There’s no place like smartphone

Let’s talk about smartphone, innovation, society and, of course, Internet.

To do this, we use the recent study published by Deloitte entitled “Mobile consumer survey 2016 UK”, research available online, which we recommend you, characterized by statistics with nice infographic and easy to interpret.

The subtitle, highfalutin, has captured our attention and encouraged the drafting of this article. “There’s no place like phone” represents a funny way to misquote the ancient motto “There’s no place like home”.

There is more behind this pun, because in a few years the smartphone has become, in UK as in Italy, a reference in the lives of many of us. It is an indispensable object, personal, always on hand, therefore appropriate to compare it to our home, a private place, intimate, where we feel so at ease.

Nine years after the first diffusion of this new generation of mobile devices, Deloitte, through this study, draws up an interesting analysis.

This analysis has shown the great impact on the social, personal and working environment caused by “smart” devices.

Let’s analyse the main points that synthesize the search.

The “Key findings”:

Almost half of 18-24 years olds check their phone in the middle of the night

The young Millennials, and even worse the young generation Y, are always connected. Even at nighttime!
The graph (figure 4) shows that the 50% of the Millennials (between 18 and 24) accesses their smartphone at least once during the night. The data for the other age groups is equally surprising:

  • a 30-year-old in two accesses Internet during the night (25-34 48%)
  • a 40-year-old in three (35-44 37%)
  • a 50-year-old in four (45-54 27%)
  • a 60-year-old in five (55-64 20%),

do the same.
The over 65 are not excluded with the 14% of the approached ones.


Giving a quick look, we noticed the reverse trend between age and (nighttime) dependence; in any case a significant trend for the elderly age groups as well.
We are always connected. And we will be more and more, given the indices of the age groups.
Internet is in all these numbers; these compulsive, day and night tendencies.

It is useless to enumerate what benefits bring a proper sleep to our health and in general to our life. Are we developing a “FOMO” (Fear of Missing OUT) mass syndrome? More than likely!
The detail  proves it: 11% of the users wakes up in the middle of the night to check up the instant messages such as WhatsApp, 9% reads on Social Media, 8% reads their personal emails, 6% answers to the instant messages and so on…

We find restrictive saying that these people feel the necessity of “being often online”, they perceive the virtual world on a par with the real one. They are in both places. Even in the middle of the night! It is a continuum space and time between the “real world” and “web”.

27% of smartphones include a fingerprint reader, of which 76% are used

The smartphone is more and more a personal tool; the bond between tool and person is shown by the presence of interactive functionalities, which protect and reserves the access, like finger print recognition. Immediate service aimed to guarantee greater safety and fast usage. New functionalities, closer to our senses, by touch, faster, more “smart” and less “phone”, will become more and more established in the future. There can be no doubt!

Connected home devices still haven’t taken off, with just 2% of adults owning smart lights and smart appliances

The use of Internet by home electronic devices didn’t spread as what one thought.
Household appliances at remote control, video cameras controlled by an APP, smarthome technology, wireless devices and Bluetooth find interest in a small percentage of cyberusers.
The reason is extremely simple, the added value in terms of remote control and automation is, till now, very limited. If there is no clear advantage, the technology which sustains the innovation, struggles to succeed.

As of mid-2016, almost half of UK adults had access to at least one type of connected entertainment product

It is a completely inverse tendency compared to the previous case. In 2016 has increased the number of devices as well as the access quantities to the entertainment services through smart TV, games and videostreaming.
The cyberuser is also cyberviewer or cyberplayer. He chooses on demand and via streaming what to enjoy.
Well-informed he downloads, purchases and visualizes online.

4G adoption has more than doubled in the last year, from 25% to 54%

The net is getting faster every day; this powers the use of it, stimulating the interaction and long-distance socialization and increasing the sharing and the use of multimedia material, images and video.

31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. This contrasts with a quarter in 2015, and just 4% in 2012

Instant messenger, chat, social network have changed rapidly the way of communication.
The pie chart “A day in the life of a smartphone” on page 36 explains how the smartphone follows us every moment of our day.

However the smartphone is much more than a phone after all; it is a computer that provides new ways of communication and information; the users, the network users, are more and more aware.
The new ways of communication, also visual, are competing with the traditional operators offer.  They allow saving and communicating in a much more exhaustive way, visual, faster and at long-distance.

The majority of survey participants have downloaded 20 or fewer apps

The APPs have changed our way of perceiving technology by simplifying it, approaching informatics to the common user.
But this doesn’t mean that every APP is automatically a successful product; and even less, that we have to download hundreds of software applications on our device.
The user is learning to select effectively the useful APPs, necessary for his daily purposes.
The user is learning to manage his smartphone.

By mid-2016, almost two-thirds of UK adults had access to a tablet, but penetration growth had slowed down

The tablets have reached the top of their popularity.  Tools created not too long ago, are already becoming extinct.

The new generation of laptops, both computer and tablet, ultra-light, is replacing them.
Furthermore the smartphone displays are larger and larger, clearly legible. A 5/6-inch smartphone represents a good alternative to a tablet.
The tablets have had a fundamental role being  the first “touch” tools that brought web closer to citizen; they have set in motion a global digital reading process.
But technology runs very fast, inexorable; tools till yesterday innovative, gave space to new tools even more innovative.

