The way that we connect with each other definitely has changed drastically over the past decade or so. Think about the next big get together (a party, or perhaps a night out at a concert) that you want to plan. What do you do? Do you place a phone call to each and every individual you’d like to invite? Or do you jump onto your smartphone and send out a mass text message? Or maybe you turn on your tablet or laptop and create an online “invite” through a social media site like Facebook or some other channel.
Whether it’s creating the wheel or the cell phone, technology has altered the way that we live – and oftentimes, for the better. Technology has completely streamlined tasks that otherwise would have taken significantly longer to complete, like sending out invitations to an event in the mail or calling 5 people separately, which could easily take a week to complete with the busy lives that we all lead.
From SMS to Apps
SMS, or short messaging service, can be largely to “blame” for how we now tend to reach for our tablets and smartphones to connect with one another rather than visit someone at their home or place an actual phone call. SMS allowed us to suddenly be able to send out fast blasts of information to anyone, anywhere with just a push of a button from our mobile phones.
From SMS we then evolved to MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which then bloomed into a number of other technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As demand for these social media services grew, cell phones continued to evolve into what is now the “smartphone”, a device that allows you to do more than just place a home call or play “Snake”. With a smartphone, you now could perform almost any task, any time, right from your phone thanks to the creation of Apps.
The Global Domination of the Mobile Internet Devices
The number of smartphones and mobile devices that are currently activated and in use continues to jump by the millions each and every year. A recent ABI Research study revealed that by the end of 2013, there will be one smartphone for every five people worldwide (ABI Research via Business Insider, 2013). The same study estimated that 1.4 billion smartphones will be up and going, using the following platforms:
• 798 million will be Android
• 294 million will feature Apple’s iOS
• 45 million will be Windows
But smartphones aren’t the only devices that are going to cause a dramatic increase in mobile internet usage. The number of Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices are growing, from laptops and tablets to eReaders and even gaming devices like the Nintendo Wii and the PS Vita. Cisco estimated that over the next five years, mobile internet usage will continue to increase at a stunning rate of 66% each and every year, with the average user watching 10 hours of video, listening to 5 hours of music, making 5 video calls and downloading approximately 15 apps per month (Cisco, 2012).
Example: Smartphone Penetration in Australia
Though Australia was one of the slowest nations to adopt the smartphone, there are now over 21 million mobile phones in use in Australia today (ACMA, June 2013). Google and IPSOS have revealed that Australia now comes in at 2nd place for smartphone usage (Google/IPSOS, 2011). Some other interesting stats from this study include:
- 81% of Australians have used their smartphones at home in the past week, with 1 out of 2 Australians using their phone when watching television and 1 out of 3 using smartphones and other devices that are Internet-enabled at the same time
- Almost half (49%) of Australians are using their smartphones to research and contact businesses
- 45% of Australians credit their smartphones for encouraging them to visit a particular business
- 2 out of 5 Australians use their smartphone daily to perform mobile services
- Australians on average have 8 paid apps on their phones, with 25 apps overall (this is just a few shy from the US and UK, which have an average 33 apps)
- 20% of Australians would give up their television before they give up their smartphone
The number of mobile devices in an Australian’s hands are also expected to increase. In fact, Cisco has said that they believe that each Australian will own 2.4 mobile device by the year 2015, as well as have access to a mobile speed connection that’s 5 times faster than the current speed (Cisco, 2010). What do they believe is driving this change? Online video consumption, which is rising at a stellar pace.
Videos Domination over the Web
There’s no question that images and video are beginning to take over the internet. With visually driven sites like Pinterest now being the 3rd most popular social media site on the web (Experian Hitwise, 2012) and with over 1 billion unique users visiting YouTube each and every month (YouTube, 2013), it’s pretty clear that video is beginning to match (if not dominate) text-based content.
There are a number of reasons why those on their tablets, their laptops and smartphones would prefer to watch video over reading text:
- Video delivers a message on a succinct way
- Many viewers see video content as easier to digest
- Watching a video can add more “trust” to the content being provided, particularly if the author is present in the video
People who are using mobile devices generally don’t have the time to sit back and take their time reading text-based information. They’re often on the go, multitasking, and want the information that they need delivered in 2 seconds or less from their mobile device.
This multi-tasking, always “on the go” society that we live in is largely responsible for how we now connect with one another, whether that be through text messages on our smartphone, “Facetime” on our iPad or tapping out emails on our laptop. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s pretty certain: our mobile devices are here to stay, and the ways that we reach out and connect with each other are sure to evolve and change along the way.