Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Offering Wireless@SG? More Like Wireless(not)@SG!

This was spotted at a fast food restaurant in Holland Village which has Wireless@SG avaliable.
Wireless@SG is a wireless broadband programme developed by IDA to let Singaporeans have easier access to the Internet outside of home and this is a government initiative. By discouraging use, why do you bother even to offer? Here, the government is pushing to "wire up" the entire island, and here you are discouraging use... Tsk tsk...

What happened as seen above is that cardboards with the words "DO NOT USE" were used to cover up the power sockets. When people work out of home for various reasons, they would need minimally a power socket and being able to access the Internet is a plus. And by covering up these sockets, customers are not able to power up their laptops (and we know laptop batteries don't last amazingly) and connect to the Internet at these places.
So, if you are not interested in letting customers use their laptops at your restaurants, may I ask why in the world are you bothering to offer Wireless@SG too? Are you trying to discourage use of a government's initiative? I definately think so! the government is pushing to "wire up" the entire island, and here you are discouraging use?! I don't freaking understand. I think they are supporting Wireless(not)@SG instead...

To me, it simply makes no complete sense to offer Internet access but not power sockets. How much power can one's laptop consume? Even if customers sit there the whole day using your electricity, the money earned from the food and drinks purchase would be enough to cover, wouldn't it?

A few shops down, another cafe was offering Wireless@SG too, and it was packed with people using their laptops there, because they did not cover up their power sockets. Everyone was having a drink from this cafe and that means business! If the above fast food restaurant did not cover up the power sockets, I'm sure they would fetch in more business too, because it was freakingly empty.


DK said...

I disagree with you.

Stopping people from using their power socket doesn't mean they discourage people to use wireless@sg there. The laptop should be able to last at least 2hr.

The govt said giving us free internet. Nobody said anything about free power too. :P

themediaslut said...

Should we start a "Power to the People" campaign. Boycott those cafes that promote WirelessSG who don't give power. Support those who do!

paced said...

Yah lah, batteries can last us for a while. But comparing to the coffeeplace a few shops away which also has Wireless@SG and don't cover up their power sockets, it was packed.
Everyone who "parks" outside to use make use of wireless has their own reasons and when their battery "finishes", a power socket is good for a recharge and facilitate customers. Somehow, when choosing a place to use wireless, "power socket" would be a consideration.
If they don't cover up, I'm sure these places can earn as much customer traffic as the coffeeplace and profits earned will be more than enough to pay for the higher electricity bill.
Boycott is a bit serious right? Hehe...

Anonymous said...

i can understand why the shop blocked the socket. cheapos like me can buy just a cup of drink and hang around all day surfing the net :P real customers may not get a seat because of this :(

dat said, even the gov dun encourage wireless@sg! i was at Jurong East Library yesterday and was told by the librarian that the power sockets should only be used if: 1) the battery is totally flat and 2) the user is using the notebook to do "project work". I was watching a video clip on YouTube and she politely told me the policy.

PS: i try to be cheapo only when the joint is not crowded. if it gets crowded, i usually pack up and let hungry ppl have the seat. can't say the same of other cheapos though.

paced said...

Hi Anonymous! Thanks so much for your analysis.
By telling users politely about their policy on usage of the power sockets (like the library), I think it's better than just concealing the power socket; the latter seems more outright "in your face".

Entrepreneur said...

You're absolutely right that they went about it the wrong way. The problem with Singaporeans is they don't know how to tell someone off in a nice way. If they made a funny comment or something like a smiley face that is flat out of battery or something instead of an in your face "DON'T USE!" people (like you) wouldn't have a cow.

I don't agree however that businesses should provide the free power juice (kudos to those who do)- the wireless@SG has been imposed on them, I don't think they want it either.

paced said...

Hi entrepreneur, u mean these makan places can "opt out" of Wireless@SG and it's "imposed upon them"?

Oh, I thought of something also. If you don't want people to use the power sockets, don't put them there in the first place to "entice". But I know big makan places like these need power sockets "everywhere" to facilitate themselves when they need to vacumm the floor or something.

entrepreneur said...

Yep yep! The Wireless SG is provided for by the government and its basically wherever there is a signal.

It's funny. The other day the people at Coffee Bean said they didn't have wireless and that we should go to McDonald's. They just didn't understand how it works= it's everywhere there's a signal. So the businesses who don't want people to use their power shouldn't be putting up the Wireless@SG symbols at their establishments.

But yep, they don't have a choice. (They can't opt out)

jitsion said...

heck, maybe we should just use extension cord and pull it from somewhere and use in the BK man. actually, I seen more people use lappies in Starbucks than other cafes.

Fastfood places is too noisy n dirty anyway. Some places did the opposite and actually tells u about their location of their power plugs.

I love going to Delifrance opp SMU. Great sofa, power beside the table (2 plugs!), no crowds !


ebie said...

Hmm, was wondering if I'm guessing right about 'the cafe a few shops down'.

Anyway, yeah, we did have some concerns about power usage but seems our guests are really supportive. Most get some drinks and a couple of baskets of finger food and add on if they stay longer. Many are actually regulars now!

