When I was entering college, fax machines were kind of a big deal. Mobile phones were something you might glimpse in a movie about spies or some super wealthy person. It was the nascent years for the world’s 1G network. But for me and my friends, compact discs were the thing—a whole new way to enjoy music. And if you took our wheels away, we were lost. Contrast this with today’s young adults for whom the internet has become deeply fundamental. More than half surveyed in a new Cisco Connected World Technology Report say the internet is more integral to their lives than cars, dating, and partying. Wow!
The 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report looks at the relationships between human behavior, the Internet, and networking’s pervasiveness. The objective: to determine how the next generation of workers will influence everything from business communications and mobile lifestyles to hiring, corporate security, and companies’ abilities to compete.
Data show that one in three college students and young professionals sees the internet as important as basic human essentials, such as water, air, food, and shelter. Some other surprising statistics:
- Two-thirds of students (66%) and more than half of employees (58%) cite a mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) as “the most important technology in their lives.”
- Fewer than one in 10 college students (6%) and employees (8%) said the TV is the most important technology in their daily lives—and that trend is expected to continue.
- More than one in four college students globally (27%) said staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.
This information is especially compelling when you think of what that can portend for businesses trying to reach this demographic. And from an employment perspective, how will we capture and nurture camaraderie for a generation that prefers to connect online? For sure, we will need to rethink how we do business across the board.
A report released this week by Pew Internet also shows a shifting from ‘real world’ and toward virtual when it comes to connecting: Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. From that group, 31% said they preferred texts to talking on the phone. Young adults are the biggest texters by a wide margin. Mobile phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages per day—more than 3,200 texts per month.
Without a doubt, our world is changing to be much more internet focused. And that becomes even more apparent with each new generation. As I look to my daughters, who are seven and eight, what will be the ‘wow’ technology central to their lives?
For those of us in I.T., it’s up to us to plan our networks accordingly, to address the security and mobility demands that will be placed on our infrastructures. To learn more about the implications of Cisco’s global study, check out the infographic below and watch our panel discussion at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17401843. To get more detail on the report itself, go to www.cisco.com/go/connectedreport.