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Consumers take their lives into the cloud

The ability to stay constantly connected to the internet is making consumers increasingly dependent on the cloud for their daily needs, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) ConsumerLab research has found. And while the smartphone revolution may have started this trend, the research has shown it is app usage that is likely to make it continue. Apps are actually shaping the way people are using connected devices.

Behavior around apps is also creating a new set of expectations when it comes to connecting consumer electronic devices. Devices must be connected if they are to be useful. For example, 54 percent of US users of portable storage devices said that they wanted to be able to synchronize these with their home PC files from anywhere. And 49 percent of camera owners in the sample wanted direct access to secure online storage for their photos.

Michael Björn, Head of Research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: "Our research found apps are appealing to people at an emotional level. Consumers become attached to a certain set of apps that makes them feel more in control of their lives, and turns everyday chores into positive experiences. Apps even give consumers a new sense of freedom; if a new situation arises, there’s probably an app out there that could help them."

The research - conducted in a number of locations, including the US, parts of Europe and Japan - found that consumers are increasingly connecting to the internet via their smartphones before they even get out of bed. In 2011, 35 percent of US Android and iPhone users said that they interacted with such non-voice apps as Facebook on their smartphones before rising. The ease of internet access is enabling consumers to utilize an increasing number of cloud-based services to perform everyday tasks.

Consumers today depend less on the devices they use, and more on the apps that help them - not only to connect to news or social-media sites, for example, but also to find a place to eat, organize their family schedules and other everyday activities. The app culture is turning into a new way of living and is now also spreading to tablet users and other devices.

Ericsson ConsumerLab’s research also found that this "app culture" is easily transferable between mobile devices - people are using apps on tablets in much the same way as they do on smartphones. The context and situation, not the device, determine how the consumer uses the app.

Ericsson ConsumerLab studies also reveal what may be a turning point - regardless of the device they are using, people are increasingly discovering how difficult it is when they are not continuously connected to the cloud.

The findings of 18 months’ research carried out by Ericsson ConsumerLab into mobile-internet usage were presented at the Ericsson Business Innovation Forum in Silicon Valley in the US on May 11.

Report to be found at Ericsson ConsumerLab.

 [May 13, 2011]


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