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Attached at the hip: Canadians and their smartphones in a connected world

- December 12, 2012 9:00 am

If you had to choose only one device what would you choose?  Would it be a laptop? Smartphone? Tablet?

This is one of the many questions posed in the third annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR). This year’s study reached out to students and young workers, aged 18-30, and separately to IT professionals, in Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands,  Russia, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, Korea, India, China, Japan, and Australia.

In the first chapter, released today, a pervasive theme was the need or even compulsive obsession that so many young people, including Canadians, have around staying connected with their smartphone.

Nine of out of 10 young Canadians check their smartphones the moment they wake up. They check them during the day (63% believe compulsively), and then take them to bed with them (over 60 per cent). And what are they doing on their smartphones? They are constantly posting pictures (90% of respondents), uploading video (62%), on Facebook (87%) and tweeting (56%) – adding to the world’s data with every swipe of a finger.

It’s no wonder that in addition to the acceleration of high bandwidth mobile networks like LTE, service providers are working with Cisco to deploy “small cells” like mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and Femto cell at an ever increasing rate to keep up with demand.

Continuing a theme from last year’s report, we are seeing that the craving to “be connected” is increasingly blurring lines between family/social life and work.  When Canadian young workers were asked about policies around personal activities on company devices, 43% knew their employers forbid it, yet 77% of them admitted they do not obey those policies. On the other side, 36% of Canadian IT workers believe their company’s employees actually obey those policies. It’s clearly time for IT to accept the changing workforce and adapt.

Cisco is helping many organizations implement their BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” programs to allow employees to bring their smartphones, tablets and other devices to work. Inside Cisco we have experienced tremendous cost and productivity benefits by moving to a model where IT no longer supplies corporate-issued smartphones. Instead we embrace employees using their own tablets and smartphones.

While the first chapter of the Connected World Technology Report shows that personal activities have crept into the work day, it also highlights the opportunity for businesses to expand beyond BYOD programs. Now is the time to build secure business apps for smartphones and tablets to better capture the opportunities that exist with this young employee base that is always connected, and always looking at their mobile devices.

Watch for my thoughts on chapters two and three of the Connected World Technology Report over the coming months, as we look at other trends and opportunities in this space.  And for an in-depth look at the chapter one findings use our Interactive Connected World Technology Report World Map.

From my perspective, I am truly grateful that I am not forced to choose only one device. What are your thoughts on chapter one of the CCWTR?

For more on the CCWTR, visit our website to see the full report.

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