It shouldn’t come as a surprise that today’s generation is highly connected. Bearing a testimony to this fact are the number of surveys conducted globally. The result of the recently released 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, which was commissioned by Cisco, is no different. Speaking about the report, V C Gopalratnam, VP – Information Technology & CIO Globalisation, Cisco, said, “Fundamentally the report shows that internet connectivity and especially through mobile devices and tablets, has already shaped the mindset of the Gen-Y workforce and will continue to steer the world in that direction. Clearly the society wants to be always connected and always on, twenty years ago the paradigm was how do you become connected and today the whole paradigm is how do you stay connected. So that is the fundamental shift in the paradigm. And in future we really believe that network connections will become even more relevant and valuable than ever before.” 

The online survey conducted across 18 countries surveyed college students and young professionals aged between 18 and 30 years. It studied the increasing use of Internet and mobile devices by the next generation to connect with the world around them. Let’s take a look at the key findings.

Emerging trends
A highlight of the survey included the revelation of the increasing prominence of apps. Nearly 84 percent of respondents in India divulged that mobile applications are important to their daily lives, as compared to the global average of 70 percent. While 62 percent responded that they used mobile applications for games and entertainment, 33 percent of them mainly use apps for work. Another interesting statistics was about the actual usage of the thousands of apps that are downloaded daily. Globally, 60 percent reported using fewer than 10 smartphone apps regularly, while 20 percent said that they use 10-25 apps regularly. While in India, 64 percent respondents reported using fewer than 10 smartphone apps regularly and 32 percent respondents said they use 10-25 apps regularly.

The significance of apps is increasing

The significance of apps is increasing

The survey also highlighted the online shopping trends. In India, 84 percent of respondents shopped online, with 93 percent of respondents relying on customer reviews for online shopping. When it came to sharing their information to receive promotional information, it came to the fore that while 93 percent were willing to share email details, they were wary of sharing more information like phone numbers, home address or other personal data.

When it came to sharing data online, 90 percent of respondents globally admitted to sharing or storing photos on Internet sites. The number is slightly higher in India, which is 94 percent. Next up was videos, with 62 percent globally uploading videos to share or store on Internet sites; at 73 percent, the number is significantly higher in India. Social networking is clearly popular worldwide, with 87 percent having a Facebook account, globally. In India, the number is a staggering 98 percent. When it comes to Twitter, globally about 56 percent respondents had a Twitter account and in India, 75 percent of the respondents had an account on the micro-blogging site.       

The ‘urge’ to stay connected
The survey highlighted the fact that the urge to stay connected is indeed very strong. So much so that 9 out of 10 respondents globally admitted that checking their mobile devices was an integral part of their morning ritual. This was true for 96 percent of respondents from India. Furthermore, globally, 29 percent admitted that they lost the count of how many times they check their smartphone throughout the day, while one-third respondents said they check their smartphones at least once every 30 minutes.

A strong connection

A strong connection

The survey also revealed that the dependence or reliance on smartphones was so strong that the respondents admitted to experiencing anxiety when they aren’t able to access their device or are forced to stay away from it. Globally, 60 percent admitted to subconsciously or compulsively checking their smartphones for email, social media, texts etc. Out of which 40 percent owned up to the feeling of anxiety and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they couldn’t check their smartphones constantly. And interestingly, 60 percent wished they didn’t feel so compelled. The figures for India weren’t any different, where 70 percent respondents admitted to compulsively checking their smartphone for updates, 42 percent said they would feel anxious if they couldn’t check regularly. But what can be heartening to know is that 71 percent wished that they didn’t feel so compelled.

The blurring lines
The constant need to stay connected goes beyond the personal realm and transcends to social/professional lives, thus blurring the lines between them. Time and place notwithstanding, checking the phone updates takes clear precedent – be it while in bed, having dinner or even in bathroom. Twenty-two percent of Indian respondents admitted to using smartphones in bathrooms, which is slightly lower than the global average of 33 percent. On the other hand, when it comes to checking phones during meals, Indians lead the pack with 56 percent, as opposed to the global average of 46 percent. And a little alarming was the fact that 15 percent of Indians admitted to texting while driving.   

Addiction or dependence?

Addiction or dependence?

This trend also reflected itself when it comes to socialising. Two thirds of respondents globally admitted to spending equal or more time socialising online with friends than they do in person, while in India, this number stands at 83 percent. However, men seem to have their priorities right with 38 percent of men globally spending more time in-person than online, as opposed to 29 percent of women. And is there a line between what we portray online and our offline persona? How much of real ‘you’ is out on display or you are a totally different person online? Interestingly, globally, 81 percent believed that people have a different online and offline identity, while in India the number is even higher at 87 percent. But when it came to themselves, 44 percent respondents globally said that their online identity was same as their real world identity; at 59 percent, the number is higher in India.  

Shaping the professional trends 
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is here to stay. Smartphones are increasingly emerging as the device of choice for professionals around the world. If they had to choose only one device, a third of respondents preferred a smartphone, while slightly more than a third favoured laptops. This held true for India as well. Additionally, smartphones were rated twice as popular as desktop PCs and three times as popular as a tablet.  

Given a choice of device many would prefer smartphone

Given a choice of device, many would prefer smartphone

Another interesting trend is the inclination towards and preference given to a single mobile device, whether personal or a company-owned. Also, when it came to company policies against use of company devices for personal use, most respondents stated that they didn’t follow those. The figure stands at 71 percent globally, while in India it’s at 56 percent. What’s interesting is that almost 66 percent believed that the employers shouldn’t track their online activities.    

Cover Image: GettyImages

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