and well as to restore and repair businesses and livelihoods. Above all let’s use our great Wi-Fi technology and our business skills to set a path towards recovery and the full restoration of our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. I can think of no better motivation for operating a business than just that.
Appeal: End the event restrictions now
Finally – an appeal to our fellow in-person event organisers all over the world: To the extent that it is possible for you to do so within the law, we fervently recommend that restrictions such as vaccine passports, testing, masks, etc. are abandoned with immediate effect. Such restrictions will not help you and they will not help your guests and sponsors. On the contrary, such things are not conducive to human interaction, people will stay away, and among those who still participate the only result is more fear and apprehension. Your event business will thrive and prosper again only when the ‘old normal’ returns. Only you can make that happen. We suggest you start now. We intend to as soon as possible.
To all our great partners, clients, followers, readers: Happy New Year! And above all – thank you for your trust and your patronage in 2021.
Keep leading, keep creating – and keep connecting!
CEO & Chairman, Wi-Fi NOW