You may have read the title of today's post and just laughed.
We know we can't live without our smartphones. But just how dependent are consumers on their iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxy series smartphones?
Anecdotally, a lot. I once walked out of a taxi at O’Hare while my phone was still in the backseat. I was fortunately able to borrow a phone from one of the skycaps, call my phone, and the taxi driver was astute enough to answer it. He was kind enough to drive back to the airport to return it to me. But that feeling of loss at the prospect of having to navigate my world at an airport without my iPhone was unnerving and sweat-producing.
The way our smartphones alter our lives should not be lost on any of us, because the addictive quality of these mini-computers is something radio must continue to tap into. That may sound gratuitous because we own a mobile apps development company. But I have learned first-hand how much joy we have delivered to our clients – and their listeners – over the past nearly nine years since this revolution took flight. Having your app appear on the “desktop” of someone's key possession is a rush and an important part of the future of the radio business.
To get a sense of the powerful attraction our mobile phones have over our lives, this long-version of a Chevy commercial tells you everything you need to know about dependency and addiction. Just watch the faces of the respondents in the ad, and listen to what they say about their relationships with their phones and connectivity:
But that’s just a commercial. What about the reality of smartphone dependency? For the last few years, we’ve measured it in our Techsurveys. Here's the brand new TS13 chart that details the results of our simple agree/disagree statement:
“I am addicted to my mobile phone.”
In this year's survey, more than four in ten (42%) smartphone owners agree or agree strongly about their utter dependence on these devices. And that's an increase from Techsurvey12's total of 36%. Not surprisingly, the powerful addiction of smartphones and apps is beginning to transcend genders, generations, and ethnicities. While Millennials are most attached to their iPhones and Galaxy devices, three in ten Baby Boomers now admit they're utterly dependent on these gadgets.
Smartphone addiction has become a cultural phenomenon. And as a result, there are myriad issues that emanate from these dependency.
Like mobile phone safety, something that anyone connected to the auto industry is well aware of. This is why car manufacturers are working hard on improving voice command technology, trying to keep the driver's eyes off that dashboard touchscreen or away from fiddling with a smartphone while on the road.
But what about just walking around? How does the smartphone impact pedestrian safety?
Last week, an amazing commentary on the times in which we live came out of the Netherlands. The small Dutch town of Bodegraven (population 19,348) apparently cares so much about the safety of its residents that it has now installed LED traffic signals in sidewalks.
In this way, smartphone users can continue to stare downwards at their screens, and still pick up the color of the Walk/Don't Walk signal.
In full disclosure, this is a one-intersection test designed by a local company, HIG Traffic Systems. But the implication of innovations like this should not be lost on any of us.
Talk to someone in the insurance industry. Smartphone safety is an issue – all the more reason why the apps we design and you buy need to be intuitive, simple, and easy to use.
Will we see HIG Traffic Systems and other companies with similar technologies at CES 2018 next January?
Bet on it.
In the meantime, you apparently can walk, chew gum, and safely check your email at the same time in Bodegraven.
Will New York City and San Francisco be next?