According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Generation Y (a.k.a. The Millennials) consist of over 86 million 18 to 34 year olds. This makes Gen Y the largest generation in American history.
This digital group has travelled through most of life along the Information Superhighway. Mobile apps, online gaming, social media, as well as instant access to information and people is their perceived standard of living in the U.S.
As a result, they have certain technology expectations when they show up to either class, work...even your house. To illustrate this last point, I recall inviting a few friends over to watch a football game one Saturday. None of them had been to my house before, yet within an hour, one of them asked me for the password to my Wi-Fi network. He needed to check-in on his fantasy team. Within a few minutes after that, he commented on the network speed and was thrilled by the kind of throughput he was getting. I felt strangely judged by the whole experience. Fortunately, my network speed and throughput met his Wi-Fi expectations and we're still friends today. But kidding aside, my 32 year-old comrade had an expectation and I proudly delivered.
To believe that these perceptions are limited to my living room is foolish. Millennials carry these expectations with them where ever they go. This includes their workplace, the coffee shop as well as the classroom or library. When their Wi-Fi experience is poor due to slow network speed and lousy throughput, the gripes begin, harsh judgment ensues and the perception of the establishment is bruised. Do a Twitter search for "bad wifi" and you'll see dozens of tweets by people everywhere complaining about their poor Wi-Fi experiences. It's real.
Our society is cutting the wires that tie us down. The proliferation of smartphones and Wi-Fi hotspots have ushered in a new age that is transforming our expectations around the places we work and the companies we do business with. Gen Y will tolerate "bad wifi" less and less over time. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Gen Y will account for 36% of the U.S. workforce by 2025. Therefore, as an IT professional, the time is now to change your own perceptions. Wi-Fi is no longer a nice-to-have. It's clearly become mission-critical to the students and workers who will be running and leading our country soon. Take a proactive step as opposed to a reactive one and start learning about Wi-Fi performance solutions.