Connectivity: The short version

Mobile device usage
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24 October 2017 | 0

Niall Kitson portraitThree released its first Connected Ireland report on the hopes, dreams and habits of smartphone users around the country this week.

The survey – conducted by Amarach Research on 1,000 of the telco’s customers – looks at the worlds of business, digital lifestyle and e-government and tells us roughly what we already suspected: we like technology but it scares us and makes us anxious when it doesn’t do what we want. Sometimes we experience all three at the same time.

This mindset will be old news to organisations like the IEDR who have been arguing the case for Irish businesses to be more progressive in their digital transformation strategies. Irish SMEs are still turned off by running online stores, but you can be sure each and every employee has a smartphone in their pocket.

The case for maintaining an online presence has long been settled and the survey’s numbers leave no room for equivocation. According to Three, about three-quarters of respondents shop online per month but just 42% do so from an Irish website.

Businesses are also missing out when it comes to customer service – a vital touch point for businesses looking to emphasise experience when competing over price isn’t an option. Less than 40% of respondents claimed to have spoken to customer service agents online, but 89% reported a positive experience. You can be sure those satisfied customers will turn into repeat customers.

When it comes to e-government we see a similar pattern. Some 57% of respondents said they are concerned about sharing their data with public services, yet roughly the same figure (58%) are in favour of using smartphones to engage directly with local authorities and the Gardai.

And how about this for a mixed message: 44% of respondents said they would like to have the option of voting in a local or general election via smartphone. No government collection, except when we want it. No mention of concerns over whether voting information can be harvested for ‘research purposes’.

Finally there are some stats showing that social anxiety is as big a concern as privacy – especially with young people. Almost 60% of respondents said having a smartphone made them feel connected to the outside world, 52% said it made them feel safe but 54% said it hindered their sleep. Furthermore, 70% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they would get upset if they knew someone had seen a message of theirs and not responded. There is an entire episode of Black Mirror devoted to that stat alone.

Such is the state we’re in. Connectivity is convenience and a curse. These numbers show people want it both ways.



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