Ground Floor Wireless/Wi-Fi Business
I was in the USAF for 12 years and worked as an electronic intelligence analyst. Which meant I analyzed electromagnetic energy for its intelligence value. (The official, unclassified, job description.)
Before that, going back to around 1977 or so, I have been fascinated with any antenna I could find or see. We lived out in the country too far from civilization to get cable tv (very few people even in town had it) so EVERYONE had a tv antenna of some sort or another.
We lived about 10 miles out of town and I knew what kind of antenna each house between us and town had. I had them all memorized. I also knew what kind of tower they had and whether they had one of those automatic antenna rotating contraptions that I thought only the rich people could afford. I myself had no less than 4 or 5 antennae mounted to a sad looking mast, clinging to the gutter above my bedroom window. Oh, and the radio shack catalog was near and dear to my heart. In particular, pages 72 through 76 (outdoor antennas.)
It doesn’t stop there. I actually worked for an MMDS (microwave wireless) company back in the late 90’s selling wireless cable tv at first and then we were at the forefront of wireless broadband which we couldn’t hardly GIVE away for some reason. We were too far ahead of our time.
So, suffice to say, I keep up on the wireless industry as a whole. (Cell phone industry is actually boring, so I’m more into the MMDS/Wi-Fi/UWB world of wireless.)
Based on that background, and my entrepreneurial mindset, I want to share with you an INCREDIBLE idea. If you have about $100K to put into something, think SERIOUSLY about this idea.
I’m sure some ma/pa shop is doing it somewhere in the USA. But it needs a “radio shack” treatment where it’s franchised and spread throughout the US. The idea is a wireless store. The store would JUST sell wireless gear. I’m not talking about cell phones (although you could sell those too.) I’m talking about carrying every wireless doohicky in existence. Everything from walkie talkies, ham radio to Wi-Fi routers and antennas to bluetooth dongles and wi-fi VOIP phones that are just starting to come to the market.
This is a HUGE industry even today and it’s poised to become WAY bigger in the next 10 years. But in my town, there’s no one particular place you can go to get advice on what to buy for your set-up… etc. The best place to go here in the Portland area is Frys but they have the absolute WORSE customer service in the universe. And that’s in the computer department where a ton of CS reps are standing. NO ONE is standing over by the wireless data wall. And try asking someone if a piece of equipment can be hooked wirelessly into your ethernet network without drivers and you’ll get a glassy eyed stare except if you get someone who thinks they know what they’re doing and gives you the wrong answer.
There’s another standard coming out within the next couple of years called Ultra Wideband. When this comes out, the whole world of wireless is just going to go absolutely bonkers. The company that has already established a beachhead on the wireless gear front is going to cash in big. Especially when grandma wants to hook her digital camera to her computer without configuring anything.
10 years from now hardly anyone’s speakers will have a wire going to their home stereo. The only wires that will exist is electrical wires. That’s it. Who’s going to hold the hand of all those potential customers? Certainly not Frys.
There’s even more to this idea. Wireless internet access is poised to really over take traditional delivery methods if someone does it right. Famous telecommunications pioneer, Craig McCaw, has the best plan so far with Clearwire. But imagine what kind of wireless data business your wireless store could do? Each store could run a T1 or T3 or whatever they need into the store then sell that bandwidth out to every one of their customers within a 10-20 mile radius wirelessly (through WiMax.) Who would you rather have your wireless data through, the corner store where you can go and talk to a knowledgeable rep, or Verizon? That’s a no brainer. Especially when that store will sell it to you cheaper than Verizon. Imagine how much service business you could get if someone came in looking for some wireless doohicky and you queried them on what type of broadband connection they have and you find out they are using Verizon for $40 a month. Then you hand them a plug and play wireless modem and say, go plug this into your USB and try out our FASTER service for $30 a month. If you like it, just keep the modem and we’ll start billing you. If you DON’T like it, bring it back. BTW: You can also use our service through your laptop, wherever you are in the metro area, even while riding the bus. At some point, you’ll most likely be able to strike up deals with the music industry and because of your pervasive coverage, be able to instantly deliver music to people’s MP3 players, wherever they are at the moment. Same with movies. The opportunities are truly limitless, but you have to there to capitalize on them when the technology allows. Riding the wireless equipment supplier wave will allow you to do that.
Then as you grow the operation, spreading out stores some 40 miles apart, you could start creating a mesh network using your stores as the nodes of that network. As technology advances, your ability to serve masses of customers advances at the same time. But the nice thing is, you are already in place, just waiting to pounce on the latest advances. Selling wireless gear is good money, but then selling services to your hardware customers on top of that, now THAT’S even better.
Then you get into selling voip, then cable tv over your network. Because of your pervasive “local” offices everywhere, you could feasibly, at some point, become the one stop electronic delivery company for your customer.
Possible name… The WiStore.
This is a multi-billion dollar idea and you got it for nada. That’s just the kinda guy I am. (Haha!)