How would we end our analysis? 

First of all thanking Deloitte for the great research from which we have taken inspiration, then with our “usual” conclusions. It is obvious, given the statistics, that the binomial person-smartphone is changing our social fabric, minor and major aspects of our life; a complex phenomenon, characterized by different tendencies and patterns of use. A fast-growing phenomenon for a long time to come, of that we are sure…in a World more and more “2.0”.


The PDF “Mobile consumer survey 2016 UK” of Deloitte is available at the following address: http://www.deloitte.co.uk/mobileuk/assets/pdf/Deloitte-Mobile-Consumer-2016-There-is-no-place-like-phone.pdf


Facebook a social tool for older people?

smart_changesLet us imagine for a moment that we are in one of our cities and equipped with a questionnaire we begin asking the name of a social network or better which one is the most used social network online? With all the probabilities we’ll get a plebiscite for Facebook. Facebook is the social network par excellence, through this tool was found the first global social web composed by hundreds of millions of knots, real or virtual it really does not matter. Because of Facebook many of us have started to use internet practically daily, interacting, expressing our feelings in front of the computer, having a cyber chat. Yet, according to the statistics, Facebook seems to go through a downturn, the following diagram (from global web index source) underlines the increasing indifference toward Facebook, no more a daily tool! The number of the daily active users has gone down during the last couple of years from over 80% to just over 50% of the members, a significant change for an important part of the users. . facebook_active_usersObviously these data must be carefully carried out and cross-checked with other indicators. However it is undeniable that in the 2013-2014 period, therefore in a rather large period of time for a social tool, for a good part of its members a change has happened in the day-to-day use of Facebook. Hundreds of millions of users, especially the youngest ones, are moving toward tools denominated “instant messenger”, fast , intuitive and low cost tools, available on smartphones, first of all Apple’s iMessage, Skype, QQ and, most of all, WhatsApp. This first social migration, a virtual diaspora, has its origins in various and concomitant factors, among these we quote:

  • The accessibility of these services on smartphone, always in our pocket.
  • A simple interface with an uncomplicated guideline, easily intuitive.
  • (Often) The absence of publicity
  • The possibility to easily send messages toward a group, to channel interests and contents toward a specific bunch of people.
  • The possibility to represent / personalise some aspects, (configurations which differ from an App to another), such as: soundproofing some communications, persons or groups, changing the background, etc…
  • The use of real friendship circles, based on phone numbers, tangible contacts and the consequent risk reduction to interact with “fake profiles”.

To sum up, a new generation of smart tools, quicker and lighter, more exclusive, are progressively replacing the traditional social tools, in vogue for almost one decade. It is interesting to observe how this evolution, still in its early stage, is accepted more by the youngest, great smartphones’ users, willing to welcome without hesitations new tools, experiencing new contexts. Probably in the next couple of years the “over 45” will be more involved in this “migration” towards instant messages. It is also important to underline how the “present” social tools have determined this acceleration toward the IMs. In fact, tools like Facebook have extended our net of friends and they have emotionally exposed us. Now the instant messengers allow us to timely address our messages, not to everybody but to a precise group of people, rationalise our emotional choices and speed up our communications. Furthermore, when it comes to novelty, all of us, especially the youngest ones, want to try it! The following diagram, source “Statista“, highlights the increasing global trend of WhatsApp. whatsapp_trendIn reply to all this, Facebook, the social network’s colossus, took immediately some countermeasures, one of this being the creation of a new IM tool denominated “Facebook messenger” which has kept loyal a significant part of users. Another one is the purchase of WhatsApp for 19 (or 22?) billion dollars and last but not least the activation of techniques of participation (email marketing) based on the constant emails to its members. Practically the stepmother, tired to hear from the magic mirror that Snow White is more beautiful than she is, has decided to have a facelift and a liposuction and then, simply to bribe Snow White (perhaps with the purpose of locking her in the castle? Who knows…) From the strategic point of view these are excellent moves, before being eroded (perhaps devoured?) by an expanding phenomenon, the result of the social acceleration online, Facebook provides an “instant” version to all of its users and at the same time, due to its well-known availability of money, incorporates the most emerging part of the IM phenomenon in order to keep under control its spreading as well as the large audience involved. Our relational universe is evolving very fast! We use faster and faster tools, interactive and instant. We are more and more addicted to social tools in order to communicate with our friends and relatives. Facebook has changed the web and our habits. It permitted us to build our first emotional-relational network, it has made it global, but now the web proceeds towards a direction even more instant. The change is so sudden, dazzling and unpredictable, that even Facebook launches on the market a “smart” and “instant” version of itself, increasing as well its promotional commitment to its members and, at the same time, managing the one that was, till few months ago, its main rival.

One last consideration regarding the privacy: with the diffusion of the IM on our smart phones what will happen with our comments, our photos and our contacts? Let us say, at best, it will be an “overexposure“… Only one decade has passed and we are only at the beginning of World 2.0, who knows what needs to happen?


 In thanking the “Global Web Index” and “Statista” for the contents examined in detail published online, we remind you that WorldTwoDotZero is only a game, a web walk to take together, it doesn’t have any commercial purpose.