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What on earth is a "WiFi chair"? Have a look ...

by Guy Kewney | posted on 13 August 2003


A WiFi chair, since you ask, is not a Professorship in mobile IT. It is a chair made out of the cables which people are throwing away because wireless LANs are making them obsolete. It symbolises the British wireless resurgence. Apparently ...

Guy Kewney


Truly, a WiFi Chair is a Symbol of the Future

You can see one this week, in London at the Deluxe Gallery in Hoxton Square - the exhibition runs from August 12th – 29th - and after that, at 100% Design, Earls Court, from September 25th –28th.

But why? "To symbolise wireless Internet revolution," says the company. "To promote the Centrino brand," responds the sceptic.

The publicity stunt carries a payload: Intel quotes research from analysts at Gartner showing: "that Britain is leading Europe's drive to access the Internet wirelessly."

The survey says the number of people using wireless hot spots in the UK to connect to the Internet is set to reach nearly half a million this year (456,000) "and the number of installed hotspots will climb to over 4,100, accounting for 27% of Europe's total number of hotspots, ahead of Germany on 23%."

And the chairs? "The chairs contain 'fossilised' computer cables, encased in clear resin, to reflect the end of the cable era."

The chairs are designed to be placed in select hotspot locations, like train stations and hotels, allowing hotspot users to access the Internet and email in comfort.

The project appears to have been funded by the considerable promotional budget which Intel has poured into its Centrino Mobile Technology which integrates wireless capability into its latest generation of low-power mobile PCs.

The report goes on to note that UK wireless Internet usage is also set to increase rapidly, with Gartner predicting that the number of frequent users of UK wireless hot spots will more than double in 2005 to reach over 1.5 million.

Commenting on the growing trend towards "wireless living," Ian Keene at Gartner said: "As PC users increasingly want to stay connected on the move, wireless LAN technology adoption is starting to gain real momentum. The UK is in the forefront of the wireless revolution in Europe and usage is set to grow dramatically as people start to appreciate the benefits of staying connected to friends, family and work colleagues on the move."

Jill Fehrenbacher of the Design Laboratory commented "The Intel WiFi chairs were created as a way of letting the public experience this revolutionary new technology. The aim is to inspire people to explore the possibilities of wireless technology and we are already in talks with manufacturers about making them available nationally to take this further. This project is part of the Design Laboratory's ongoing relationship with Intel bringing technology to life through conceptual designs."

"We are delighted to be unveiling these innovative WiFi chairs today, as they symbolise the exciting new trend towards wireless computing in the UK. Intel is proud to be playing a central role in enabling Britain to "unwire", commented Rick Skett, director of UK and Ireland, Intel.

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