Offering Wireless@SG is actually a choice of the establishment at the moment, not imposed on. Although there may be spillover signal coverage.

Well, electricity is expensive and that's a choice for the establishment too. We're glad that our guests have responded in kind. =)

paced said...

Hi jitsion,
Wow! Telling you the location of the power sockets? That's blardi good service! Which customer don't like to be "fussed upon"? So attentive!!! Wow!!! Psst, where huh? hehe...

Hi ebie,
The cafe I was talking about was more esstentially a "coffee place". But, thanks sooooo much for letting me that there's another cool place to chill out, get access to the net and the best of all, makan, all without worries of my lappy batt dying on me!!!
Thanks for re-enforcing my point on the "business" part. I doubt anyone is so thick-skinned as to step into a food establishment, plug into a power socket and hog the table the whole day. Sometimes, I only have the intention of ordering only a coffee. But when I see others eating, mouth also "itchy"... Haha... That brings business, and especially when the food's good and sedap, you can "convert" passerby-es or "spill-over customers" into regulars!

Hmm, so is Wireless@SG "imposed" or "optional"...

Anonymous said...

typical looser. no enough power, bring extra battery. free internet still want to complain no free use of power socket, might else complain no free laptop??

i hate to see those hogging in the restaurant with the laptop charging the batt for their own use. if the laptop user are allowed to use the power socket FOC, doesn't every handphone users entitle also?

by saying those restaurant offer free use of power socket has better business has v shallow view of biz sense. haven't u seen those laptop users bought a drink and sit for hrs??

paced said...

Hi anonymous,
The correct spelling is "loser" not "looser", if I'm not wrong.

I agree that some shameless, thick-skinned people will sit there whole day and buy only one drink. So I guess your point is that by discouraging use of power sockets is to deter people these people from hogging the table?

You're right on the "why only allow laptop users use power sockets and not handphone users". However, my point is that it's an additional service and if not provided, pls don't entice.

About having a "shallow view of business", I don't really agree. As ebie has "proven", some customers have become regulars and isn't that good for a business? In business, who wouldn't want consumers who are brand loyals and regulars? I would...

My additional 2 cents worth...

paced said...

Hi everyone,
I understand some are seeing this entry through a link from the forums at hardwarezone. Just want to clarify some stuff.

No, it's not Macs... But I won't say where it is. Hope you guys understand that my stand is that if you are not willing to provide, don't entice too.

Pasting a cardboard like that is very "in your face". Furthermore, it is more polite to tell users politely that "they are hogging table" or they can go forward to ask if they would like to order more stuff, dropping a hint to ask them to "shoo off". It's good to speak to customers face to face regarding your electricity usage policy.

I applaud the "first" anonymous for being not one of the "cheapos" around.

I know that there are shameless people who hog table the whole day, ordering a miserable small drink and these people need to be educated.

I was at a coffee place at basement of Paragon the other day. One power socket, 4 lappys including mine. As I still had battery, I did not plug in. The other 3 were taking turns to charge their batts. As I was the nearest to the socket, I gave my seat up to a lady whose wire wasn't long enough. It's all about being considerate too...

And I really wana know if Wireless@SG is "imposed" or "optional" for these makan places. Anyone any idea?

Anonymous said...

why must these places let u use their electricity for free? oredi give u free wireless access, now want free power?

u all buy 1 drink can plant ur arses there for whole day, if give u free power i think they can close shop liao.

wake up n stop whining la!

paced said...

Hi 3rd anonymous,
I never demand for free power... I'm just saying that it would help boost business. And that was my main point.

FeiZai said...

Zzz.. can you all stop whining abt Paced's opinion on being able to use power socket?

She say y no able to use power socket? Fine. You say y must give use, fine.

Everyone got own opinion. Cannot stand it, then dun read. Dun flame becos you all got no life, only know how to flame and read HardwareZone Forums. Zzz...

Btw, yah, I write here becos I also no life. I know HardwareZone got flame becos someone post liao. Anything else to add? Add liao means you no life, again... Ty

xizor2000 said...

1. From a consumer point of view I don't understand why some people give so much of a damn about the biz sense as far as Pacey's view is concerned. We are consumers and from a pure consumers point of view, if a shop goes bust because it didn't know how to make a profit... 关俺屌事 (my problem)?

2. I do however agree free wireless broadband should not include free power.

3. I also believe, as a kind of service, the joint can provide the sockets for people to charge their flat batteries out of good will. (Or limit the use of the power socket to 15 mins for customers with a drink.)

ebie said...

Hey paced,

Ok, I know which you mean. haha

Well, guess everyone has their own opinion. In any case, all have a choice. The merchant can choose whether or not to provide free wireless and/or power supply and consumers can choose where they want to patronize.

see u around!

FeiZai said...

I write this as a business owner:-

I would definitely provide electricity as it draws more pple to come over for drinks.

The moment they buy something more than a drink, they cover the electricity. The third item is my profit.

There is also the feel-like-home factor, much like Geek Terminal. I secure regulars who know the availibility of long-term use of laptops.

So while it's not a MUST to provide power socket, it's definitely pro-biz to provide if possible.

I know becos i'm starting a cafe too and the calculations make sense.